Team marks five years of helping people on streets

Martin West SUS-150806-130228001
Martin West SUS-150806-130228001

A group of volunteers is celebrating five years of keeping late night revellers safe on the streets of Hastings.

Hastings Street Pastors first patrolled the Old Town and town centre on February 5th 2010.

The team has been out on the streets 590 times and in that time have helped a large number of people, many who have been worse the wear from drink.

Figures show the Street Pastors have helped vulnerable people over 1,600 times and freely given away 1,900 pairs of their famous flip-flops.

These are handed out when they come across bare footed women who have lost a heel, stiletto or even their shoes.

A total of 1,500 bottles of water have been given, to help people who were dehydrated, and over 2,900 hot drinks and portions of food were given away.

Co-ordinator Martin West said: “The team hit the ground running on its very first ground-breaking night when their first conversation was with a gentleman who was extremely anxious and suicidal.

“Street Pastors never preach but seek to listen, care and help all those they come across.

“The team take as much time as needed to actively listen, show compassion and offer practical help.

“The volunteers give up one night each month and complete 50 hours of relevant professional training. They are supported by at least two Pray Pastor volunteers who are based in the Prayer Centre at Wellington Square Church.

“Street Pastors is a Christian organisation and although Hastings has 65 church going volunteers on its books, it is on the lookout for more as requests to go out more frequently come in.

“The work is very rewarding. New friendships are forged and the project partners successfully with Hastings Police and the Borough Council in what we call the ‘Urban Trinity’.”

Interested applicants can contact Martin West on 07964 167870 or by email to Hastings@streetpastors.org.uk. Current events are posted to their Facebook page too.

The five year celebrations started with a special service at Holy Trinity church on Robertson Street with the Street Pastor Band playing and special guest, Street Pastor co-founder Reverend Les Isaac OBE, giving an inspirational message. Eastbourne based Gospel band The Remnant played outside nearby ‘His Place’ church and birthday cake, balloons and tea and coffee were shared with passers-by.

A packed Wellington Square Church was the venue for a Civic Community Service which was attended by Deputy Mayor Cllr Judy Rogers.