Self Advocacy

February 16th, 2024

Hello Everyone – Self Advocacy ..

I wanted to talk about self advocacy and how it can equip you as carers to help better manage your caring roles.

I have pondered on this since yesterday as my Mum had apparently told the care home staff that she was having chest pains and pains down her left arm.  Of course the care home called an ambulance they came and wanted to take her to the hospital which she refused.

I then had a voicemail from the care home manager, I returned the call as was promptly told off stating that I need to have a word with my Mum saying she has to listen to the professionals and at some point in the next few weeks I have to go the  care managers to have a meeting ( I keep joking that I am off the the Headmistresses office).

I then called my Mum, starting the conversation why aren’t you in hospital and she very clearly told me this – I am nearly 80 and I am going to die soon anyway, I would rather die here at the home and not in a hospital (which by the way would be the same hospital my Dad passed in last year).

I then explained what if you are so poorly that you cannot make choices for yourself and she then said ok in the scenario and she said if I a fully aware then the answer is NO.  Now this gives me clear guidelines as to what my Mum’s wishes are and as we have lasting Power of Attorney I have to observe her wishes.  This gives me the information I will use when at the forthcoming meeting and this is how it will be.

I believe that this is an excellent example of self advocacy, which enables me to advocate clearly on my Mums behalf.

So, I want you to think about when you have advocated for yourselves either about your own health and needs or the person you care for.  Was it easy?,  if you could have training on this what do you want to know?  Is this training a part of assertiveness training?  Could it be part of knowing your rights?

I would really appreciate any feedback from you on your experiences of self advocating – do you use this when dealing with your housing provider, GP or utilities and what went well and what went wrong.

What are the 3 key parts of being a good self-advocate?
The three parts to becoming an effective self-advocate are:
  • knowing yourself.
  • knowing your needs.
  • knowing how to get what you need.


Carers Forum – Wednesday 21st @11am to 1pm – Hybrid

We are using the forum to continue our consultation on different parts of the services we offer.  This one will be on the carer wellbeing, The Carers Wellbeing Academy and health.

See link to join or come in person

Topic: Carers Forum
Time: Feb 21, 2024 11:00 Universal Time UTC

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 733 941 7664

Attendance had a dip this week so more people please 

The Breathing Space weekly drop in has been having very few carers and this is not sustainable in the long term so I reminding you that this happens weekly on a Tuesday 11am to 1pm.  This allows carers two hours of mindful meditation a week to recharge your batteries, take a well deserved respite break from your caring role.

I have to once again say – use it or lose it as this costs hundreds of pounds per session.  So, I will review this towards the end of March and I really hope attendance improves because this might end.  My role is to consult with carers and develop activities that are well attended, have meaningful impact and improve wellbeing.  So, if you ask for activities then please attend as this is the only way the will remain.

I will be consulting soon with carers to find out what you want and will attend.

If you want to know more about the drop In then please give me and

Next Week’s Activities – check out 


New Online LGBTQ+ Carers Group – starting February 29th

book your place Queer Carers Group (online) Tickets | 29 Feb @ Online Event, | FREE | OutSavvy

Carers UK logo

Share your views on developing a new National Carers Strategy

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Carers has today launched a survey regarding its long-standing call for the UK Government to develop a new National Carers Strategy.

We would be delighted if you would please respond to the survey.  It should only take 5-10 minutes of your time.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY which will close for responses on 7 March 2024.

The survey is open to current and former unpaid carers as well as to organisations who support them,  including local and national carers’ organisations, other VCSE organisations, academics, employers, local government stakeholders, NHS England, and social care providers.

The findings of the work will be published at the end of the exercise by the APPG on Carers and will be widely shared with unpaid carers and other relevant stakeholders.

Real’s response to the Government’s Disability Action Plan  

Last week, the Government published its Disability Action Plan outlining immediate goals for 2024. Regrettably, the actions set out in the plan are weak, vague, and inadequate, falling far short of addressing the concerns of Disabled people, particularly amidst the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Moreover, many of the proposed “short-term” actions extend beyond 2024, introducing reviews or proposals for 2025, post-General Election. We would urge whoever is in government after the next election to work with DPOs, and to adopt a longer term and more strategic approach to address the many harsh practical, attitudinal and systemic challenges facing Disabled people.

