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CTIPA - Penzance Street Pastors
'Street Pastors' is an ecumenical mission style response to weekend night-time problems. Those involved engage with people on the streets and in night-time venues to care, listen and chat offering practical help where requested.
There are now some 9000 trained SP volunteers in around 250 teams around the United Kingdom.
Each project is set up by Ascension Trust and run by a local coordinator with support from local churches and community groups, all in partnership with Police, Council and other statutory agencies.
Individual SP’s are Christian adults with a concern for their community, who are willing to engage people where they are, both in terms of their attitudes and location. They undergo 12 full days of training in order to volunteer to patrol the streets of towns and cities at night, helping and caring for people in practical ways. To be a SP you need to be over 18 (no upper age limit), a church member and able to commit to the training programme.
Each SP team consists of a group of four, who work a minimum of one night a month, usually from 10pm to around 4am.
Prayer Pastors (sometimes called prayer supporters) are a vital part of the SP team. As Christians we believe in the power of prayer; God moves and changes things when we pray. So although prayer is not specifically offered to people on the streets – the whole evening and every situation the SP’s come across is prayed for.
The SP’s will ring back to base every 10 – 15 minutes to let the PP’s know what is going on and what to pray for, as well as ringing back for specific situations to be covered in prayer. Prayer is a vital part of SP to the extent that SP will not go out without the PP’s being available, back at the base
CTIPA - Penzance Street Pastors - Six month Project Overview -
Teams of Street Pastors have been out on the streets in Penzance every Saturday night since 22.12.12 from 10:30pm to 4:30am on Sunday mornings. Patrols are supported at base (Shekinah Church) by two Prayer Pastors.
Street Pastors check in with CCTV by phone at the start of each session.
The duty police sergeant checks in with the Street Pastors’ patrol phone, when incidents permit.
Examples of assistance given include the following:
Since the date of the first patrol (22.12.12) every six months volunteers contribute 920 hours on Saturday nights and 550 hours on administration, co-ordination and fund-raising. This excludes the start up time and training time and equates to £10,950 at the living wage rate of £7.45 per hour. A paid Coordinator has been appointed for 8 hours a week (annual cost approx £4000) to reduce the load on the volunteer co-ordinators.
The project is managed by a Management Group which reports back to the CTIPA Executive, which includes a police sergeant and a town councillor. This is one of three outreach projects which come under the auspices of Churches Together in the Penzance Area.
Street Pastors in Penzance prove their worth -
HUNDREDS of shards of glass have been cleared away and dozens of pairs of flip-flops and bottles of water handed out to vulnerable revellers by a new Christian group working on the streets of Penzance.
The Street Pastors have become familiar faces in the heart of the town's night time economy since launching just before Christmas.
The team believe they have helped limit drunken fights and stopped people being taken advantage of.
"We seem to be well received by most people on the streets," said Victoria Howard, joint coordinator at the Penzance Street Pastors.
"We do not have hard data but we have the impression that watching from a distance, asking if we can help, persuading people to go home and asking prayer pastors to pray for them, diminishes the likelihood of incidences of aggression, 'domestics' and people being taken advantage of."
Each weekend, a team of four pastors make their way along Causewayhead and past the town's pubs and clubs. They are armed with a reveller support pack including bottles of water, anti-drink spiking gadgets and flip-flops, handed out to shoeless women so they don't hurt their feet.
As well as those walking through the town centre, a team of pastors stay at their base and pray for their fellow volunteers, emergency services and revellers.
The Street Pastor team also lends a listening ear to people in need of support.
So far, they have listened to a young man who attempted suicide after seeing domestic abuse in the home; stayed with a vulnerable young woman who had no phone or money; escorted four under-age girls away from a man who was pestering them; lent a coat to a drunk girl and took her home after she was left by friends.
"The fact that they have already helped a number of people get home, helped those with personal challenges and are interfaced between the public and licence premises they have already shown their worth," said Penzance Inspector Jean Phillips.
At the moment, the team meets every Saturday night at 10pm and are on the streets from 10.45pm until 3am.