Lincoln now has a team of 46 Street Pastors and 25 Prayer Pastors supporting the city’s night-time economy.
In the run-up to Christmas, 12 new street pastors were formally commissioned and are now doing their bit on the city’s streets. The Lincoln pastors are drawn from 31 different churches across the city.
The “newbies” were welcomed by former Street Pastors’ Co-ordinator Joy Liddle – who handed over the reins to Tom Wiley on January 1 – although she is staying on as a Director.
At the commissioning service Joy thanked the new street pastors’ families for letting their loved ones join the team and become one of 11,000 people currently doing that work across Britain.
“When you are out on the streets, the one question you will be asked over and over again is: What is a street pastor? When we first started, we used to say a street pastor is an alfresco Italian dining experience, but for some reason that never quite caught on! But the word “pastor” simply means someone who cares, said Joy.
“Our main role is to care, listen, support and help vulnerable people. Teams go out into Lincoln city centre every Friday and Saturday night, from 10.30pm until 3.45am the next morning,” said Joy.
The street pastors team in Lincoln was established in October 2007 and its members have chalked up well over 600 shifts.
“In 2015 alone, we completed more than 82 shifts, equating to just over 2,000 volunteer hours,” said Joy
- The pastors carry flip-flops, to hand out to young girls who may leave nightclubs, kick-off their shoes and inadvertently step on broken glass or other debris. More than 159 pairs were given out last year.
- People who get separated from their friends can be very vulnerable. so may be escorted to a taxi rank, or offered support until a friend collects them to go home.
- A pastor may offer basic first aid or call an ambulance, if necessary.
- Pastors carry bottles of water to give to revellers needing to sober up – last year they handed out at least 428.
- During 2015, the pastors also gave out 102 space blankets to people needing extra warmth or extra cover at the end of their night out.
- Last year the Pastors also picked up 1,838 bottles which has been left lying in the streets.
“It is an incredible privilege to be a street pastor, meeting people at their point of need and helping them to stay safe on their night out,” added Joy.
Lincoln BIG Evening Economy Manager Marion Cooney said: “I want to thank Joy for the great job she has done over the past eight years. It is great that she is still going to be involved with the street pastors.”