Thursday, 17 December 2009

A little update...

Street Pastors continue to to pound the streets of Reading with unwavering commitment, dedication and wrapped up and some like the Michelin man (no names) without complaints from the freezing cold weather...continuing to serve the town centre with their friendly smiles, banter and lollipops!! 

The past few weeks we have been able to come along side various people who have found that while talking to us they are revealing things about their lives that they wouldn't normally to a complete stranger, being available for people to chat to and listen to is what street pastors are about.  It's wonderful that people though knowing who we are still able to trust us to share their lives with us, some broken, some in pain, some unsure of the future, some frustrated with work, some feeling trapped, some struggling from serving in Afghanistan and coping with being home, some just struggling to stay warm with nowhere to has been quite humbling to hear some of these stories and trying to bring hope to people where sometimes hope is a far cry away.  

A few stats from the past two months: 
Our volunteer Street Pastors have donated over 340hours to listening, caring and helping those in need.   
Street pastors have engaged with over 320 people.
Have been involved in 15 cases of calming potential aggressive situations.
We have supported 35 people deemed to be vulnerable (i.e. helping lone females and Reading's street population).
We have brushed and picked up 75 glass bottles around Reading Town Centre (meaning 75 less weapons easily available).
The teams have only dealt with 3 minor first-aid incidences. 
We have handed out 4 safety blankets - to help those at risk of hypothermia. 
Given away 29 pairs of flip-flops to girls walking home barefooted - saving them from a potential visit to A&E from a lacerated foot. 
We've handed out over 500+ lollipops, which has been proven to reduce anti-social behaviour by the sugar in the lollipops stabilising the behaviour of people who have been drinking alcohol.

For more information please do contact us at or

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Press Articles....

Check out these related links... 

Sweet Bid to reduce anti-social behaviour

Cold and Wet...but not complaining!

Well first of all there was no rain.... though jolly cold.  We headed off through the market square and on down to the Oracle.  A couple were in a doorway near Debenhams and we promised to grab them a cuppa.... 

We chatted with four security guys in Oracle who had not heard of Street Pastors so a great chance to talk about who we are, what we do and why...... 

Quickly into Starbucks.... after explaining that we wouldn’t do this every week we secured two cups of tea for the couple in the doorway.... so off back to find our couple before it went cold..... but they’d gone! chap busking near Country Casuals and a guy sleeping rough near the Minster were very happy to receive the drinks instead... 

OK let’s talk to some door staff... The Mango staff were upbeat and happy.... the promotion girls on Gunn Street were happy to see us, and yes they could have a lolly.....  All seemed pretty quiet especially as we’re talking the last weekend before the Christmas holidays...

We saw things were getting a bit heated in the doorway of supermarket.... radioed it in ...CCTV had it covered and off we left ...

...midnight so we headed back down Broad Street for a cuppa.  Chatted with the police on Friar Street who tell us it’s all very quiet.   Revolution only had 250 in against a capacity of over 400.  Headed into St Lawrence’s as a mum and son were having an argument....

By now it was heading towards 12.45 starting to rain..... and jolly cold.  Lots of good humoured people around wanting to talk, suck lollies and tell us they appreciate what we do. 

We headed for Gunn Street and then into St Marys Butts.  There was a feeling of tension around the fried chicken place and a couple of guys having a heated discussion.  Keeping a distance again we let the police know.  They moved on to be replaced by three guys having a spit in my face contest... clearly these guys had had a lot to drink so we kept back and kept an eye on them..  

Outside Board Street Mall a chap was asking directions for a hotel from a lone girl..... we told where his hotel was and then persuaded her that calling for a cab would be a great idea.... she was a bit worried about the cost and then two other ladies came along also wanting to go in the same direction..... so three ladies home safely in the same cab and sharing the cost...

Looping back round Broad Street into Gun Street it was now getting very busy.  Now raining hard it was very cold and people waiting for taxis were getting agitated if they didn’t get a cab straight away...

Two girls had become separated from their group who were still in the Turtle, but they’d closed so they couldn’t get in...... gave them a foil blanket as they were freezing in the rain with just strappy tops on...

The door staff on the Turtle were really busy and then the spitting trio turned up causing problems and the tension came down again.   The police were on site and a few guys were taken off in a van..... our spitters were now a duo and still looking for a fight.  More prayer and a bus stop of cold youngsters getting anxious.  We got them singing which seemed to change the atmosphere and whilst they were all still cold and wet.... a little happier. The door man on the Turtle was very impressed.  ‘Did you lot do that?’....... ‘Cool, I’ll remember that one!’

