CNI Network is one of the official charities part of #UKCharityWeek running from 3rd - 9th December. More details are in the latest newsletter - click here.
Media Release - Angels watching over Christmas revellers:
Volunteers across the UK are gearing up for Christmas street patrols with an aim to helping people have a SafeNightOut.party this festive season.
Teams of Street Angels and Club Angels will be out and about in over 100 towns and cities across the UK as the Christmas party season gets underway.
The high-vis wearing teams will have rucksacks with various items including flip-flops and plasters for blistered feet, lollipops that help prevent aggression and noise, bottles of water to rehydrate people and foil blankets to stop people suffering the effects of hypothermia. The teams will also be on hand to help people relocate friends, give directions to the next pub or club and locate a taxi or Uber to get people home safely.
Paul Blakey MBE, who founded Street Angels in November 2005 and now heads up CNI (Christian Nightlife Initiatives) Network, says, "December is one of the busiest times of the year as people head out on works night-outs or for a catch up with friends. Many of the people we see in December only go out on the town late at night once or twice a year and our volunteer teams will be on hand to help ensure people have a fun and safe night."
The teams will also be sharing SafeNightOut.party advice on social media to act as a reminder to people to take care of themselves and friends. This advice includes:
Ladies - carry a pair of slip-on shoes in your handbag so that when your high-heels are no longer comfortable you don't need to walk bare-foot.
Always stay with your friends, don’t go off alone, have their contact information on you somewhere other than your phone and over a big dinner before hand try to think about your drinking limits for the night and stick to them!
Always eat before a night out – never drink on an empty stomach. Get a takeaway before you go home - don't start cooking once you get home especially in a chip pan!
Know what you are drinking so you can know how much you have had. This will also help you and your friends know if you have been spiked because you have kept account of your alcohol intake. Mix alcohol with soft drinks or water and don't leave your drink unattended.
Pick a venue that's right for you – if you feel out of place, leave! Most fights start over something minor – someone knocks you, spill your drink – apologise! Don’t get involved in breaking up a fight – that’s the job of the door-staff! Someone pestering you – try and ignore them and if that doesn’t work ask the bar or door staff to help you. Look out for your friends – make sure they are safe.
Keep your taxi money in another part of your handbag/wallet so you don’t spend it. Always sit in the back of a taxi if you’re travelling by yourself. Take a photo of your taxi drivers ID and text it to a friend.
For more information on the work of Street and Club Angels visit the CNI Network website at www.cninetwork.org
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For radio interviews please contact Paul on 07725501465 / email@example.com
Street Angels in Leeds assisting a young lady to a taxi after a night-out last Christmas
As winter sets in and temperatures plunge, most of us are turning up our heating and throwing an extra duvet on the bed in order to stay warm. But on any single night in Blackpool there are no such choices for the dozen or so people who find themselves sleeping on the streets.
Having no roof over your head is a grim way to live at any time of year, but especially during the coldest months.
All local authorities must carry out single night snapshot street counts to gain a picture of how many people are bedding down outside.
Most towns do these in October, but Blackpool waits until November when the Illuminations have finished in order to gain a truer account. This year’s rough sleeper figure for the resort is 12, compared to 13 in 2017 and 11 in 2016.
Thankfully for those who do find themselves at rock bottom, there is a wide support network in Blackpool looking out for them. Agencies ranging from the council and the police to charities and community volunteers work together. Here we speak to some of those involved.
On the front line - Chris Holden works for Blackpool Council’s housing options team, specifically around rough sleeping. His team helps carry out the annual head count, but is also out on the streets year-round offering support. He said: “We rely on intelligence from other services such as The Bridge at the Salvation Army and Street Angels to find rough sleepers.
“One day we might target the town centre where toilets are a hotspot, another day we could go as far as North Shore and South Shore.
“We go out early in the morning, with someone from the council paired with someone from one of our partner organisations. “Sometimes with certain individuals it’s a Rubik’s Cube. You might not get it right on the day but over time you put together what is the best way to support someone.”
First port of call - Charities including The Bridge project at the Salvation Army Citadel and Street Angels provide a lifeline for many rough sleepers – including those who choose to live on the streets instead of between four walls.
For some of these people, a conversation with a Street Angel and a cup of tea or coffee is the first help they get.
Paul Rawson, manager of Street Angels, said: “Some people have so many complex needs that they can’t live in accommodation. “You give them a set of keys to a flat and you’re just giving them a whole set of new problems.
“We can’t give them 24/7 care and if a bill drops through the door, they can’t cope.
“Some would rather be on the streets, and sometimes someone gets accommodation and within days or weeks they are back on the streets again.”
The Bridge project offers vulnerable people practical help ranging from warm meals, toiletry packs and showers as well as sign-posting them to emergency accommodation where necessary.
Programme manager Beverley Taylor said: “If anyone comes to us as a rough sleeper we steer them in the right direction, but a lot of our work is around prevention of homelessness.
