New scheme holds the key to keeping vulnerable adults safe

New scheme holds the key to keeping vulnerable adults safe

Monday, 2 December

A new scheme aimed at keeping vulnerable adults in Norfolk safe is proof that sometimes simple ideas are the best.

The ‘Key to Keep You Safe’ scheme has been launched by the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board, which includes representatives from Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Constabulary and local health organisations. Key fobs have been produced which have the 24-hour Norfolk County Council phone number to report adult social services emergencies (0344 800 8020) printed on one side. On the other side, there is space for an ‘in case of emergencies’ number, which could belong to a relative or friend, to be filled in.

The key fobs are targeted at vulnerable adults who may have, for example, decreased mobility, poor memory or who may get easily distracted and confused. They can be attached to a key ring and if people carrying one become distressed or have a fall, the key fob will allow members of the public to quickly get in touch with both a personal contact and professionals who will be able to help.

Ten thousand key fobs have been produced, fully funded by partners of the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board, and some have already been distributed to people who may benefit from them.

Nona Hall, 89, who lives at Anchor’s Holly Court retirement housing in Attleborough, now carries a key fob after she had a couple of falls.

Her son Steve Hall, who also lives in Attleborough, said: “My mum’s partially sighted and she’s very active and likes to get out and about. She has had a couple of falls whilst out, one of them I was with her and the other I wasn’t and on that occasion it took a while for people to get hold of the right information so they could make me aware.

“The key fob gives my mum and us peace of mind that if something did happen, hopefully someone would find those contact details much more quickly and we’d get out to her much sooner.

“The ‘in case of emergency’ number on mobile phones is fine until people put lock codes on their mobiles and in an emergency that person won’t always remember how to unlock their phone, or be able to. If someone wants a simplistic system to get hold of help in an emergency, I’d fully recommend the key fob scheme to anyone at risk.”

The ‘Key to Keep You Safe’ was the idea of Linda Naylor who sits on the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board and is also Safeguarding Adults Coordinator at Norfolk County Council.

She said: “One of the priorities of the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board is that potentially vulnerable adults are given every opportunity to lead independent lives. Getting older, illness and injury can compromise this but sometimes simple measures, like the Key to Keep You Safe, can help give people the confidence to still get out and about in the community.

“A lot of people aren’t comfortable using a mobile phone or remember to take it out with them even if they do have one, so the Key to Keep You Safe is a low-tech and unobtrusive alternative. We’ve given out a number of the fobs already to people who adult social services, health and police have identified as being potentially vulnerable but we’d be very happy to hear from groups or organisations who work with vulnerable adults and would like some key fobs to distribute.”

Sue Whitaker, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “We have an emergency duty team available 24 hours a day via the number on the key fob so that vulnerable adults can get the support they need, when they need it. These key fobs will give people peace of mind that, if they or their friend or relative gets into trouble, so that the right people to help them can be contacted as soon as possible.”

Detective Superintendent Julie Wvendth, who heads Norfolk Constabulary’s Vulnerability and Partnership Directorate, said: “We are extremely pleased to be supporting this simple but very valuable initiative that will help many vulnerable adults.

“We will be working closely with the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board in the distribution of the fobs and they will be a valuable tool in ensuring those people with decreased mobility, poor memory or who are easily confused get the help they need when necessary.”

The Key to Keep You Safe Scheme was officially launched at a coffee morning at Holly Court today (Monday, 2 December) where representatives from some of the partners on the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board talked to residents about the scheme.

The Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board is made up of people from a wide range of organisations, including social services, police, health, housing and voluntary and independent providers. The board works to raise awareness and promote safe practice in the care and support of vulnerable adults and protecting adults at risk of harm. Safeguarding is much broader than investigating abuse. It is also about supporting adults to live their lives and recognising their right to make decisions whilst taking reasonable steps to ensure that risks of harm are minimised.

People who are interested in finding out more about the scheme or who would like to request some key fobs to distribute to members of a group should telephone 0344 800 8020 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.