Street Pastors was pioneered in London in 2003 by Les Isaac. (Director of Ascension Trust). Each project is set up by Ascension Trust, which is the governing body behind Street Pas- tors, and run by a local coordinator with support from local churches and community groups, in partnership with the police, local council and other statutory agencies.
The trust have trained over 12,000 street pastors, who play an active part in more than 270 towns and cities around the UK. When you add prayer pastors, management teams and trustees, this means that there are over 20,000 volunteers in total associated with the Street Pastors network.
Street Pastors are trained volunteers from local churches who care about their community. They engage with people on the streets to care for them, listen to them and help them.
They work together with other partners in the night-time economy to make communities safer.
They patrol in teams, of 3 or 4, usually from 7 p.m. to early a.m. on a Friday and / or Saturday night, to care for, listen to and help people who are out on the streets.
Why the New Forest?
The New Forest Police Constabulary were instrumental in seeking the introduction of Street Pastors to the region. The initial support of Inspector Alex Reading (the Commanding Officer based in Lymington) was strategic in encouraging cooperation with local government & churches in this initiative and, after consulting with the New Forest South police & other agencies, the Lymington and Area churches were the first to sign their lease agreement with the Ascension Trust.
We are now celebrating the 2nd anniversary of patrolling our area which has most recently
expanded to include New Milton and environs. Our current area includes; Lymington, Pennington, Sway, Brockenhurst, New Milton, Ashley,
Hordle & Milford.
How do we do it?
Currently we have a team of 30 Street Pastors (with 3 more in training) backed by 20 fantastic Prayer Pastors.
We patrol on Friday evenings in 2 shifts—the first from 7:30pm-10pm followed by the
second from 10pm-2am.
Occasionally, you may see us out & about on Saturday mornings in Lymington, patrolling the market to raise awareness of our operation.
Teams comprise 3 or 4 Street Pastors, usually of different ages, from different backgrounds and churches which gives us a unique presence on the streets and a wide range of abilities & experience.
Some of the things we get involved in are;
- Collection of bottles / cans / glasses
- Handing out flip flops / bottled water & sweets
- Searching for missing persons
- Liaising with the local police
- Checking on areas where people may be sleeping rough
- Calming potentially inflammatory situations (usually with lollipops!)
- Ensuring people find taxis / lifts home
We get involved in many different incidents during our time on the streets, this is just one;
A team on the late shift one Friday evening were patrolling around Lymington. After checking out a local pub, they continued around a car park area and discovered a young person, apparently asleep on a bench.
After not receiving any response to their greetings, the team tried to rouse the person but with no success. From paraphernalia around the bench, it appeared that they had been
drinking. An ambulance was duly called and the person was attended by the medical professionals, eventually being transported to hospital.
Upon waking, the patient questioned the nursing staff as to how they had arrived at hospital, having no knowledge of the events of the previous evening after passing out. They were informed of the Street Pastors involvement in their recovery and promptly decided to write to us a letter of thanks and encouragement.
It transpires that the young person had reached rock bottom and decided that they would drink themselves into oblivion rather than have to face the circumstances in which they
found themselves. This was the point at which the Street Pastors found them. A combination of previous contact with a church and the Christian ethos of the Street Pastors brought the young person both hope and a sense of love, which we trust is still with them to this day.
Did you know
New Forest Street Pastors (and some Prayer Pastors) have been trained in the following;
- Drug & alcohol awareness
- First Aid
- Listening Skills
This is not a complete list, but it may be that your church could benefit from the skills of your Street Pastors in different ways, that their training may be used to it’s fullest.
For more detail contact
- 01590 622488