Town pastors in Suffolk praised as they mark 10 years of helping revellers get home safely
PUBLISHED: 18:19 25 June 2016
Town pastors from across Suffolk gathered together to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the project.
The volunteers from churches work with police, licensed premises and other agencies to help out in the early hours in town centres as people make their way home from nightclubs and bars – supporting vulnerable people, often providing practical help or a listening ear, and improving their safety and wellbeing.
The scheme began in Ipswich in 2006, and today town pastors also operate in Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe, Haverhill, Lowestoft, Newmarket, Stowmarket, Sudbury, and Woodbridge.
Around 600 people are involved – more than 220 town pastors, and 380 on prayer teams – and in the year ending March 2016, out of a total of 20,841 categorised incidents, the pastors provided water or refreshments on 11,619 occasions, removed 3,947 dangerous items, and intervened to help 804 individuals.
Lord Lieutenant for Suffolk, Lady Euston told the 10th anniversary celebration at Adastral Park, Martlesham Heath: “Your work sets an example to the whole of the UK, and I am well aware of the enormous difference you make to the lives of the vulnerable, and the well-being of our towns, here in Suffolk.”
Gareth Wilson, Suffolk Chief Constable, said the pastors’ interaction with so many people was “so important to preventing people becoming victims of crime and disorder”.