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 Reading@streetpastors.org.uk Our Next training schedule is in March!