‘First of its kind’ service for vulnerable adults launches in Redbridge

A service which is said to be the first of its kind in the UK has been launched in Redbridge.

The Redbridge First Response Service (ReFRS) aims to tackle “the problems of today to avoid the crisis of tomorrow” by intervening in the problems of vulnerable adults.

It is a multi-agency referral scheme that co-ordinates services and support networks for vulnerable adults.

It will act as an early intervention scheme to bring help to people with mental health issues or problems with drugs, alcohol, gambling, debt or domestic violence, or elderly people at risk in their homes.

By identifying people in need of help early, police, social services, housing services, children’s services, Victim Support and Trading Standards hope to prevent them from becoming victims or perpetrators of crime in the future.

A checklist will ask users, among other things, if they need support with domestic help, caring responsibilities, falls prevention or mental health issues.

The checklist is returned to a dedicated person at ReFRS who will put the relevant agencies in touch with the vulnerable adult.

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The scheme was the brainchild of Redbridge Police borough commander Det Ch Supt Sue Williams. She said the idea developed while looking at ways to help elderly people remain at home and evolved into helping all vulnerable adults.

She said: “It might save someone’s life. It’s about preventing things early on instead of us coming along and picking up the pieces once it’s already happened. Every time someone breaks their hip it costs £250,000. If someone dies in a fire it costs £1million.

“If we can keep people secure we can keep people in their own homes and save the country money.

“We have developed a unique toolkit for the borough’s front line workers to provide them with information on what to look out for as warning signs when dealing with vulnerable adults.”