In our response to the Disability Action Plan consultation, we emphasised the importance of listening to the lived experiences of Disabled people. We presented a long list of vital actions based on our evidence, unfortunately neglected by the Government.

There is no response to the evidence we submitted about the increasingly well documented concerns over the efficacy of the Disability Confident employer scheme, or our opposition to proposals toscrap proposed changes to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).There is no commitment to augmenting financial support for Disabled people in light of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Find out more

Get involved in A Season of Bangla Drama 2024

The ‘Season of Bangla Drama’ theatre festival returns later this year and once again, curators are seeking new plays to be included in the programme.

Local and national playwrights or organisations are welcome to submit an expression of interest in the programme, which this year is themed around “hope.”

Plays should be new works to be debuted at the festival, relevant to an East London audience and the deadline for expressions of interest is 10am on Tuesday 26 March 2024.

Express your interest >

Communities of Liberation

A historical research and public art project which aims to increase awareness of the long history of the African presence in Tower Hamlets will be launched next week.

Communities of Liberation, launching on Thursday 22 February, will focus on finding and sharing stories of individuals who lived here in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The aim of the project is to identify the places, spaces and networks in which African people lived, worked or socialised during the period of operation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Residents are invited to attend the launch and find out more about getting involved in the project.

Book your place >




Join us and the HRP Gardens Team for a community planting day in the West Moat. Gardening tools and light refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

Please note: you will be on your feet all day. The planting will involve bending down, kneeling, using trowels to remove soil and dig holes for the plants. Volunteers are expected to have sturdy shoes.

10 spaces are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

In Person: Tower of London – Moat

Date: Tuesday 27 February

Timings: 10:00 – 14:00



Our Carers Social Club is now open for 2024! This year we have put together a new programme of events for this peer support group, which includes free training workshops facilitated by our expert staff on caring for someone with a palliative condition. The club takes place every second Wednesday of the month from 1pm-3pm for unpaid carers to meet others going through similar experiences. There will also be an advisor from Carers First present at all sessions.

The workshops will cover providing hands-on care, communication and nutrition, advance care planning, benefits, and caring for someone in their final days. I have attached the club’s booklet which you can feel free to circulate, print instructions are included below. Here is a link to information about the social club on the hospice website:

Our first workshop of the year is on Wednesday 14th February. The theme is “Pampering and Relaxation”, and will include Qigong meditation, hand massages and refreshments.

To attend the carer must be over 18, living in Tower Hamlets, Hackney or Newham and caring for an adult with a life-limiting or progressive condition, moderate to advanced dementia, or someone who is under palliative care. The cared for person does not need to be known to St Joseph’s Hospice for their carer to attend.

Another way to have a good 2024 – have a little respite for a little cost…..

The importance of a break

We know all too well how challenging a full-time caring role can be, so a few days away with a partner or a friend can work wonders. It may seem like a small thing but our experience shows us that it can make a huge difference. Read a book, go for a walk, or simply catch up on some sleep. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll return home with a whole new outlook on things, refreshed and rejuvenated.

How it works

There are hundreds of potential breaks away listed on Carefree’s Breaks Hub. After registering with us, unpaid carers can browse available options and submit a request for a specific hotel on specific dates. If available, a confirmation email will be sent to you and you’re all set to go!

If the break request is rejected, we’ll give you access again to the Breaks Hub and you can select a different option.

New hotels and dates are added all the time, so if you can’t quite find what you’re looking, check back in in a few weeks.

Our hotels donate 1-2 night breaks, plus breakfast where possible for a carer and their companion (adult or child). Twin or Double room.

We are currently seeking new partnerships for longer stays that will become available in due course.

There is no charge for the accommodation, but you are responsible for all other costs (transport, food, travel insurance etc.) and there’s a £33 admin fee to help with the cost of operating our charity.  This payment is for one break per year.

