Lincoln Street Pastors’ co-ordinator Tom Wiley is heading back to the classroom armed with a wealth of good wishes – after accepting a special gift for the colleagues he is leaving behind.
Tom, who has been part of the Lincoln Street Pastors’ (LSP) team for the past eight years, and its co-ordinator for two-and-a-half, has stepped down and is returning to teaching his specialist subject, science, in Lincoln.
But before leaving, he was delighted to accept a large water boiler for the Lincoln Street Pastors – which will help to keep the team going with hot drinks throughout their evening stints.
Tom has seen the LSP team, which is made up of 37 Street Pastors and 22 Prayer Pastors (representing 27 different churches across the city) make a real difference to the city’s night-time economy.
Eight teams of people work on Fridays and Saturday nights between the hours of 10.30pm and 3.30am. The men and women work together in groups of three or four volunteers helping people in a variety of ways.
They can find themselves assisting someone who has had too much to drink, who is feeling lost or alone, vulnerable, homeless or potentially suicidal.
The Street Pastors have a link with the city’s CCTV system, the police, taxi marshalls, door staff and bar staff.
LSP which bases itself out of Lincoln BIG’s offices, and which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, is a member of the Greater Lincoln Active Faith Network (a group which aims to get churches working together in taking social action).
Tom said: “Ours is a precious and vibrant city and it has been a joy to serve people alongside so many fantastic pastors.”
Lincoln BIG Evening Economy Manager Marion Cooney said: “The street pastors form an important and integral part of Lincoln’s night time economy. Having Tom as the co-ordinator for these past two-and-a-half years has brought another dimension to this role.
“Tom has always looked to make a difference to people’s lives and he always strived to go that extra mile.
“Being a Street Pastors’ Co-ordinator is not just about going out on the streets on a Friday and a Saturday night, it’s all the work that goes on behind the scenes that no-one sees.
“It includes the recruitment of new pastors, arranging their training, the buying and organising of equipment and, most of all, keeping them motivated all year round.”
“Tom has also been out to schools to talk to young people about the role of a Street Pastor. I can’t thank him enough for what he has brought to the role. He has been dedicated and is a unique individual who will be sorely missed,” added Marion.
LSP Chair Audrey Beverley said: “We are very grateful for Tom’s work with the LSPs. He has been a great asset to the organisation. We wish him well in his future in teaching.
“We are hoping to have Tom’s replacement in post very shortly.”