Street pastors seek patrol volunteers

EASTBOURNE’S street pastors are on the lookout for new volunteers to join their late-night weekend patrols.

The scheme was set up 18 months ago and involves volunteers offering assistance to night-owls who are out and about in the town centre on Friday and Saturday nights from 10pm to 4am.

Sally Medway, a founder street pastor, said, “In the last six months alone they have given out more than 100 pairs of flip flops, 130 bottles of water, picked up 225 glass bottles and 315 tin cans.

“More importantly they have had countless conversations with young people interested in talking about anxieties and personal issues as well as spiritual matters and exploring issues of faith.

“When asked, the volunteers have prayed with and for people in hopeless situations and helped people after heated incidents. The street pastors have a good working relationship with the doormen at clubs and pubs and been generally welcomed by them as an independent, caring and listening support team within the night time economy.”

The scheme was developed during 2009, with the first group of 28 volunteers in training going out on the streets on Friday nights.

At the end of last year, more volunteers were recruited and trained and with an increase in numbers both Friday and Saturday nights were covered. This year organisers hope to recruit and train more street pastors who would like to help on Eastbourne’s streets. Training begins from September. The street pastors are supported by prayer pastors who spend the night praying for the volunteers, the police and the people or incidents they encounter. Plans are also underway to introduce a team of school pastors to offer assistance to school children in school or on the streets on the way home.

If you are a Christian and interested in finding out more about becoming a street pastor, prayer pastor or school pastor, an information and recruitment event takes place at Victoria Baptist Church on June 27 between 7 and 9pm.