The Spalding street pastors scheme has been given glowing praise by a close aide to the Prime Minister who went out on patrol with volunteers.
South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes spent about two and half hours with a team of street pastors during their regular walk round Spalding town centre on Friday, December 6.
Mr Hayes was joined by South Holland Licensing Committee chairman Coun Malcolm Chandler, Spalding Castle ward district councillor Gary Taylor and Pastor Chas Sandhu, minister at the town’s Lighthouse Church and a member of the Spalding Street Pastors management committee.
During the patrol, Mr Hayes spoke to a number of pub and nightclub owners, security staff and people having a night out in the town.
He said: “I would like to congratulate Spalding street pastors on what they are doing and it was wonderful to see them greeted so warmly.
“During the night, I went to a number of pubs and clubs around the town and I was delighted to be with these volunteers as they were assisting people who were in difficulty for one reason or another.
“They are in the business of adding value in the town where they live by creating a safer and more harmonious environment, looking after people’s wellbeing and improving the quality of life in our community.
“I think what the street pastors are doing is outstanding and the difference they are making in Spalding is clearly profound.”
Spalding street pastors was finally launched in July after a previous attempt in 2010 failed because church leaders were unable to form a management committee.
Almost 50 volunteers went through an intensive training programme before becoming street pastors and prayer pastors who are based at Spalding Police Station during patrol nights on Fridays.
Mr Sandhu said: “It was good to have some of our political leaders, including our local MP, with us to see what street pastors do.
“Mr Hayes was full of praise for our work and we’re really grateful for his support of Spalding street pastors.”
Coun Chandler said: “The patrol went very well, although it was a very quiet night and there were no real issues to deal with.
“I’m extremely pleased with the way things have gone since July and whenever I’ve been with them, the street pastors have been received well by people who are pleased to see them on the streets.
“One lady who we saw couldn’t believe people were out at that time of night being so caring and thoughtful.”