“For example a lot of people have problems with their accommodation or with Universal Credit. “Sometimes people don’t want to engage and then suddenly they will, but under their own terms. We have had people like that who have been on the streets a long time.”
In an emergency Blackpool Council has two emergencies shelters at Elm House and Vincent House. During severe weather conditions, when temperatures fall below freezing for three consecutive nights, additional accommodation is opened. This is the most basic of facilities, with sleeping bags and mattresses laid out on the floor so people have somewhere warm to go in order to prevent deaths on the street.
This winter it will be provided at St John’s Church following the closure of North Shore Methodist Church, which previously met the need. Streetlife also operates a shelter for 16 to 25-year-olds. It has eight beds and average occupancy of 70 per cent. In addition, the charity supports around 20 young people each day at its centre on Buchanan Street. These might be youngsters who are sofa surfing or still getting to grips with living as a grown up.
Streetlife chief executive Jane Hugo said: “Most young people who come to us have had some kind of trauma in their lives. “This can be family breakdown or mental health issues. We had one young lad who came to us after he had been picked up off the beach. “He had tried to kill himself twice in one week. But with the support we have been able to give him, his life now looks brighter.”
The charity was recently featured on a BBC documentary presented by broadcaster Stacey Dooley who followed the life of 18-year-old Josh. He became homeless after his mum asked him to leave when she took up with a new boyfriend. Getting a permanent home Blackpool Council’s Housing Options teams handle up to 3,000 people a year in need of support. Its role ranges from advice to preventing homelessness among people who might be in danger of eviction, to providing emergency accommodation for those without a bed for the night. Work also includes supporting tenancies and rent advice. In the longer term, staff can point people towards permanent accommodation.
Coun Christine Wright, cabinet member for housing, said: “The council is part of the Homeless Partnership which is doing a lot to support people. “I joined the rough sleepers count and we found two people on a mattress, and a couple in a tent.
“They were known to the Housing Options team so they were asked to come in to get help.
“It was enlightening to see how this is being dealt with on the frontline. “It’s sad to see people in this kind of situation but I fully believe our teams in Blackpool are doing the best they can, and it’s not just about a roof over their heads, it’s about providing wider support as well.”
Well done to the 44 Guildford Street and Community Angel volunteers who bravely climbed Guildford Cathedral tower to raise money for the 10th Anniversary Appeal: ‘Be an Angel’. In total the team had an aim to clock up at least 50,000 steps. This figure represents the number of people the Guildford Street Angels have helped in their first 10 years of operation, and the number of bottles which have been picked up in the same period! We are delighted to announce that the team collectively achieved 200 ascents (over 100,000 steps) in the time available, spurred on by so much support from far and wide. With huge thanks to the fabulous team of people who took part and our generous sponsors.
Rod Boreham clocked up the greatest number of ascents (13) and Rachel Guilford was the fastest (3 minutes and 34 seconds- congratulations to all the Guildford climbers.
Source (including video)
Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire Police and partners are putting additional resources into the town centre over the festive period
There will be more police, street angels and street marshalls in Huddersfield town centre this Christmas.
Kirklees Council and partners has launched the A Safer Kirklees, A Safer Christmas scheme to ensure shoppers, revellers and families enjoy the festive period safely.
The scheme is being rolled out in Kirklees town centres and will see extra resources deployed by West Yorkshire Police, Pub Watch, Huddersfield Partnership and Street Angels during December.
Safer Kirklees is also providing Street Marshalls, working with door staff, licensees and town centre police officers, who will be in Huddersfield town centre every Friday and Saturday night during December.
Clr Naheed Mather, Kirklees Council's portfolio holder for communities and environment, said: " The council is committed to providing a friendly and inviting place to celebrate the festive period for all. Our continued investment into our partnerships, collaboration and joint commitment means everyone can enjoy what’s on offer this winter."
Clr Peter McBride, Kirklees Council's portfolio holder for economy, said: " There’s lots on offer this Christmas and we want everyone to come into the town centres and enjoy themselves safely with the knowledge there is plenty of support for those in need on our streets.”
Mark Hollingsworth, Chair of the Huddersfield Pubwatch Scheme, added: “We’ve invested in making Huddersfield a place to come and socialise. With our pub-to-pub radio systems, information sharing with our partners such as the police and well-trained staff, we’re looking forward to a fun and safe Christmas across the pubs, bars and restaurants of Huddersfield.”
Dianne Hughes, coordinator for Huddersfield Street Angels, said: “We’ll be providing a reassuring presence on the streets throughout the Christmas period, including late night shopping times. We’re well received by those out to socialise and those working across Huddersfield’s night time economy.
"We’re here as a friendly face, a helping hand and to keep an eye out for the vulnerable too. As volunteers we are always looking for people to join us and help make our town a friendly, safe place to be.”
A ‘Night of Action’ by the Safer Kirklees partnership will be delivered in December. Teams from Kirklees Council’s licensing teams and West Yorkshire Police will be ensuring that taxis, licensed premises and venues are both safe and compliant.
