Reading’s nighttime economy received a boost last month – a new team of Street Pastors was formally commissioned.
A total of 15 new volunteers are now going out on the streets after completing their training and being dedicated at the Reading Street Pastors second anniversary service.
Held on Saturday, February 11 at the Reading Central Salvation Army, the evening was an opportunity to look back over the work carried out thus far as well as looking ahead.
Along with the testimonies and commissioning, people were able to pray for the team as they face the year ahead.
Reading Street Pastors launched in February 2009 and sees volunteers from a range of churches across the area walk the streets of Reading on Friday and Saturday evening.
The pastors meet with late night revellers coming out of pubs and clubs, offering appropriate help and support.
This could be offering flip flops to help women walk home after dancing in their stilettoes all night, giving lollipops to help reduce the effects of alcohol or helping people who have been left in a vulnerable position or a distressed state.
The team are normally on the streets from 10pm to 3am on a Friday and Saturday night.
“Reading town centre is a popular destination for party goers at the weekend, attracting thousands from all over the area,” says Matt Hearn, coordinator for Reading Street Pastors.
“With many bars, pubs and late night venues, Reading becomes a very busy town especially during term time with its big university and influx of students.
“The need for Street Pastors to be out and about the town centre late at night is big.”
The extra volunteers, who have undergone a training programme, will help the pastors be more effective as they attempt to help Reading pubgoers.
“We’re delighted that these new volunteers have got involved,” said Matt. “They will make a real difference to our work.
“We’re always after new volunteers though – if you’d like to help, please get in touch.”
Reading Street Pastors works with the RBC Safer Reading Forum, the local Pubwatch group and Thames Valley Police.
More than 25 churches from Reading are involved in Street Pastors.
For more details, or to find out more about volunteering, call Matt Hearn on 0753 3325 504 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The group’s website is www.streetpastors.co.uk.