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To begin with, I volunteered, not always a good thing I thought as I headed towards the town centre at 9.15 p.m.  And I don’t like very late nights either, but I’d promised to go, and to my surprise I had a really great time, and the 3 a.m. bedtime made me feel 16 again! !  Let me explain: I’d asked to go out with Doncaster Street Pastors for the evening, 9 p.m. until maybe 4 a.m. to see how they worked.

Four Street Pastors met me at the United Reformed Church in Hall Gate, and people joined us, doormen, licensees, a First Responder with two special constables to support him,  and police, all those working on a Saturday night to ensure those who were out to have a good time had a safe good time.  We had a warm drink and were given information about the evening, that there was an event at the Dome and that the previous night had been quiet and uneventful, and then we went our separate ways, but saw each other through the night as we walked round.  We five together with our two Prayer Pastors then prayed together for a safe night, and that others should see that we did it for the love God has for those we met, we left our Prayer Pastors at the church to support us in prayer throughout the night, and headed to where the clubs are, strolling along chatting and keeping our eyes open.  We carried bottles of water, flip-flops for shoeless girls, -not especially for those who were going on holiday!-lollipops to give a sugar boost, insulated emergency blankets and phones. Our Team Leader carried a radio for immediate contact with the police CCTV and our base should the need arise. The night was relatively quiet, we gave out water and flip-flops, chatted to people we met, saw no fights or people lying on the pavement, and no queues for taxis.  Many people greeted us warmly, wanted to know what we were doing, and that was the opportunity to say that we came from local churches.  We were generally considered to be useful, helpful,  “right good people”.

There were so many positives, I genuinely did enjoy myself and felt very comfortable.  There was quite a buzz, everyone there was out with the intention of having a good time, and the overall impression was of good humour and enjoyment.   I saw no under-age drinkers thankfully, and I know from my working life that many many under-18s are bought drink by over-18s.  I saw people working together for the safety and enjoyment of others.   Most importantly I saw Christianity in practice: four devout and cheerful people showing by their actions the love of the God that they serve.

And the pasties?  So many times people reading the clothing logo said, “Street what?  Pasties,  ooooh…..”  Pasties are warm and comforting and welcoming, there are worse things to be called!

 

Street Pastor Updates

Doncaster Street Pastors … one year on.

The year 2012 has been a fantastic year for Doncaster Street Pastors.

We commenced the year with 12 commissioned Street Pastors and ended the year with 21 commissioned and active Street Pastors and six dedicated Prayer Pastors, with several Street Pastors also acting as Prayer Pastors when not out on Patrol.

We have patrolled every Saturday night, with additional patrols on the Sunday of each Bank Holiday week-end, on Ladies Day during Ledger week, and on Mad Friday (the Friday before Christmas Day), and always supported throughout the night by our Prayer Pastors in the base.

We have also established first rate working relationships with the Police, the Health Care professionals, the NHS First Responder teams, the Local Authority, licensees and managers of the pubs and clubs, the door security staff, and with all those who work in the night time economy.

Representatives from the above meet every Saturday night at our base room for a briefing from the police at 9.30pm prior to Street Pastors going out on patrol. We are represented at meetings of Doncaster Pubwatch and the police Tactical Violent Crime Sub-group. All this has helped develop an integrated partnership of working within the night time economy.

We are very welcome in the town, and have built an excellent rapport with the public through offering practical help to revellers and others who may otherwise be vulnerable. We have gained credibility and earned trust within the community.

Training has been on-going throughout the year in consortium with the Street Pastors Initiatives in Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield, whose coordinators meet regularly to plan the training and commissioning of Street Pastors as well as other joint activities.

One such initiative was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and Local Agreements between South Yorkshire Police and the Street Pastor Initiatives in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield on Wednesday 3rd October at Crystals nightclub in Sheffield – a highlight of the year. The memorandum is a commonly agreed protocol by which all parties know and understand their individual roles and responsibilities.

The signing ceremony took place as part of a lively service of praise and thanksgiving to God, in the presence of Rev Les Isaac OBE, of the Ascension Trust, together with civic and church leaders, police officers, and Street Pastors, Prayer Pastors and supporters from churches across South Yorkshire.

So – what precisely have we done over the year? Our first annual statistical report to the Ascension Trust shows that during 2012 we patrolled a total of 1050 ‘Street Pastor’ hours, removed 1533 bottles and 273 glasses, all of which were potential weapons, cleared 58 lots of broken glass, gave out 1051 pairs of flip-flops, 63 foil blankets, 481 bottles of water and 4 New Testaments and a Bible.

We attended and assisted in 22 anti-social incidents and 242 other incidents, signposted or referred 11 people to other agencies and administered First Aid on 40 occasions.

In total we helped 1786 vulnerable people on the street. In addition we had numerous conversations, supporting people who were bereaved, homeless or lonely, and listening to people who were seeking spiritual or moral guidance, or reassurance and acceptance … or just in need of somebody who was willing to listen.

We are grateful to all our volunteers and to churches and Christians from all traditions across Doncaster for their support in prayer and financial contributions which enable this ministry to take place.

However, we still need more volunteers if we are to fulfil our plans to patrol on Friday nights as well as Saturdays. If you know of anyone whom you think may be suitable for this type of ministry, please encourage them to find out more by coming out with us one night as an observer.

 

Links

Alternatively, if you live in Barnsley, Rotherham or Sheffield and are interested in joining the Street Pastors there, please follow the links below:

Barnsley

Rotherham

Sheffield