The short breaks initiative is designed to give you some time away from your caring responsibilities. You are welcome to take a companion with you but not the person that you care for. If you want to travel alone, that’s fine too.

After you have selected a break of your choice and paid the admin fee we will do a final booking confirmation check with the hotel. Occasionally a hotel will reject a booking request. When this happens we will let you know, and then you will be able to request another break.

To qualify for a break you must be:

  • Aged 18 or over
  • Full-time unpaid carer (30+ hours per week)

Please note: in order to take a break with us, carers must be able to arrange interim care and pay for extras (admin fee, transport, food, travel insurance etc.)

if you would like to be referred then get in contact with the centre team 

Parent Carer Forum Coordinator – Hackney

Salary:                 £30,284 (FTE) per annum (actual salary £18,170)

Hours of work:   21 hours per week

Contract:              Fixed Term – 18 months with extension if funding allows

Place of work:     Hybrid role – based at City & Hackney Carers Centre with some working from home and travel to meetings around the borough.

Holidays:              5 weeks per year

Reports to:          Chief Executive Officer

Responsible for:  Project Support Team (sessional workers, admin volunteers)

This is a unique opportunity to work with parent carers and other stakeholders to co-produce a new Parent Carer Forum (PCF) in Hackney.

Parent Carer Forums are representative local groups of parents and carers of children and young people with disabilities who work alongside local authorities, education, health and other service providers to ensure the services they plan, commission, deliver and monitor meet the needs of children and families. This post would suit an experienced project officer who enjoys connecting with and bringing out the best in people and is looking to develop their project management skills.

You should be a confident communicator, willing to immerse yourself in the world of special educational needs and disabilities and passionate about empowering others.

We welcome applications from people with lived/previous experience of caring for a child or young adult with SEND.

See our job description and person specification on Charityjobs for more information:

The closing date is 11.30pm on 1st March 2024. Interviews will be held on 8th or 11th of March. Please state your availability for interview in your covering letter.

 For an informal chat about the role call Joanna on 020 8533 0951.

Good mental health and wellbeing starts with you

Everyday Londoners are doing what they can to support themselves and others with good mental health – whether checking in with a mate at the school gates, inviting a neighbour over for a cup of tea and a chat, or bonding with a customer at the barber shop.


But conversations around mental health are difficult. The Mayor of London has launched a campaign in support of Londoners who champion positive mental health – in their families, places of work or their communities.

By signing up Londoners will get access to training opportunities, tools and other offers straight to their inbox to help them navigate these conversations with confidence and compassion.

Mental health and wellbeing support in London | London City Hall


New Partnership with learning, skills development and help towards employment this link is to their website and they have a great section on employment skills as well as learning new areas to help access work

If you need help The Carers Centre can also let them know if anyone needs additional help to support carers with assessment and access.

There is online groups if  Face 2 Face classes are difficult  e.g. because of childcare or who need an additional boost in Functional Skills English or Maths e.g. Level 2+ Level 3 learners.

Alternatively, if you are interested in taking face to face courses, please let me know and we can arrange face to face assessment and enrolment sessions for some of our provisions such as (Functional Skills provisions)

Brick Lane 1978: The Turning Point

Exhibition and events   |  until 16 March 

The new exhibition at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives reveals the dramatic events in 1978 which were sparked by the racist murder of Altab Ali, a 24-year-old Bengali leather garments worker, and pays tribute to the activists who mobilised around the rallying cry of justice that followed.

Local photographer Paul Trevor documented how members of the local Bengali community endured racial abuse as a constant factor of everyday life, and the moment at which they mobilised against racist violence and institutional police racism.  The exhibition – Brick Lane 1978: The Turning Point – brings together seventy of Trevor’s photographs as well as original archival materials and first person testimony.

The exhibition is now on show until Saturday 16 March 2024. More events will follow, keep an eye on our website and newsletter as details are confirmed!

The display was originally created in 2022 as part of a major heritage project led by Four Corners and Swadhinata Trust, in partnership with Paul Trevor and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. With the help of volunteers and original activists, the project created a record of this watershed moment as told by local people.

