Basic training is over for Spalding’s first-ever group of street pastors who are “buzzing with excitement” ahead of the scheme’s launch on Friday.
Church leaders, councillors and other guests have been invited to The Lighthouse Church in the town for a commissioning service at 7.45pm before the first team of street pastors go out on patrol at 10pm.
It will mark the successful end of a three-year attempt to bring street pastors to Spalding after a previous bid stalled because church leaders were unable to set up a management team.
About 50 volunteers from nine different churches in the area have completed four sessions of training, including roles and responsibilities of a street pastor, working with police and first aid techniques.
John De Soyza (41), a Spalding Street Pastors volunteer, said: “For me, this is an opportunity to help people and serve my community despite all the pressures that are in the world.
“People can have the confidence to go out in Spalding on a Friday night because we’re out on the streets and the different ages of street pastors volunteers shows that no matter how young or old you are, there’s a part for you to play in the community.”
Street pastors out on patrol will be backed up by police and a team of prayer pastors, some of whom will be helping to monitor Spalding’s CCTV system.
Carolyn Aldis (38), another volunteer, said: “There’s a real buzz and excitement because I love Spalding, I think it’s a great town and I want the community to be built up in a positive way where people can have a good night out and be safe.”
Street pastor Ursula Chester (65) said: “What made me volunteer was the aspect of being a support to the emergency services and helping to provide a safe environment, but most of all was allowing people in Spalding to have a good evening out and just to be alongside them.”
Pastor Chas Sandhu, minister of The Lighthouse Church and a member of the management team, said: “This is has been set up in response to the needs of our community and we’re very pleased that churches are committed to Spalding Street Pastors.”