Doncaster Street Pastors …5 years on.
We started Street Pastors in Doncaster in December 2011 with 12 commissioned Street Pastors. We now have 17 commissioned Street Pastors who are active and patrol the streets of Doncaster town centre in teams of three every Saturday night from 10.00 pm until the clubs and pubs close – typically between 3.30 and 4.00 am the following morning.
In addition, we have 9 dedicated Prayer Pastors, who generally work in pairs at our base, where they support the team of Street Pastors in prayer for the duration of each patrol. However, on occasions, a Prayer Pastor will work from home, staying up to pray for as long as the team is out on the streets. Some of our Street Pastors also act as Prayer Pastors when not out on Patrol.
As well as patrolling every Saturday night, we have deployed additional patrols on the Sunday of each Bank Holiday week-end, on Ladies Day during Leger week, and on Mad Friday (the Friday before Christmas Day), each time supported by our Prayer Pastors.
A team of Street Pastors has also been present within the race course on certain race meetings when there is live music following the racing.
The public continue to welcome us in the town, where we have an excellent rapport with them through offering practical help to revellers and others who may otherwise be vulnerable.
We have a high level of credibility and trust within the community, with excellent working relationships with the Police, the Health Care professionals, the teams who staff the NHS First Responder Car, the Local Authority, licensees and managers of the pubs and clubs, the door security staff, and with all those who work in the night time economy.
As coordinator I attend the monthly meetings of Doncaster Pubwatch, and also feed in to the weekly police debrief on the week-end’s activities, which has helped to develop an integrated partnership of working within the night time economy.
We have twice been awarded the South Yorkshire Police “Partnership Working Award” for 2014 and for 2016, and in March 2016 we received the High Sherriff’s award for our work in the community.
The Public Health section of Doncaster Council has funded our water and flip-flops for a number of years now. In the autumn of 2016 we worked alongside the Public Health team to establish the Doncaster Safe Haven.
This is a multi-agency venture, with NHS and other medical personnel in attendance, as well other support agencies, together with an ambulance with medical personnel, which will be able to transport people to hospital if their medical condition deteriorates whilst they are in the Safe Haven. Street Pastors are able to take people to the Safe Haven for emergency medical care and for safe refuge for vulnerable people whilst they wait for transport home.
Our Memorandum of Understanding between South Yorkshire Police and the Street Pastor Initiatives in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield gives us a common protocol which enables all parties to know and understand what their individual roles and responsibilities are. Alongside this we have a signed Local Agreement with their own town’s Police Division.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a Street Pastor is the feeling of respect and support we get from our partners in the police and the night time economy, as we all work together as a team and not as individual groups in isolation. We continue to train in consortium with the Street Pastors Initiatives in Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield, and the coordinators from all four Street Pastor Initiatives meet regularly to plan the training and commissioning of Street Pastors as well as other joint activities.
In addition, we also hold local training sessions for Doncaster Street Pastors and Prayer Pastors, and for our own team leaders.
So – what precisely have we done? Here are some statistics for our first five years :
Since we began operating, we have deployed a total of 321 patrols, which represents 4941.5 ‘Street Pastor’ hours. We have removed 6639 bottles and 1400 glasses, all of which were potential weapons.
We have cleared 404 lots of broken glass, given out 4454 pairs of flip-flops, 288 foil blankets and 92 foil ponchos, 2087 bottles of water and 17 New Testaments and/or Bibles.
We have attended and assisted in 136 anti-social incidents and 1065 other incidents, signposted or referred 81 people to other agencies (mainly for homeless support) and administered First Aid on 212 occasions.
In total we have recorded helping 7742 people on the streets who have been vulnerable to a greater or lesser degree. We have had contact with nearly eleven thousand people.
A typical night could include cleaning and dressing the wounds of someone who has fallen over; giving water to someone who needs to sober up a little to enable them to catch a taxi home; escorting isolated females to a taxi rank or other safe place; issuing free flip-flops to enable girls to walk home in comfort without cutting bare feet on broken glass; calming someone having a panic attack; or summoning medical assistance to more serious cases.
And none of this takes account of the numerous conversations we have supporting people who are bereaved, homeless or lonely, and listening to people who are seeking spiritual or moral guidance, or reassurance and acceptance … or indeed just in need of somebody who is willing to listen.
We are always pleased to take out observers with us who are interested in becoming Street pastors, or wish to see what we do at first hand. We are always short of volunteers, to be Street Pastors or Prayer Pastors. Is this something you could do? Alternatively, if you know of anyone whom you think may be suitable for this type of ministry, please encourage them to find out more.
For those who feel unable to volunteer as a Street Pastor or Prayer Pastor we have an electronic mailing list of Prayer Partners who have committed to praying for our work, and to whom we e-mail news and prayer concerns on a regular basis. We are truly grateful to all our volunteers and to churches and Christians from all traditions across Doncaster for their support in prayer and financial contributions which enable this ministry to take place. We are also grateful to all those organisations who continue to support us through financial contributions and the supply of resources which enables the ministry to continue.
If you would like someone from Doncaster Street Pastors to come to your church or organisation to give a presentation about our work, or if you would like further details of the Doncaster Initiative, or to find out about becoming a Street Pastor, Prayer Pastor or Prayer Partner, please contact me, Rod Morrison, on 07763 167311 or e-mail to Doncaster@streetpastors.org.uk
For further information about Street Pastors in general, go to www.doncasterstreetpastors.co.uk
Doncaster Street Pastors
28th February 2017
Doncaster Street Pastors is a company limited by guarantee.
Registered in England, Company Number 07799218.
Registered Office: Hall Gate United Reformed Church, Hall Gate, Doncaster, DN1 3NG.