Street pastor scheme needs volunteers

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Nights out in Spalding could become a lot safer if enough volunteers join a Street Pastors scheme to be launched in the town later this year.

A series of information events are taking place in Spalding over the next two months to gauge the level of interest in the scheme from people in South Holland after talks between the area’s church leaders last Thursday.

The events will be held at The Lighthouse Church, Haverfield Road, on February 16, 19 and March 5, at 7.30pm, when people can find out more about Street Pastors and its role in keeping booze-fuelled and rowdy behaviour out of town centres.

Teams of four volunteers would patrol Spalding’s busiest streets at night, in partnership with the police, giving practical help and support to the vulnerable, homeless and people having a night out.

The Street Pastors initiative is being led by Churches Together in Spalding District (CTSD) and Pastor Chas Sandhu, a member of its management team, confirmed that at least 20 people from churches in the area were needed for the scheme to go ahead.

Pastor Sandhu, minister of The Lighthouse Church, said: “CTSD has the commitment to run Street Pastors in Spalding but it all depends on the information nights.

“Until we know how many volunteers are interested in participating, we can’t move forward with the scheme.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a good response from people in churches across South Holland and then we can go ahead with giving them application forms to fill in.”

Street Pastors was pioneered in London ten years ago and since then it has spread to about 250 towns and cities in the UK, with more than 10,000 volunteers.

Reverend Ian Walters, minister at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Gosberton, and another CTSD management team member, said: “We’re at a stage where we’re learning all we can to get the scheme under way and liaising with both Lincolnshire Police and the district council to take the project forward.

“Over the next few months, we’re getting the information out there for people to decide whether Street Pastors is for them and to learn more about how the scheme has gone in other towns.

“We’re hoping to launch the scheme in December and we believe it will make a real difference on the streets of Spalding at night time when people are coming out of pubs and clubs.”

Plans for a Street Pastors scheme in Spalding were first reported in the Lincolnshire Free Press last November as part of a blueprint from Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce to revitalise the town centre.

It has been backed by Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick who said: “I think Street Pastors is essential and I’m delighted that Spalding is setting up a scheme.”