THEY’RE the guardian angels of the city.
While partygoers are painting the town red, Southampton’s Street Pastors are patrolling the streets and making sure people get home safely.
Now the volunteer co-ordinators will be expanding their programme from the city’s bars and clubs and working with children on their way to and from school.
They hope the new schools programme will promote a renewed sense of community.
Street Pastors have been patrolling Southampton’s busy night scene since 2009, giving practical assistance to whoever may need it.
And since February the city council and Street Pastors have been piloting a scheme at schools including Cantell Maths and Computing College.
Providing reassurance, safety and support, they have become a friendly face for children on their way to and from school.
Head teacher Ruth Evans said: “Street Pastors is a wonderful initiative helping the school to extend its support and care for students beyond the school gates and into our local community.
“It gives our young people access to more adults who can offer help and advice, which is brilliant.”
The city council and police have also asked the Street pastors to patrol other areas during the early evening, working specifically with young people and the community.
Street pastors met with community leaders yesterday to reaffirm their commitment to safety in the community.
And a new document setting out safety guidelines for the street pastors was signed by Superintendent Steve France-Sargeant and Jane Fisher, chairman of Southampton Street Pastors in front of the mayor Councillor Derek Burke and founder of the street pastors, the Reverend Les Isaac.
Mandy Harding, Southampton Street Pastors youth and community coordinator said: “Our work in the night time has mostly been dealing with problems. What’s exciting about youth and community work is that it highlights the good in our city, and we have seen how readily community cohesion can be enhanced.
“People seem to be reassured by our presence and our listening, caring and helping approach."
- The branch is now seeking new volunteers to join them as they expand their service into communities. See southampton streetpastors.org for full details.