Women's safety - mayor and others alpha omega foundation

A South Cheshire charity on a mission to make society safer for women is stepping up its campaign as nights draw in and the party season approaches.

The Alpha Omega Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Foundation has announced plans to launch South Cheshire Street Angels.

It wants volunteers to act as Good Samaritans to vulnerable people at night.

And it also plans to introduce marshals to prevent trouble flaring at taxi ranks and #WhereAreMyFriends, as well as a social media campaign urging women not to get separated and walk home alone.

WPS, founded earlier this year, is also staging more female self-defence classes.

Led by martial arts experts, the free five week course begins at Beechwood Primary School on November 2.

The initiatives were announced at a WPS public meeting at the Apollo Buckingham Health Sciences campus in Crewe.

It was attended by top police officers, charity leaders, self defence experts and representatives from the local night-time economies.

WPS founder Amaka Lawton said: “In a few short months we have made excellent progress, engaging with the police, local authority and various charities.

“All have been keen to increase safety for women and get these practical ideas off the ground.

“Our research has included a night with the Street Angels in Maccesfield to see how they work.

“We want to get a similar scheme up and running in Crewe and Nantwich and are actively recruiting volunteers.”

The meeting heard from a former Nantwich Street Pastor who regularly took her turn handing out flip flops, water, blankets and other necessities to young people worse for wear after a night out.

The church-led scheme was halted by the pandemic but volunteers found it rewarding and she backed calls for Street Angels to come forward.

street angels and security - women's safety
Supt Jesson with Mayor Cllr Marren

Police Commander Superintendent Claire Jesson announced funding for new Safety Buses which will offer safe passage home and a haven to vulnerable people.

The specially-branded buses, driven by officers, will be on the road next month.

Health and social care charity, Change Grow Live, gave an alarming presentation on the rise in drink spiking and needling incidents nationally.

A representative from Nakatcha in Nantwich told how spike-proof plastic bottle stops and glass covers were made available to customers to stop incidents occurring on the premises.

Amaka added: “These are issues which present a danger to women all year round but more so as women go for nights out in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

“We have been working really hard to get practical support off the ground.

“Our meetings with police, local authorities and charities have been positive and productive.

“As a result our marshals will soon be in action ensuring women do not get caught up in any trouble at local taxi ranks, including the busy one in Nantwich.

“Our #WhereAreYourFriends campaign has been welcomed by local pubs, clubs and colleges.

“It stresses one basic survival rule – the need to stay among people and not walk home alone.”

She pointed to the tragic death of London law student Zara Aleena who was killed on her way home from a night out in the summer – just 10 minutes from her home.

WPS volunteers are busy organising #WhereAreYourFriends posters, social media posts and DJ shout outs.

Charity co-founder, Nantwich man Ken Lawton, owner of security company Alpha Omega on Crewe Business Park, will be providing the taxi marshals.

He said: “We are taking these steps to increase safety for women but a key aim for 2023 is to get to the root of the problem and work with schools and parents on instilling acceptable behaviour from a young age.”

Also attending the meeting were Cheshire East Mayor Cllr David Marren, Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer and the High Sheriff of Cheshire Jeannie France-Hayhurst.

They commended the charity on its work to create a society where women can live in peace and harmony – and wholeheartedly supported its key message “It’s Our Right to Be Safe”.

For more on Alpha Omega Women, Peace and Security Foundation go to www.alphaomegawpsfoundation.com or visit its stand at Crewe Market Hall on the first Wednesday of the month.

To get involved as a WPS volunteer or Street Angel call 0300 365 9223 or email [email protected]

Alpha Omega Foundation - street angels security campaign
Amaka Lawton with High Sheriff of Cheshire Jeannie France-Hayhurst

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