PASTOR patrols are set to hit the streets in a bid to protect town revellers.
From tonight, Hartlepool will have its own team of street angels patrolling the Church Street area of town from 10pm to 3am each Friday and Saturday night.
They will offer help and support to people who are vulnerable or in need and will have a base in Elim “Living Waters” Pentecostal Church, in Whitby Street, where a cafe will be open as a safe haven away from the hustle and bustle.
The project is being supported by the Safer Hartlepool Partnership and has the backing of a number of churches in Hartlepool across a range of denominations.
Chief Inspector Kathy Prudom, of Hartlepool Police, said: “Hartlepool town pastors is an extremely valuable initiative, which will offer additional support and guidance to those who visit Hartlepool’s vibrant night-time economy.
“A great deal of planning has gone in to ensure that the project is as successful as it can be and we hope that people coming into the town embrace the scheme.”
The initiative is one of 75 ‘street angels’ projects throughout the UK. Stockton was the first in the area to launch the scheme in December 2009 and Middlesbrough was the second.
Their aim is to help keep people safe, to befriend the community and to help those who find themselves marginalised and vulnerable.
All volunteers are over 18, enhanced CRB checked and trained in conflict management.
They will work in teams of three when they are on patrol and will wear high-visibility jackets.
Volunteers are still being sought and do not have to be from a church.
As a primarily Christian project, which falls under the national umbrella of the Christian Nightlife Initiatives (CNI) charity, those running it say they hope to bring “God’s love to all people, without judgement and regardless of circumstance”.
Project manager, the Reverend Colin Sawtell, of the Elim Church, said: “We are pleased to be able to provide help, support and friendship to the local community, and we will be offering a caring presence during the night-time environment to those in need or who find themselves vulnerable.”
If you would like to know more about the Hartlepool project, wish to apply to become a volunteer, or to support financially or in prayer contact Rev Sawtell on 07828093728.