Multiagency workingA new scheme will see Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police working together to help make people safer in their homes.

The Parish Safety Volunteer scheme sees volunteers delivering fire safety, crime prevention and signposting people to well-being  advice and help to people living in the same Parish as them. 

Created using a funding  from Essex County Council Strengthening Communities Board the scheme is an example of the excellent collaborative work taking place between Essex Police and Fire services. 

Parish safety volunteers is funded  by Essex Partnership Board through an award from central government for transformation projects. In July 2015 the scheme received a £77,544 grant  from Essex County Council to launch a two-year pilot across Essex.

The volunteers will work in their own  communities, within parish boundaries, delivering  fire safety, crime prevention, and general well-being and health advice as part of a Parish Safety Volunteer visit. 

Each visit will last around an hour and will include crime prevention advice, fire safety advice, fitting of free smoke alarms, and letting people know where  to get the best health  and wellbeing  guidance. All of the  volunteers  undergo  training  by  both Police and Fire Service officers so they have the knowledge  they  need to deliver messages on behalf  of both organisations.

Two  volunteers are already working in Wivenhoe and another 10 are nearing  the  end of their training and will  soon be helping  people in villages  across the  County Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley said: “The Parish Safety Volunteer scheme is a fantastic example  of the collaborative  work taking place between  us and Essex Police as we work together  to make Essex safer.

“This is a community based scheme  and by using  volunteers  we are able to forge vital links  in these communities which will live  on long  after the safety visit has taken  place. 

“The volunteers all live in the same parish where they are carrying out the visits, they will be familiar faces to people in that  community  and that  means  that  us and the  Police will  have  links to those  people and their communities  after the  visits are over.

“This scheme shows the direction both organisations are heading in as we work more closely together to deliver protection and prevention advice to communities across Essex.”

Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Constable of Essex Police said: “The enthusiasm and community spirit of Parish Safety Volunteers will be put to best use – making our  communities  safer.

"For both the police and the fire service it’s really important that we provide the right training so volunteers  can  give out  vital  guidance to residents  on fire safety  and how  to make their  homes more secure. Every  smoke alarm fitted  and every  lock securing  a shed  or security  light  putting  off  a would – be burglar adds value to the work Parish Safety Volunteers are doing.”

Cllr Anne Brown, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Corporate, Communities and Customers, said: “I am delighted that this initiative  has gone live in the  pilot parishes and I  encourage others  to join up. 

"The  project has much  potential  to ensure  that  vulnerable  people in our  community  are both safe and confident in their homes. There are many other benefits from this initiative to tackle social isolation and loneliness through support from the local community.”