Uckfield Civic Centre and Luxfords Restaurant are to become official “safe havens”.
The town council agreed to sign up to a scheme, following a proposal from Cllr Donna French.
“It is a very simple idea where anyone who feels threatened can step inside a building displaying a safe haven sign on the door, knowing that they can wait there until they feel safe and someone will call for help if needed,” her motion stated.
Across the county
During the debate, Cllr French said it would not be a big commitment from the council.
It was a new scheme which began in the Peacehaven and Seaford areas and was spreading across the county.
It is known as Safe Havens in Sussex and works via Facebook.
Premises which are part of the scheme put a sign in their window or door.
“It is mainly for kids but it can be for anybody who is feeling vulnerable, with mental health issues, with dementia. It gives them somewhere they can go.
“They are still public spaces but it highlights it is a safe space.
“There will be somebody in there who will let them use a phone and stay safe until the trouble has passed.
‘Kids to look out for’
“It is something parents can tell their kids to look out for.”
Cllr Paul Sparks was concerned that the scheme should be carefully implemented because of the time and work that could involve staff.
Cllr Louise Eastwood said Civic Centre and town council staff already engaged in such safety issues.
‘If we could support this, it would be a valuable asset to our town and community,” she said.
‘Every situation possible’
Town Clerk, Holly Goring, said the council and Civic Centre employees had dealt with every situation possible in the time she had been with the council in two-and-a-half years.
She said staff went above and beyond their duty.
“We have literally had it all, any age, any situation.
“I think what is good about this building is that there is someone here,” she said.
“I completely understand what councillors have said about putting our staff at risk. We have been there already.
“If I am honest, I think people already see us as a safe haven. Naturally, we are that.
‘It is about me looking out for our staff and making sure they don’t put themselves in any danger.”
Find local organisations in our Uckfield Directory