- Street pastor scheme rolled out to Stroud
- Already a success in Cheltenham and Gloucester
- Help for those vulnerable to abuse, injury and extortion
- Commissioner says they’re ‘a welcome sight’
The streets of Stroud will be safer tonight (Saturday 31 Oct) thanks to teams of specially trained volunteers who will be out on patrol.
Street Pastors will be touring the town from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. looking out for anyone who is worse for wear.
Street Pastors are unpaid helpers from local church groups and have been operating in Cheltenham and Stroud for many years. Now, thanks to funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner, the scheme is being rolled out in Stroud.
Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said,
“For many people Saturday nights are a chance to let their hair down, socialise and have a few drinks. However, sometimes an alcohol-fuelled night can take a darker turn, that’s when having street pastors close by can be a saving grace.
“The street pastor schemes in Cheltenham and Gloucester have proven to have a positive impact on keeping people safe while they enjoy the late night economy, which is a priority I am committed to.
“Their acts of kindness and sheer presence not only reassure the public of their safety, but also help to ease the burden placed on the emergency services and local businesses.
“Providing someone who is drunk and potentially vulnerable with whatever help and support they need, can be the difference between that person getting home safely and ending up in A&E.
“At a time when the NHS is stretched and binge drinking is costing taxpayers almost five billion pounds a year, street pastors are a welcome sight on the streets of Gloucestershire, where there are over 10,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions a year.”
Street Pastors work alongside the police and local businesses. Their role includes assisting those who are in a distressed state or have become detached from their friends to get home, handing out bottles of water and foil blankets, administering first aid, and even providing flip flops to women walking the streets barefoot.
Street pastors have been a permanent presence on the streets of Gloucester and Cheltenham for five years. Cheltenham was the first in the county to commission 21 volunteer pastors on Saturday nights. Since then, with the help of a £40,000 grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, the operation has expanded to 50 pastors who also patrol Friday nights and during events like the Cheltenham Races.
In the five years since the scheme began, street pastors in the town have helped over 15,000 people, administered first aid to 150 and attended over 200 anti-social incidents.