New status boost for street pastors

STREET pastors who provide support to people out in Eastbourne late at night are celebrating their second anniversary with the news they have been given charity status.

Since it was launched more than 35 people have trained to become street pastors and volunteers go out on the streets between 10am and 3am every Friday and Saturday night in teams of four or five to provide an independent, caring and listening support team to revellers.

They have had countless conversations with young people keen to talk about anxieties and personal issues and also helped the public after heated incidents which the police have dealt with or stayed with people who are awaiting emergency care.

In addition, during the first six months of 2011 Eastbourne street pastors have handed out 269 bottles of water, 236 pairs of flipflops, 31 space blankets and 39 hot drinks.

Pastors have also picked up and disposed of 550 glass bottles and 858 tin cans, which, if left on the street, could cause people harm and potentially become weapons.

The service has also been welcomed by Eastbourne Police. Inspector Charlie McNaughton said, “I am convinced that the presence of our street pastors continues to have an impact on reducing incidents of violent crime and anti-social behaviour in our town centre.

“I am very grateful for all the efforts of the street pastors, including all those who work tirelessly in the background to ensure the pastors gain the maximum support when they are out on the streets.”

The service, which is financially self-sufficient and dependent on support from the local community, has just received its charity status and is also preparing for a commissioning service for the third intake of new volunteers which includes nine new street pastors from various churches.

The service is on Saturday, November 26, at 8pm in TJ’s in Terminus Road.