Last night (Thursday 22nd November 2012) I attended a meeting for people interested in becoming a ‘Street Pastor’ in Leamington. I was there in my ‘official’ capacity to demonstrate support for the scheme as were the Police, Officers from Warwick DC and the local MP Chris White.
The appalling weather did not put off over 30 people from local churches who were there to find out more about what it means to be a street pastor.
Schemes are already in place in Stratford and Rugby and we heard direct from a Rugby Street Pastor of his experiences.
‘Street Pastors’ is “an inter-denominational Church response to urban problems, engaging with people on the streets to care, listen and dialogue.” It is Christian but NOT preachy. It is about caring for the vulnerable in our society and ensuring their safety – whoever they are.
Street Pastors are there to ‘care, listen and help’. They provide practical help for those in need and will often be able to disfuse a tricky situation. Where schemes are already in place they have developed a rapport with the public, trade and services and are highly valued by all.
To become a Street Pastor volunteers will have to contribute 50 hours of their time in training before they can then give up their time late at night to look after people on the streets of their town. They will each commit to do this at least once a month.
Judging by the support at last night’s meeting I have no doubt that the scheme will be a great success. We will do all we can to support this initiative.
For more information go to http://streetpastors.org/
Group Manager: Community Safety and Substance Misuse
Warwickshire County Council