More support for Street Pastors

17/3/12_RS'Street pastors out on Friday night aound Gosport town centre.'Leslie Davis talks with a young man at a bus stop watched by Maureen Deacon (left).''Picture: Steve Reid (120964-657)

17/3/12_RS'Street pastors out on Friday night aound Gosport town centre.'Leslie Davis talks with a young man at a bus stop watched by Maureen Deacon (left).''Picture: Steve Reid (120964-657)

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Businesses, police and South Holland District Council are all backing the launch of a Street Pastors scheme in Spalding later this year.

Support for teams of volunteers patrolling the town centre at night, offering help to clubbers and the vulnerable, is growing after dates were announced for three information nights about the scheme.

They are taking place at The Lighthouse Church in Spalding, on February 16, 19 and March 5, at 7.30pm, and organisers are hoping enough volunteers from churches across South Holland will attend so that Street Pastors can be launched in the summer.

But the sight of volunteer teams of four people, dressed in blue all-weather jackets and armed with bottled water, flip-flops and face wipes, has moved closer to reality after the council and police confirmed on Tuesday that start-up funding for the scheme is now in place.

Coun Malcolm Chandler, chairman of South Holland Licensing Authority, said: “We have been working on introducing Street Pastors in Spalding for quite a while now as we are aware of the benefit these dedicated volunteers have achieved in other towns.

“I am grateful to all those who have contributed to this project, both financially and with the long, hard work of bringing the project to this positive step.

“Although we still have some way to go, the introduction of Street Pastors in Spalding will provide positive community support to vulnerable people during the night and I look forward to the continuing support of all the partners involved with the project.”

Insp Jim Tyner, Spalding’s community policing inspector, said: “During busy weekend evenings, Street Pastors will enable the police to concentrate on crime and public disorder at a time of peak demand.

“This can only be a good thing.”