In the taxi chaos we persuaded those that could still walk to move on to Station Road to pick up a cab as there were few free cabs on Gunn Street..... lots of flip flops being handed out and a watchful eye on folks meant they were happy and wanted to chat. "No we don’t preach. Yes we do go to church..... no we don’t get paid....."  it seems Street Pastors are becoming quite a part of the Friday night economy.

Back up St Marys Butts a young lady had lost her friend and was having problems hailing a cab.... we walked with her to the corner with Broad Street praying for a cab and yep one came along..... another little lady safely home.

By now it’s 3am.... time to head back.  Down Friar Street we hear there’s an incident at Subway...... pop our heads in on the way back but all OK, though the door staff asked us to hang around for a second as there’s a shout from McDonalds..... all OK and we move on. 

Outside Q Bar the last remnants of the night are sitting in doorways and deciding how to get home.  All in good humour and wanting to stop bed!

(Thanks Di for your commentary of the evening!) 

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Street Pasty...

You can read Richard McKenzie's blog of last Friday's by clicking here

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Who ya gonna call - Street Pastors...!!

Friday night was definitely what you would call a wet one!! Rain and wind I've not experienced since Uganda days!!

As a team of 7 we split ourselves into two teams and patrolled the different areas of town centre.

The lashing rain and wind didn't stop people descending into the town centre - and our initial thoughts of "this is going to be quiet night" soon evaporated when a group of girls met one of the teams with "look it's those street thingys' Yes we need to do some work on our image - we've also been called street pasta and street pasties...

Again we had a very positive night, a night of good conversations with door staff, punters, police (some complaining they hadn't got there lollipops!). It feels like we are being accepted and trusted by all those out and about - and that our presence is an important one in terms of ensuring people do have a safe and fun time out.

A few incidents that the pastors were able to help out in and intervene - a potential bust up between 3 lads early on in the evening, supporting and chatting to a number of the homeless out on the streets - giving out space blankets to a few to stay warm! Keeping an eye on a domestic that was heating up and stayed until it calmed down. Helping 3 lost new to the area Irish nurses, helping lone ladies to the taxi ranks, keeping them company while they wait to be picked up, helping an epileptic guy to get home safely.

The guys in the CCTV room needed assistance at one of the venues - a guy there was unconscious through too much drink - Who ya gonna call - Street Pastors!! The team found the guy with the police, the SP wrapped him in a space blanket and a SP hat, got his mobile and started calling people to find out where he lived - it was this or the cells for the night - eventually got through to his Dad in Ireland told us he lived with a flat mate - got his address and the police dropped him home! Another satisfied customer probably waking with a big headache!! More flipflops handed out and girls very excited in meeting us as they heard us on the Radio!!

People of Reading are really friendly and thankful to us - people who we have helped in previous weeks coming up to us and thanking us - the Muslim guy from last week thanked us for listening to him and helping him out!!

The more we go out the more friends we are making and the more people are realising who we are and what we are about, the more this happens the more people will trust us feel safer and able to call on us for help and advice!

There are future development opportunities opening up for us - we've been invited to patrol town centre during student nights and some estates around the town!! Watch this space!!

IF your reading this and want to find out more please contact us on Our Next training schedule is in March!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Worried mum - no more...

One of our volunteers (Di) emailed me today saying that she had a conversation with a mum who has a 19 year old daughter who regularly goes out on a Friday.

Her daughter came home a couple of weeks ago and told her that she doesn’t have to worry so much about her not getting home till 4am as there are these ‘great people called Street Pastors who look out for you’.....

Whilst the mum is still a tad on the worried side she was delighted when Di was able to tell her what it’s all about.

Well done are being noticed

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Shofar | Trolleys girls| New beginnings...

So... another night cladding on our uniforms and stepping into the unknown in Reading Town Centre to serve our King and country...the first time for team purple!!

...and in the case of one of our volunteers bringing along her enormous shofar - a what you might ask? This is an instrument that was used to announce processions/ holidays/ wars/ used to describe the awesome noise from the thick cloud at Mount Sinai. From St Laurence's the blast of the shofar sounded over Reading signalled the advent of Jesus over Reading - and Street Pastors fully armed and ready to do God's business.

The night started off slowly, but usually the first half is crucial in continuing to strengthen our partnership and relationship with the door staff and the local police. Once again a warm reception from Door Staff we've not previously met.

Due to a fire alarm going off and prematurely ending the punters night at Reflex (the 80's club), this gave us the opportunity to chat more to those on the street hanging around waiting to see if they can back in again. Some good general chats and making ourselves seen and available for people. While we were hanging around reflex, the other team were chasing down girls in a trolley which CCTV had radioed through and starting to cause trouble and a scene a be potentially dangerous - Street pastors to the rescue!