Mental health crisis support 24/7 via telephone 0800 073 0003 (all ages).

The Together Café for adults in Tower Hamlets who are at risk of developing a mental health crisis can drop into this service out of hours for professional support and group activities. Located at Osmani Trust, Osmani Centre 58 Underwood Road E1 5AW. Open Monday to Friday 5pm-9pm and Saturday to Sunday 12pm-9pm.

Safe Connections Hub: For people aged 18+ who are having thoughts of suicide. Self-referral by email or telephone 09:30-16:30 0300 561 0115. Flyer attached, which includes information about


Getting the right and timely 1:1 support for the person you look after should you experience an emergency and / or you need urgent time out from your caring role is very important.

You may be eligible for emergency care for the person you care for – this service is called the Emergency Carers Service.

Carers Centre, Tower Hamlets is pleased to be working in partnership with Excelcare Homecare, the company that delivers this valuable emergency service for carers, in Tower Hamlets.


The purpose of the Emergency Carers Service is to enable carers to attend appointments knowing that the person they care for is safe;  to support carers who are experiencing a crisis.

The agreed criteria for self-referrals is as below:

  • To allow a carer to attend medical appointments such as GP/Hospital.
  • In the case that a carer has been admitted to hospital without notice.
  • Sudden death of a carer.
  • Carer experiencing a breakdown in mental health.
  • There is a risk of harm to the carer/cared for person or a risk of domestic violence.
  • Breakdown in relationship between the carer/cared for person, including that the carer feels unable to fulfil their responsibilities in their carer role.
  • Carer experiencing an emotional breakdown.
  • Potential safeguarding risks/concerns.
  • Carer entering the criminal justice system.
  • The service can only be provided in the case that the carer/cared for is not already in receipt of services through Adult Social Care. However, carers who are in receipt of a carers relief service and are at risk of significant crisis, can be provided with an additional 12 hours of flexible carers relief as a top up.


Support the Emergency Carers Service can offer

  • The Emergency Carers Service is able to provide up to a maximum of 24 hours of support within a 12-week period. Where there is a longer-term need, or additional support is required within this period, this will be managed through a Carers Assessment and commissioned package of care. Excelcare Homecare and Carers Centre Tower Hamlets can you help if you need longer term care and support for the person you care for.


If a carer wants to self-refer to the Emergency Carers Service

  • Staff at the Carers Centre Tower Hamlets are here to help you if you need this service, do call us if you need assistance. However, all carers can call and self-refer too, over the phone, by calling 020 7780 9484 or by emailing


  • If you are making an urgent self-referral, to start on the same day, or outside of Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5pm, please ensure that you call and speak with a Care Coordinator at Excelcare Homecare, using the number above.


  • For emergency self-referrals, a minimum of 2 hours-notice is required. Emergency self-referrals can be made 7 days per week, please aim to contact our service by 7pm if required to start that evening.  If there is a very urgent self-referral that requires immediate start after 7pm, still refer this onto Excelcare Homecare for discussion and assistance.


  • For non-urgent self-referrals, please provide 24 hours’ notice where possible.


All Excelcare Homecare team members have a good level of spoken and written English and undergo a nationally recognised Care Certificate that includes important areas such as First Aid, Medication, Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults and Children, the Mental Capacity Act, Health and Safety, Fire Safety, and Infection Control. They also take part in a thorough induction which covers our policies, procedures, expectations, and period of shadowing an experienced carer.

To make sure a loved one is in good hands, Excelcare Homecare draws on a large number of care and support team members from different cultural backgrounds and then strives to match them appropriately with the people we care for. We also endeavour to keep carers as consistent as possible for families.   We have a number of care workers who speak Bengali and are able to offer culturally appropriate care.

Excelcare Homecare understand how important it is that their team members have the right skills, personality, and attitude – giving you peace of mind that your loved one is cared for as if they were a member of our own family.


You can find more information about Excelcare Homecare here:

Domestic Abuse & Violence Numbers

Refuge: 24 hours, 7 days a week – Tel: 0808 2000 247


Help for Households Gives clear information about the exceptional payments, energy support and existing support schemes available, so the public know what is available and where they can find help. The homepage brings together over 40 support schemes that the public may be able to access depending on eligibility. Additionally, a range of online tools will help citizens quickly and efficiently check the support they might be eligible for and how to access it.


This is the link  to find local councillors. You put you postcode in to find local councillor.  They can deal with any housing issue if the carer/cared for is council tenant. They can also help if the carer lives in privately rented property and issue is disrepair.


Food Banks Information

What you need to know

With the cost of living crisis affecting communities nationwide, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets have shared information on accessing your local FOOD Stores and tips on managing your food bills.

Tower Hamlets FOOD Stores

A number of FOOD stores have been set up across the borough, supporting those who are finding it difficult to afford enough food for themselves or their families.

At these FOOD stores, you are able to pick up food valued at £25-£35 in exchange for a £3.50 membership fee. At the same time, support is provided in other areas that you might need help with. This includes help with issues around

  • housing
  • benefits access
  • employment and more.

To find out more or to become a member email with your name, address, postcode, date of birth and contact number.


There are a number of food aid organisations available to help you in Tower Hamlets if you are struggling to get food for yourself or your family. Scroll down to see where your closest branch is located. Different food aid services will offer different support.


  • Open Access – A food bank that anyone can go to for food.
  • Limited Access/referral only – A Food bank that needs someone to refer you into the service. Please contact the organisation for more details.
  • School food provision – A food bank or food aid service that specifically works with students and parents who attend the school.
  • Hot meals service/Hostel – Provides hot meals or pre-made goods to residents.

Underwood Road Foodbank – (Open Access)

Opening times: Thursday and Friday, 9am – 3pm

St Anne’s Catholic Church, E1 5AW

Contact: 020 7247 7833 or email from Tuesday to Friday (9am – 3pm)

Ensign Youth Club – (Open Access)

Opening times: Friday 10am – 1pm

Wellclose Sq, E1 8HY


Hague Primary School

Opening times: Monday – Friday 8.40am – 3.40pm

Hague primary school, E2 0BP and E1 5RE

For more information please ask at the school office.

Stewart Headlam Primary School

Opening times: Monday – Friday 8.40am – 3.40pm

Tapp St, London, E1 5RE

For more information please ask at the school office.

Wellington Primary School – Food bank (limited access/by referral only)

School food provision (Pupils and families only)

Opening times: Tuesday 2 – 3pm

Wellington Way, Bow, E3 4NE


St Elizabeth Pop Up Kitchen – School food provision (pupils and families only)

Opening times: 3.40 – 5pm

St Elizabeth Primary School, entrance on Waterloo Gardens, E2 9JY

For more information please visit St Elizabeth School website / Caritas Twitter page.

Bygrove School – School food provision (pupils and families only)

Opening times: Monday – Friday (Term Time Only)

Bygrove street, E14 6DN

For more information please visit the Bygrove School website.

Langdon Park School – School food provision (pupils and families only)

Opening times: Monday – Friday 8am – 4pm

Bright Street, London, E14 0RZ

For more information please ask at the school office.

Dorset Community Food Hub – (Open Access – Hot meals service)

Opening times: Thursday

Ground floor, former Dorset library, E2 8QX

For more information please visit the Dorset Community website.

Olga Primary School Foodbank – School food provision (pupils and families only)

Opening times: Friday 3.20 – 3.45pm

Olga Primary School, E3 5DN

Contact: 020 8981 7127

Edward Gibbons House – (Hostel)

Opening times: 24 hours

1 Parmiter St, E2 9NG

For more information please visit Providence Row website.

Globe Primary School – (Open Access)

Opening times: Friday 12 – 3.15pm

Globe Primary School, E2 0JH

For more information please visit Globe Primary School website.

Food for Aldgate – (Limited access/by referral only)

Opening times: Friday 1 – 3pm

Tonybee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London, E1 6AB

Contact: or Twitter @FoodForAldgate.

