VOLUNTEERS from local churches are now providing a presence on the streets of Newtownabbey at weekends as the Street Pastors scheme gets rolled out across the borough.
Christian volunteers will support the work of the Newtownabbey Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) through providing a greater sense of peace and safety at night in the areas in which they will be operating.
The initiative, which provides practical support to those needing help, has seen crime rates reduce in the other areas in which it operates and is supported by the PSNI. Street Pastors are specially trained to care for others, particularly young people who find themselves in need of help. The scheme is inter-denominational and though run by local churches, pastors are not there to preach but to listen and provide a caring and calming influence.
The scheme currently consists of 36 volunteers from churches across the borough who will work in teams of four to provide a presence in identified areas on Friday and Saturday nights from 8pm - 1am. It has already been successfully introduced into many towns and cities across the UK, with more than 250 teams and 9,000 volunteers in operation.
Areas currently being covered by the scheme include Mayfield, Glengormley town centre, the Diamond in Rathcoole, Mossley rail halt and park and Beverley Shops. Councillor Jim Bingham, Chair of the PCSP commented: “We’re delighted to welcome the Street Pastors to Newtownabbey. These teams will provide valuable assistance in helping keep the borough safe at night and ensuring it remains somewhere for everyone to enjoy.”
Chief Inspector Stephen Reid also welcomed the scheme, adding: “This is an excellent initiative run by local people who want to do something positive for their community. Street Pastors is a tried and tested scheme which works well in other areas. The pastors are independent of the police, but we will work closely together to help make our communities safer for all.”
For more information about the Street Pastors scheme email firstname.lastname@example.org