Street Pastors

Photo of Dave Brewer going out on a Saturday night

Street Pastors from several Trowbridge churches minister to people in the town on Saturday  nights. There is a team of volunteers and people take turns in going out once or twice a month. They meet at St Thomas' church at 10pm to pray and prepare themselves for up to five hours of being available to help those in need in the town centre.

The impetus to start Street Pastors in Trowbridge originated with Lee Daniell. Lee, who at one time was a homeless alcoholic and who regularly prayer-walks the town, saw a TV programme on Street Pastors and felt that the Lord was laying it on his heart to get the work started in Trowbridge. After researching further, he approached his church leadership, who in turn took it to CATA, an umbrella forum for churches in the Trowbridge area. The response was positive from several churches and after people received training the team was formed.

The ministry throughout the country is an inter-denominational Church response to urban problems, engaging with people on the streets to care, listen and dialogue. It was pioneered in London in January 2003 by Rev Les Isaac, Director of the Ascension Trust, and has seen some remarkable results, including drops in crime in areas where teams have been working.

Nick Boddy, a church worker in his fifties and a street pastor of three years standing in Sutton describes the role of the street pastors "We find little ways of making people's evening better – even if it's just having a chat. When there is a fracas, we don't intervene, but we stand back and pray or call the police if it is really serious. Then we help calm the fears of the people around us who are frightened by the fight."

Frank Soodeen, of the pressure group Alcohol Concern, has nothing but praise for the street pastors. "The work they do certainly helps – getting people out of clubs, onto buses and into taxis is really important when they are drunk and putting themselves at risk," he says.