Newbury Street Pastors patrol the city center again
NEWBURY’s “flipflop and lollipop squad” – its team of Street Pastors who patrol the streets of downtown – is back on the beat.
The street pastors are a team of volunteers who reassure, support and comfort the people of the city center on Saturday evening and until the early hours of the morning.
Affectionately referred to as “the Moms and Dads of the Night,” they distribute water, pacifiers, flip flops and a few words of comfort to those who may be more tired, isolated, homeless or vulnerable.
Newbury Street Pastors President Phil Laybourne said: “We have played an active role in strengthening community life and are working closely with the police and the hospitality industry, making a commitment to respond effectively to issues. crime and security.
The stop-start nature of the pandemic has meant that many clubs and organizations have struggled to continue. Street pastors have been affected by the closure of many pubs, clubs and restaurants and the shutdown of the nightlife economy.
But the team is back on patrol this month as the country continues to emerge from its third lockdown.
Street pastor Eve Hughes said a typical night was to check with police for a situation report, including missing person reports, followed by a patrol through the city center.
Helping people with directions, needing water or handing out pacifiers and flip flops, even tying the ankle of a girl who’s injured herself swinging in her high heels is all part of a night’s job.
Inspector Mark Tucker of the Newbury and Thatcham Neighborhood Police Team said: “Historically, Newbury town center has seen a high number of incidents of anti-social behavior. The presence of street pastors in the streets has undeniably had a positive and calming effect and allows us to channel our resources to best affect them.
The street pastors plan to hold a commissioning ceremony in the market square on June 26 to re-engage in their ministry in the streets of Newbury.
Mr Laybourne said: “We are always looking for new team members as the number of volunteers remains limited. With 15 active street pastors, we are on the verge of being able to support a team of five teams of three, so we are always looking for new volunteers.
He added that the team wanted to extend their service to day shifts and wanted to hear from anyone interested in offering support.
Newbury Street pastors can be contacted via [email protected]