Voluntary scheme to encourage people to give others space

The Distance Aware badge

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Free badges and lanyards will be available to people who wish to show others they would welcome additional space and extra care while out in public.

The Distance Aware scheme is a voluntary initiative to help those on the Highest Risk List or anyone who feels worried about mixing with others as we adapt to living with Covid-19.

The Scottish Government has joined the scheme set up by the Bevan Commission and adapted it following research which showed that almost three quarters (73 per cent) of people on the Highest Risk List said they would like to signal to others to give them extra space.

The badges and lanyards, with the easily-recognisable shield symbol, are now available free from all community and mobile libraries in Scotland. They can also be ordered from the Scottish Government website for a small postal fee.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: ‘We are beginning to adapt to living with Covid-19 but we know that, for some people who have been at higher risk or feel anxious about going out in public, this is a big step.

‘This scheme not only provides vital reassurance to anyone who chooses to wear a badge or lanyard, but also encourages us all to be more aware and considerate of those around us – as we simply don’t know their circumstances or concerns.

‘I hope this will help people feel more confident and comfortable to go about their daily lives. The shield symbol can be worn by anyone.’

British Red Cross Scotland Director of Independent Living and Crisis Response Marie Hayes said: ‘We fully support the aims of the Distance Aware campaign and will be proud to highlight the scheme to callers contacting our Connecting With You service. Many people are experiencing loneliness, and are fearful of going out of their own homes as a result of the pandemic.

‘We believe Distance Aware can help overcome this and help them to re-engage with social activities. This could be invaluable in helping to tackle loneliness.’