Encouraging response to appeal for Street Pastors

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Hopes of a Street Pastors scheme in Spalding have risen after the first in a series of information evenings proved a success.

At least 30 people attended the event at the town’s Lighthouse Church where a presentation about the scheme was given by Sergeant Stuart Hurst of Spalding Police Station.

Residents were joined by church leaders and South Holland District Council members at the event on Saturday when they heard how Street Pastors had proven to be a success across the country.

Sgt Hurst said: “The whole idea of Street Pastors is that it’s nothing to do with the police, but it’s a church-led, Christ-driven idea.

“It’s about engaging with young people and being with them, not in church but on the street where they hang out.

“Nationally in places where they have Street Pastors, there is less crime and disorder.

“Consequently, the town or city becomes safer.”

Street Pastors has been running for ten years and there are about 250 schemes in the UK, including Boston, Grantham, Lincoln and Stamford.

A six-person management team made up of local church leaders has been formed to run Street Pastors in Spalding after funding was secured from the district council, police, churches and other organisations.

Sgt Hurst said: “The police and other agencies, including the local authority, are as keen as the churches are to see Street Pastors succeed.

“But to do so, it needs volunteers (from churches in South Holland) who are willing to make a positive difference in the lives of young people who may have had too much to drink at night.”

As well as Street Pastors, the scheme also needs CCTV operators and so-called Prayer Pastors to support those volunteers out on the streets and who will be based at a command centre in Spalding town centre.

After the meeting, Sgt Hurst said: “I’ve been asked to be involved in this because the police in Spalding think that any group of people who are keen to show an interest and support the vulnerable in our community is extremely welcome.”

Pastor Chas Sandhu, minister of The Lighthouse Church, said: “It was a very encouraging night and the response from people has been absolutely fantastic.

“We’re grateful to the individual councillors who are supporting this project and we hope to get more people who want to sign up for Street Pastors at the next two information evenings.”

These take place at The Lighthouse Church, Haverfield Road, Spalding, tonight and on March 5, both at 7.30pm.