Nightclubbers and pub-goers to be greeted by Christian outreach workers
Starting on Saturday, the group of more than 20 volunteers will work as Street Pastors, going out into the community at pub and club kicking-out time to engage with people on the street, sometimes to help those too intoxicated to get home and at other times just to chat to people who need someone to talk to.
The group will meet at The Kennet Shopping Centre for a commissioning service on Saturday at 7.45pm after which the group will then head out into the streets of Newbury to complete their first patrol.
Coordinator Deborah Arden-Hunt said the group’s goal was to combat anti-social behaviour and to make the church more relevant in society.
“We have completed our basic training, and we have 23 Street Pastors out ready to go which is very exciting for Newbury,” she said.
The scheme was pioneered in South London in January 2003 in response to problems with gangs, and it claims remarkable success, including a 25 per cent drop in crime in some areas.
Volunteers have to pay £300 for training and a Street Pastor uniform, though in some cases their churches may contribute.
Nine West Berkshire Christian organisations have signed up to the scheme: St Nicholas Church, Newbury, The Salvation Army, Newbury, Kennet Christian Centre, Newbury, Glendale Church, Newbury, Newbury Methodist Church, Newbury Baptist Church, St Mary’s Church, Greenham, Kennet Road Gospel Hall, Newbury and St Mary’s Church, Shaw.
Greenham Common Trust has contributed £5,000 to the charity to support the battle against anti-social behaviour.
For more information, contact Newbury Baptist Church on (01635) 550124.