LOCAL train operator c2c, the British Transport Police and the coffee shops based on local stations have joined forces to help vulnerable people in a new safeguarding initiative.
Under the “Conversation Coffee” initiative, CoffeeLink, Casa Coffee and Coffee Station chains at c2c stations will supply free tea and coffee to any member of staff or third party who has engaged with a vulnerable person on the railway. The scheme is designed to offer a safe space and relaxed environment to vulnerable people where they can talk and wait for professional support.
The new approach supports the “Small Talk Saves Lives” campaign led by The Samaritans, which recommends taking suicidal individuals or those suffering from other mental health conditions to a non-threatening environment during an intervention.
Dave King, Designing Out Crime Officer and Community Relations Advisor for c2c said: “I am grateful to both Coffee Link and Coffee Station who have embraced this project and helped me get the idea off the ground on the c2c route.
“We know from experience that when someone is in distress, simply engaging them in conversation can make all the difference and help set them on the road to recovery.”
CoffeeLink’s Managing Director Azzouz El-Mahraoui, said: “I am very pleased to be involved in this initiative and even making a difference to one person’s life will make our involvement worthwhile.”
Becky Bray, Network Rail’s Route Crime Manager for the Anglia region, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to make a difference and really help someone who may need some additional support at a difficult time in their lives. This is another tool that practitioners can use to protect those people who are vulnerable on the railway.”
Currently there are 11 coffee shops taking part in this initiative and every coffee shop based at c2c stations will be visited and invited to join the scheme.