BUSINESSES have come together in Totton to create a network of refuges for anyone who feels threatened on the streets.
The Totton Safe Place initiative was the idea of Sharon Eyre, who runs Gentlemen’s League barbers in Rumbridge Street.
Writing on Facebook she said: “Due to recent events in the area, we would like to make it known that Gentlemen’s League can be used as a safe place.
“Anyone who feels vulnerable, scared or uneasy is welcome to come in and wait for someone to collect [or] escort them home.”
She added: “If children and adults are being picked on, bullied or intimidated by nasty individuals, please let them know they can come here, use our telephone and facilities until someone they trust can pick them up.”
Although there have been no serious crimes committed, Sharon added that she had been informed of a couple of instances of schoolchildren being bullied.
She added: “As many walk by my shop on their way home, I thought it might be nice to offer this.”
Her post soon attracted attention from other local businesses, with representatives from Hamwic estate agents, Water Lane Dental Practice and Solent Tanning all pledging to also become safe places.
A post by Water Lane Dental Practice said: “[We] would be very happy to help out anyone in any form of distress at any time. We have comfy chairs, use of the phone and we’ll even make you a cup of tea.”
Fellow business owner Mark Payne, who runs the Krazy Cutzz hairdressing salon in Salisbury Road, also welcomed the Totton safe place idea saying they would be happy to help anyone, as they had in the past.
He said: “Not just for kids being bullied – we even had an old lady with dementia come in who was lost, so we had to call the authorities to get her home safely. Although I would hope that all shops would happily help in any type of crisis.”
Praising the initiative, one resident said: “It’s a brilliant idea. There are many vulnerable people around, not only in Totton, but everywhere. It is brilliant that this is becoming a thing.”
Another added: “Isn’t it horrendous that we even have to have safe places. It’s fantastic of the venues offering their premises though.”