Womens Inclusive Team – (Limited access/by referral only)

Opening times: Appointment provided after referral

Mayfield House 202 Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9LJ

Contact: 07415 372 664 or email

William Davis Food Bank – School food provision (pupils and families only)

Opening times: Friday 2 – 3pm

William Davis School, E2 6ET

Contact: 020 7739 1511

Bow Food Bank – (Open Access)

Opening times: Monday 8am – 12.30pm

Bromley by Bow Centre, St Leonard’s Street, E3 3BT

For more information please visit the Bow Food Bank website.

Bethnal Green Foodbank – (Open Access)

Opening times: Wednesday 2 – 7pm

Raines Foundations School, Approach road, E2 9LY

For more information please visit Bow Food Bank website.

Bow Muslim Cultural Centre – (Open Access)

Opening times: Friday 11am – 3pm

246 Bow Road London, E3 3AP


SACC Food Bank – (Limited access/by referral only)

Opening times: Thursday and Friday 10am – 3pm

St Anne’s Catholic Church, E1 5AW

Contact: or 020 7247 7833.

Referrals can be discussed by email or contact number.

Launch of Somali National Helpline 0800 6102020

Better Safe Communities are pleased to inform you of the launch of the first historic Somali National Helpline, sponsored by the local businesses up and down the country and in regards to poor service provisions of UK public services for Somali communities nationally.

The Helpline was founded by Khadra Hersi, a student of London Met University. It is aimed at the Somali community, helping with language barriers, immigration, and mental health issues due to war in their country. The Somali National Helpline are a service that uses professionals to support people overcome issues they are facing. They exist to support individuals with language matters, mental health issues, and beneficiaries to solve their problems. They also provide translating and interpreting services. They are here to support and advocate for many problems faced within the Somali community such as young adults suffering from knife crime, and elderly people who feel isolated and lonely due to language barriers.

Why do you need a Lasting Power of Attorney? 

Does the person you look after making their own decisions but want help managing their money? Maybe they can make their own decisions now but want an arrangement in case they can’t in the future. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) your family may need to go to Court. This can cause lots of hassle, delay, and expense. 

There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney; finances & property matters and decisions about health and care. 

Why should you do it now? 

  • 1 in 3 of us will suffer dementia
  • Many of us will retain mental capacity, but will physically struggle to manage our affairs at some point in our life
  • Being married or asking your chosen person to act for you is not enough – you need to legally give them the power to help you
  • If you leave making your Power of Attorney until you need it, it will be too late.


Carers Centre Partners 

The Carers Centre Tower Hamlets is pleased to work in partnership with respected Law firms to provide carers with affordable support with LPA.  

 Jones Whyte are a Glasgow based multi award winning Solicitor firm and the reigning Law Firm of the Year 2021 

  • They prepare thousands of Powers of Attorney every year 
  • Have partnerships with many major national charities
  • They offer competitive Power of Attorney fees £349 + vat

Carers Centre staff can refer you, or you can contact them yourself on 0330 175 1234 or email 

You can find our more about Jones Whyte here Power of Attorney – Solicitors Glasgow | Jones Whyte Law 


Duncan Lewis Solicitors – “We believe in access to justice for the most vulnerable in society and do everything we can to ensure legal advice and support is available for those who need it most”.  

Duncan Lewis Solicitors are a national firm with offices locally. 

  • They prepare thousands of Powers of Attorney every year
  • They are available for face-to-face appointments at their local office (1 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, Hackney, London, E8 2JS) or surgeries at the Carers Centre if requested 
  • They offer competitive Power of Attorney fees £350 + vat


Carers Centre staff can refer you, contact us on 0207 790 1765 or at 

You can find out more about Duncan Lewis here 

 Most solicitor firms support with LPA and carers are under no obligation to use either firm listed above and are free to seek support from any firm they choose. 


What is I do not want to pay for support with LPA? 

We also provide workshops and information for those who want to set up an LPA themselves, many people set up LPA without legal support. You can check our Calendar or give us a call for updates on our latest workshops. 

You can also see the information links below for information. 

