Covid Scotland: Scottish Government invest £55,500 to provide free badges and lanyards for people who want more space in public

Free badges and lanyards will be available to people in Scotland worried about the coronavirus risk from mixing with others and who would prefer extra space.

By Tom Eden
Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Sunday, 23rd January 2022, 1:45 pm

Adorned with shield logos, the badges and lanyards can be worn in public by people who are at high risk or concerned about coronavirus as a way of showing they want to be given more room or treated with added care.

The voluntary Distance Aware scheme was launched by Welsh think-tank the Bevan Commission following research that found 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 Scottish Government has now announced it has invested £55,500 to buy and distribute badges and lanyards, as well as promoting the scheme.

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From January 26, the badges and lanyards will be available free from all community and mobile libraries in Scotland and in Asda stores.

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They can also be ordered from the Scottish Government website, but this will incur a postage 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.

A free badge, which along with lanyards will be available to people in Scotland worried about the coronavirus risk from mixing with others and who would prefer extra space.

"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's director of independent living 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."

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