Hundreds join online group to 'make streets safer' in Grantham
Hundreds of local people have joined an online group to help make the streets safer in Grantham.
‘Keeping Grantham Safe’ was set up by Stephen Ridgway and Chris Holmes after Stephen’s 11-year-old daughter was chased by a man as she made her way to school last Monday.
The group has now amassed more than 800 members from the local community with more people joining every day.
Stephen and Chris have also started to patrol Springfield Road every morning to provide a comforting physical presence as schoolchildren make their way to school.
Stephen said: “We formed the group as a way to keep kids and women safe. It is time to say enough is enough and for the good people to start fighting back.
“I never want another parent to have to go through what we did. It only lasted a short time but it will stay with me forever. That dreaded email from school at 10.15am saying your daughter who left for school at 8.15am has not arrived.
“The feeling in your guts, the way your mind races and the pain you feel is indescribable. My relief when she came through the door crying, frightened to death and shaking will live with me forever.”
Stephen’s daughter was on her way to school last Monday when she was approached by a man on Springfield Road at around 8.15am. She eventually managed to lose him and hid in some nearby woods for more than an hour. Police added extra patrols in the area and are investigating the incident.
Chris, who has lived in Grantham his entire life, added: “We need to get Grantham back to how it used to be when everyone looked out for one another.”
A number of local shops and businesses have also stepped forward to provide a safe haven for anyone to go to if they are feeling vulnerable.
McDonald’s on Bridge End Road, The Early Birdy on Springfield Road and Laundrylils and Marren Tiles, both on London Road, have all offered up their premises as a safe place to go.
Chris Lochrie, at Laundrylils, said: “If anyone, child or adult, feels vulnerable or if they are not sure, they can come into Laundrylils for safety. We do get a lot of kids, students, parents walking past our shop to either McDonald’s or the Spar shop. They are more then welcome to use our shop for safety.”
Frankie Angeloni, of Glen-Esk flowers on Westgate, also got in touch with the group to offer their support.
She said: “Although not on a school route we do have a lot of kids pass after school, we are also available to any child needing help for whatever reason.”
Stephen and Chris have been overwhelmed with the positive reaction to the group.
Stephen added: “I have lived here for 20 years and this town always does this when help is needed in a crisis.
“I think what happened with my daughter has shocked quite a few people but by working together we can save any other parents going through this.”
Stephen and Chris are appealing for any other volunteers who are willing to help in any way they can to contact them via the group.