Mean streets get friendlier

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The local Street Pastor organisation is swelling in numbers, with ten new volunteers being commissioned last Friday, November 7, at Blacklands Church in Hastings.

The Rye and Camber Street Pastors went on their first shift at the beginning of May. They patrol as mixed teams of men and woman, working every other Friday night in Camber between 8:15pm and 1am, and every other Saturday night in Rye, from 9:15pm until 3:30am.

The 12 Street Pastors are supported by a team of five Prayer Pastors who work the same shifts based in Camber Church and Rye Baptists on Cinque Ports Street.

The aim of the Street Pastors is to help the vulnerable and act as a good neighbour. As well as helping people get home safely, providing water and sweets to night owls, and flip flops to those suffering from high heel fatigue, the group is also looking for other ways to provide practical assistance.

The new Street Pastors commissioned last week were Frances Catt, Chris Emson, Zenaida Navarro Mohammed, Joy Toft and Brenda Snashall (pictured above) and the new Prayer Pastors are Debbie Perfitt, Larry Hayhurst, James Laidler, Molly Saunders, Tim Ruck and Sandra Lanigan (pictured below).

Nizam Mohammed, who is the co-ordinator of the Rye and District Street Pastor group, said that people getting transport home can be a real problem. Nizam added : “We are trying to work with the hotels and bed and breakfasts in the vicinity, seeking assistance with accommodation when we have no trains.

“Last Saturday we had a lad who had to get back to Eastbourne, but the cheapest taxi was in excess of £100. The hotels in Rye are expensive. I am trying to see if we can get discounted rates for revellers who miss the train”. Nizam also offered special thanks to Jempsons and Skinners for their ongoing support.

Rye and Camber's prayer pastors
Rye and Camber’s prayer pastors

Growing demand for their services means that more Prayor Pastors are needed (to provide back-up to those on the street), particularly in Camber. Pastors are drawn from all Christian denominations under the Rye Churches Together group. If you are interested in finding out more, contact your local church.

Volunteers are given extensive training to prepare them for the problems they may face on the streets, including mental health challenges, suicide and drug and alcohol issues. The next course starts at Camber Church on 16 April for 10 weeks.

Nizam is expecting a busy evening on Bonfire Night, November 14. The Street Pastors will have three teams of five people each, looking out for people who need help. If you see them, give them a wave.

 

 

Photos: Bruce Wick

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