VOLUNTEERS are hitting the streets of Southend to make residents safer in their homes.

Turning Tides, based in Alexandra Street, Southend, has launched the Safe As Houses scheme, which visits people across the town.

People knock on doors of elderly and vulnerable residents to offer advice about safety and check they are OK.

Anthony Quinn, from Turning Tides, said they wanted to make sure people were taking all the security steps they can.

He added: “We are trying to raise awareness around security and offer advice to the over-sixties and anyone living in a high crime area of Southend.

“The guys have been trained how to tag mobility scooters, talk about Neighbourhood Watch schemes and look at locks.”

Teams have been out around the Kursaal estate and the tower blocks.

The team of ten volunteers have visited 30 homes in the first week of the initiative.

They also inform people about the “nominated neighbour” scheme – wherepeople can offer todeal with cold callers for elderly residents – and “message in a bottle”, where people living on their own or single mums can write a list of medications they are on and put it in a bottle in the fridge.

Paramedics could then check the back of the front door for a green sticker, which shows they are taking part in the scheme, and get vital medical information quickly from the bottle.

Mr Quinn added: “The aim is to create safer neighbourhoods and make people aware of the services out there.

"A home visit just makes it more informal, more relaxed.”

For more information, or to request a visit, call 01702 220101.



ILL health stopped Charlie Neale from working full-time so he took up volunteering.

Mr Neale, 52, of Belle Vue Place, Southend, started working at Southend Association of Voluntary Services when he left the building trade and heard about the scheme through them.

He said: “I’m not well enough to work, but I’m all right to do two mornings – then I’m knackered.

“It gets you out, otherwise you’re stuck in all the time.

“I’ve been to the Kursaal estate and met some really interesting people.

“You get to drink lots of tea!

“I’m not forced to do it so if I’m not well they fit in around me, not the other way round.”



RETIRED firefighter Brian Jacobs said he enjoys giving something back to the community.

Mr Jacobs, 68, of Raphael Drive, Shoebury, worked as a teacher and a retained firefighter at Shoebury station before he left work.

He said: “Two years ago, they started doing home fire safety checks and I was one of the first in that group.

“I had to stop doing that because I had a massive heart attack, which restricts your movements. This is nice, because it’s not too physical.

“It’s just nice meeting people and getting to know them.”



MARTIN Ryan took up volunteering after he retired.

Mr Ryan, 67, of London Road, in Westcliff, worked as a maintenance engineer for 21 years before he left work three years ago.

He said: “I was going to have a nice easy life, with lots of holidays! 

“My sister, who works at a cancer hospice, told me to get off my backside and put something back.

“I originally did the home fire safety checks, butIam more comfortable doing this.

“I like giving something back.”