After our mid-night break I, matt, left the gang to it and went home! Post break, the team ventured out once again with the Police saying you couldn't have timed it better, he’s had a bit too much to drink, he’s Muslim and has life issues. This presented the team with quite a difficult and sensitive situation to handle. The police has called an ambulance to get the guy checked out, the team leader being a local GP, thought he was intoxicated with drugs rather than alcohol, which made things harder to handle. While waiting for the ambulance the guy chatted with the Street Pastors for the best part of an hour, listening and chatting and trying to understand the hugeness of the guys issues. The team decided they had done all they could for the guy, they handed him our Street Pastor card in case he wanted to get back into contact with us. If you are reading this and want more information how you can pray then contact us. The team left the guy with the police supervising him.

The highlight so far for the whole team I believe is that at the very end of their shift as they were grudgingly walking back to St Laurence's from having a good time outside the Purple Turtle on Gun Street, heading back about 3ish due to having less police cover in and around town centre at that time, the team bumped into a guy who was previously a Christian from a local Reading Church 15 years ago!! After the team was talking to him and talking about SP and what they were doing, and finding a little bit about him, they were about to part company and out of the blue he turned around and asked if they could pray for him - the team through prayer and asking if he wanted to pray for anything gently led him back to the Lord - AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!! - please pray for this guy this week!!

Street Pastors I believe is having some real credible impact in the town, still in small ways, but individuals are being impacted by it and quite a few people do thank us for the work we do and recognise what we are trying to do - care, listen and help those in need! All this and we are only been 3 weeks in...

Monday, 26 October 2009

2nd Night out

View one of our volunteers blog for an update:

Richard's Blog

More to follow...

1st Night Out

WOW, what a night!!

Friday night was certainly what you would call exciting! Finally hitting the streets with a little nervousness, excitement, the feeling of the unknown, but sensing God was with us in a very real way!! One of our Prayer Pastors Michael Charles from St. Catherine of Siena Church, wife had a vision for us that we would be going out behind the Sword – the word of truth. We were reminded of the command God gave Joshua to be Bold and Courageous because the Lord your God is with you!

Before we hit the streets we have a briefing from PC Simon Wheeler, Simon bought his whole team with him 8 other PC and PCSO’s all had tea and biscuits at St Laurence’s which was a real encouragement – it wasn’t a them and us mentality which is amazing and the unity and partnership that is growing between us and the police is truly great!

After all the briefings, dishing out the uniforms, the kit and drinking hot chocolate and eating cake, knowing we had a lot of prayer support, we headed out into the night!!

We had a vague route idea of where we were going to go – up Friar st, along station rd, and back round to St L’s then back up Friar Street, West St, St Mary’s Butts, Gun St, along to the Oracle, and back and round to Friar St. This was the kind of route we took-ish!!

There were 7 of us (plus one observer from Our Lady of Peace) we had 3 pairs and I was walking between the pairs. The first part was intentionally greeting the door staff and saying hi to those we passed. All through the night the door staff were really very open and welcoming towards us, talking and chatting very easily. The manager of De Ja Vu actually ran out of the bar and hailed us down to thank us and chat to us (he’s the chair of the Pubwatch group, Bill!). This is another big thing to thank God for – other places inc. Basingstoke have found this very hard and only now a year on they have soften their attitude towards them! This is a great opportunity for us to build good relationships with them!

Our first incident was tending to a girl who had injured her ankle and ensuring she was with good friends and was able to get home ok, chatting to quite a few people through out the night who couldn’t get into the clubs due to being drunk and not believing they were, even those who couldn’t string a sentence together thought they were sober! Trying to help them locate their friends and offering our mobile to do so. Dealing with the aftermath of a punch up outside purple turtle – didn’t get involved but called Echo Tango (CCTV), they were already onto it, hung back and located a group who were a bit traumatized – helped them find a taxi home.

We helped a few lone women through out the evening – ensuring they were ok, with friends or get a taxi, helped one by talking to her to ensure safety from guys pestering her along the Oracle.

The funny incident of the evening was giving my first lollipop away – it was to a guy whose birthday it was, his 21st, he was quite drunk with a friend who was relatively sober, we were outside purple turtle, he dropped his lolly – learnt forward to get it completely lost balance and co-ordination and hit his face on the pavement leaving him with a cut eye and nose – this gave the doorman much amusement and may tease and banter with us on this incident for a while “it was all alright before the street pastors came along!” You’ve been warned!!

The general reception was great, the police not just the town centre team but from the wider team, people were welcoming of us on the whole, a few chats with those interested or sober enough to read our caps and coats led to people thanking us but also wondering why on earth we were out there!