Different ways to manage someone’s affairs  

Make, register or end LPA 

Call us on 0207 790 1765 or email to find out more about LPA. 

A carers guide to home fire safety

A new video resource has been launched on the London Fire Brigade website to help carers learn how to keep people that receive care safe from fire.

Sadly, around one third of those here who die or are severely injured by fire are in receipt of some form of care or support. If you are a formal (domiciliary care worker, support worker or clinician) or informal carer (family member, friend or neighbour) and are caring for someone in their own home, this new resource will help you identify fire risks and show you what you can do to reduce them. There is also more information available on the website around fire safety and prevention.

Watch the video >


1) Plan Your Route

Make sure you plan your route ahead of time. If you are walking in an area you are not familiar with, this can help keep you from getting lost. You will be able to walk with confidence. If you do get lost, don’t wander aimlessly, find a gas station, supermarket, or fast-food restaurant where you can ask for directions.

2) Make Sure Someone Else Knows Your Plans

Don’t go out when it is dark without telling someone, even if you are just taking the dogs out for a walk around your neighbourhood or walking home from a friend’s house nearby. It may seem paranoid, but in fact, knowing someone knows where you are can be reassuring and help you feel safe. If you fall and hurt yourself or run into trouble, and someone knows where you are, they can send help if you don’t arrive at your destination on time.

3) Always Carry Your Phone with You

Always carry your phone, but not for music or to make social calls as your walk. Your phone can be a lifeline if you see something suspicious or worse if something happens to you. Download a safety app on your phone, so you’ll be able to discreetly alert the authorities if you feel threatened or see something suspicious.

4) Avoid Suspicious People and Areas

Areas that are dark, deserted, or out-of-the-way, such as an alley or a parking lot, can be riskier than a well-lit area full of people. Stick to busy, lighted paths, to minimize the risks. Also, walk mainly in familiar places where you are known. That way, if you feel like a suspicious person is following you, you can always duck into a store you know or knock on a neighbour’s door. Avoid empty streets and pathways with thick shrubbery.

5) Keep Your Hands Free

Except for a flashlight and one of the items discussed below, keep your hands free. If you are carrying anything, put it all in one bag or backpack. This will make it easier for you to react if you notice someone following you. In a dangerous situation, carrying too many bags can keep you from moving as quickly as you can if your hands are free or if you only have one bag.

6) Carry a Non-Violent Deterrent

In addition to a flashlight,  A whistle will help you alert others and call them to aid you if something is wrong. The loud noise may put off attackers, and they’ll move on to find someone else. Mace or pepper spray can give you enough time to evade a potential attacker, and in a pinch, a flashlight can be used as a weapon. Make sure you know how to use the mace or pepper spray to get its full effect.

7) Wear Reflective Clothing to Prevent Accidents

When it comes to personal safety, it’s not just about suspicious people. Areas with low visibility can be prone to accidents. Reflective clothing allows bikers and cars to see you as you walk along. A flashlight or headlight can also help drivers see you if there are dark stretches of road on your route.

8) Take a Self-Defence Class

When fighting off something as an assault, the element of surprise can work in your favour. If you regularly walk alone, take a self-defence class. You don’t have to become a black belt. In fact, it’s probably better to learn something like Krav Maga, which has been popular for self-defence. The idea is to disable your attacker enough for you to get to safety, and a class focused on self-defence will help give you those survival skills.

9) Remove Any Distractions

Keep your phone in your hand in case you need to hit the panic button on your safety app, but don’t let it distract you. When walking alone at night for exercise, music can be motivating and energizing but also distracting. You may not hear someone driving or walking up behind you. Avoid wearing headphones or talking on your phone as you walk.

10) Trust Your Gut

When walking alone at night, trust your gut. If you feel like an area or situation may be dangerous, don’t wait around to find out. Stop and scan your surroundings if you think someone is following you. If you are being followed, walk as quickly as you can to a well-lit public place. You can wait until you feel safe, or call a friend, a taxi, or an Uber to help you get safely get home at night.

Following these personal safety tips will help keep you stay safe when walking alone. Always be aware of where you are and alert to suspicious activity.