Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Street Pastors in Yeovil?

Had a Street Pastors meeting today - see the clip above for a flavour of what they are, or visit here for video clips from other parts of the country. A few jottings

- Street Pastors started in 2003, in Brixton, with 18 volunteers. There are now over 1000, with Street Pastors up and running in dozens of centres (most recently Taunton), and 15 others exploring it.

- the age range of Street Pastors is 18-76, and the 76 year old is very effective!

- 160 new Street Pastors per year are being trained in London alone, and the chief of the Met has asked the charity who oversee it (Ascension Trust), whether they can roll it out to the remaining London boroughs who dont yet have SP's in operation. The training is 12 full days, which sounds a lot but makes sure the folk who do it know how to handle situations, and can be trusted.

- The general idea is to be a presence in town centres on Friday/Saturday nights, during the time when there's most going on, to look out for the vulnerable, listen to people, and show the love of Jesus in action. The police are very keen on it, and in Lincoln, the first 6 months of Street Pastors saw crime fall by 7.5%. Local businesses and town centre managers are keen too, as they see the benefits on making town centres safer and a more pleasant place to be.

There are other positive reports in the Sunday Telegraph (including some glowing quotes from David Cameron and Boris Johnson), and on the BBC.

It sounds an ideal thing to be supporting here in Yeovil, and there was a briefing for police and community leaders after the church leaders meeting this morning. Watch this space.

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