Caring buddies take it to the street

Revellers in Paisley will be in safe hands with eight new Street Pastors having just been commissioned for the area.

The volunteers— including four members from Wallneuk North Church in Abercorn Street—will join the Paisley Street Pastors group on Friday nights, which goes out around town between around 11pm and 4am to offer support to those out and about on the streets.

Street Pastors is an inter-denominational Church response to urban problems, engaging with people on the streets to care, listen and provide support. 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. There are now some 9000 trained volunteers in around 250 teams across the United Kingdom.

Working in the area around New Street, Shuttle Street and Browns Lane, the Paisley team often come across those who need a bit of emotional or practical support during nights out and other vulnerable people.

Anne Gillies, from Wallneuk North Church who is co-ordinator of Paisley Street Pastors said: “Whether it’s a person who’s become separated from their friends or become a bit disorientated during a night out, or someone who is feeling low and would like a friendly ear, we’re there to offer our help. “We can give practical support like helping people to find a taxi or giving them flip-flops to wear if they can’t bear to wear heels any longer. We’re not there to preach to anyone, we just want to be there for people and we actually get a great response! 
“The founder of the programme spoke during the commissioning ceremony and it got us all even more energised about what we are doing – it’s great that the team is growing, too.”

Paisley Street Pastors is a 16-strong group made up of volunteers from all different denominations. All volunteers go through a 12-session training programme set out by the Ascension Trust. The group is managed by Phil Arbon and the Paisley Churches Together team. Paisley Churches Together is a partnership of church leaders from the inter-denominational churches in the area.

Issued  by Jane Hamilton on behalf of Wallneuk North Church
For more information, please contact: Jane Hamilton (07779790541)

Wallneuk North Church members seen here, with their fellow colleagues in The Street Pastors, are:
Anne Gillies (left) Catherine McLeod (sixth left) Annette Turner (ninth left) and extreme right Stuart Denovan