Coleraine Street Pastors have an important celebration ahead.
Reverend Les Isaac, Director of the Ascension Trust and the founder of the Street Pastors world-wide, will be visiting Coleraine for the first Commissioning Service of Coleraine Street Pastors.
SDLP councillor Stephanie Quigley, who pioneered Street Pastors, told The Times this week that she is ‘delighted’ with the success of the project so far.
“It has been so well received in the local area.
“44 volunteers have completed the full training and are out on the streets.
“Because of working partnerships with bodies such as the Housing Executive, who have also provided financial backing for this scheme, we are able to start building a presence on estates, where we feel we can have a positive influence.”
The Commissioning Service for the first 44 volunteers will take place on the 31st January 31 in Coleraine Town Hall.
Street Pastors originally started in January 2003 in London in response to the rise in knife crime and antisocial behaviour.
By going onto the streets they have seen some remarkable results including drops in crime in areas where teams have been working.
Reverend Les Isaac explained: “Our aim is to make a difference in the lives of people.”
Locally, as well as the nitelife areas, Street Pastors have been visible in housing estates such as the Heights, Ballysally, Harpurs Hill, Millburn and Windy Hall.
Barbara Brown, Co-Ordinator for the Coleraine area, when asked about the typical situations the Street Pastors were facing, said, “On one particular night, we gave a foil bodywarmer to a girl who was being sick and had Type 1 diabetes.
“Plenty of teenagers who were at the nightclubs missed their lifts home, and we helped them find somewhere warm to spend the night. People are starting to recognise us and wherever we go, we have a very warm welcome.”
To keep up with the demand the Street Pastors will be recruiting again very soon.
To find out more, interested parties are invited to an information evening in St. Andrew’s in Ballysally on Thursday, January 22 at 7.30pm.