Pastors begin work to help on the streets

DONCASTER’S army of street pastors have dished out their first flip-flops.

The group has been set up by members of churches in the borough to offer help to people in trouble in the town centre on Saturday nights.

After their first Saturday on the streets, they had dished out 10 pairs of flip flops to people who had lost or damaged their shoes. They also handed out two water bottles to people who were dehydrated after a night’s drinking.

Other work carried out by the volunteers saw them offer support to a man who was affected by alcohol and was upset about the death of his wife, and helping a woman who had become separated from her husband to find him again.

In total, there are 12 volunteers who have registered with the scheme, and all of them were out for the first hour under the scheme.

A team of three stayed out offering help until 3.40am.

As well as offering help, they also collected empty bottles from the streets, to make sure they could not be used as weapons by anybody.

Chairman of the Doncaster Street Pastors, Rod Morrison, was among those who took to the streets for the first time with the scheme.

He said: “I felt we got a very good reaction from the public.

“We were pleased with how the night went and all the people who went out on patrol came back feeling quite exhilarated.

“We will be going out on patrol every Saturday from now on.”

All the street pastors are in radio contact with both their own base and the police CCTV control room during their patrols.

Mr Morrison said they hope to eventually increase their numbers and any church members interested can email or call 07763 . You need to bne over 18 (no upper age limit) and able to commit to a period of training.

Street pastor schemes operate acorss the country and there are groups on the streets of Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham.