Safe Havens: The BlackStock Pub
The council’s Safe Havens scheme has helped residents in Islington feel safer in their neighbourhoods. When a local business or organisation signs up to be a Safe Haven, they will be given a sticker to display in their window, showing people they are welcome to pop in for support if they are in danger, feel threatened or harassed on the street, are unwell or just in need of some help. We caught up with Darlene from Safe Haven The BlackStock Pub to find out more
What inspired you to become a Safe Haven?
We saw first-hand the impact helping someone had – the sheer relief on their face that there was someone out there willing to help. This told us everything we needed to know.
How do you see Safe Havens helping the community?
Safe Havens provide a valuable safe space – a vital informal community service. They are spaces where you can come for assistance and help if you just need a minute, feel unwell, unsafe, have been harassed or feel threatened.
Tell us about a time you provided support for someone in need.
We have provided support for quite a few people. We are open seven days a week and as a late-night business, we are open when other businesses close. We’ve never had to phone the police: most situations we’ve dealt with were to do with street safety – for example, someone being afraid because they’re being followed. We have had people wait with us and on one occasion, staff have escorted the person home safely, as they lived close by.
What do you get out of being a Safe Haven?
Being part of the Safe Haven scheme allows us to give something back to the Finsbury Park community that supports us, and we feel proud to have an opportunity to do this. We are happy to help, whether it’s offering a seat and a glass of water if someone feels unwell, or a place to stay till something or someone passes by.
Our experience so far has taught us that people feel relieved that there is somewhere you can go for support. You do get a great feeling that you have helped someone, even if it’s in a small way. We would certainly encourage other business to get involved and take up this scheme – even helping one person makes a difference and could contribute to stopping something unthinkable happening.
What do you love most about Islington?
Easy one: its people. The diversity and the respect and love for each other we see daily – how good most people are in Islington.
There are more than 150 Safe Havens in Islington, so keep an eye out for the blue sticker. For more information about the scheme, visit the council’s website.