A 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.”