The Safer Kirklees, Safer Christmas initiative will also be providing guidance to residents throughout December via social media using #SaferKirkleesSaferChristmas.
We are delighted when we hear about the unity of the church being expressed in loving action. Watford is a great example of long term commitment and care by a unified church taking action to bless the heart of the community they are in. Frances Novillo is Lead Chaplain for the Town Centre Chaplaincy and he has been kind enough to share with us some of the amazing things that are happening through their great work.
Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy is one of 33 town and city centre chaplaincies affiliated to the Alliance of Town and City Chaplaincies, and we run two core projects through which Christians from different churches come together to express the love of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in practical and pastoral ways to the local community, that is, everyone who lives, works, shops or socialises here in Watford town centre.
Our Street Angels go out and about overnight at the weekends in the ‘party area’ of the town, around the clubs and late-opening bars. They greet everyone they meet, and are always on the look-out for anyone who might be in need. They aim to help everyone have a safe and enjoyable night out, so for example, they listen to anyone who is feeling lonely or upset, help people find taxi ranks or recharge their mobile phones so they can make a call and reunite with friends or get home safely, they signpost people in particular need to specialist sources of support (we have good links with our local homelessness charity, New Hope, for example), they sit with people waiting for an ambulance, provide slippers for people who can’t walk in uncomfortable high heels anymore, and foil blankets for people who are cold. Street Angels operate in teams, and while one Street Angel is helping someone, others stand nearby praying for them. We are willing to pray with people we meet who ask about our faith, and carry Bibles to share the Word of God if people ask us to witness to our faith, and to encourage one another. We enjoy great working relationships with bar staff, security, police, the council and BID, who recognise the difference our ministry has made to reducing crime and making the town centre a calmer and more pleasant place to be overnight.
Our daytime Chaplains visit people at work in local businesses, gradually building up a relationship of trust by saying hello and showing an interest in people’s work, so that whenever someone experiences struggles at work or home, they know they can turn to their Chaplain for pastoral care. People talk to our Chaplains about their relationships, their health, bereavement, the future, work pressure, and sometimes matters of faith, for example, where they can pray during the working day, what the local churches are like, and the meaning of Bible stories they’ve heard. We contribute to employers’ well-being services, complementing provision such as counselling, unions, and occupational health.
Watford town centre’s intu shopping mall has just completed a huge extension and new stores are opening every week, so we’re recruiting more volunteers to serve them and their customers. It looks like we’ll need to double the size of our Street Angel teams as entertainment outlets (including a cinema and bowling alley, and associated restaurants), some of which are licensed, move into the intu extension. And we’re looking for up to 20 new Chaplains to link up with our local retailers – could you or someone you know offer a listening ear to shop employees? There’s a simple application process as part of which we ask for a reference from your church leader, and induction with our Lead Chaplain, with ongoing supervision and training provided. We are supported by individual donors, and donations from churches, and by a network of prayer supporters.
To find out more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org / 01923 227700
PLANS for good Samaritans to patrol the streets of Oswestry and offer a helping hand to vulnerable revellers are becoming reality.
Tony Durnell, of Oswestry Street Angels, said that the group is in talks with Shropshire Council for a town centre base.
Co-founder Tony Durnell said: "No matter how many people there are helping it always take time and effort to do it right, no more so than our Oswestry Street Angels project that is slowly but surely becoming a reality.
"Shropshire Council are in talks with us at this moment regarding finding us a town centre base, that we will use as a ‘safe place’ on patrol, also a place where we can either request taxis, parents or friends to help get the most vulnerable home in a safe and proper manner."
Mr Durnell and Glen Perkins – also part of Shropshire Street Angels –formed the group after discussions with the Oswestry Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team and John Campion, police and crime Commissioner for West Mercia.
Mr Durnell added that a Mothers Union group near Oswestry will for goods that to run the operation
We have been advised to writ to the Mayor of Oswestry to see if the Town Council might find some cash to help such as a start up grant..
Mr Durnell added: “We still need more people to come forward and give us approximately six to seven hours on a Saturday night, one Saturday per month.
"We are looking to try and recruit 20, they have to be eighteen years or above, we do not ask if they are male or female, we do not ask what faith they have or not but we do have to have everyone checked by the DBS.
"What matters is that you want to do something within the community to help your community to be a safer place to live, work and be entertained in."
The groups says that Mr Campion backs the Oswestry Street Angels fully and has offered any help needed to make it a success.
"He has also ring fenced a sum of money to help cover some of our start up expenses that will be managed by his local community ambassador, Graham Oliver," Mr Durnell added.
Both Tony and Glen hope that the Churches Together in Oswestry will become part of the partnership.
Anyone interested in the Street Angels project can call 01743 360 593 or email email@example.com
A warm welcome was given to the new Guildford Chaplains, Street and Community Angels at a commissioning and dedication service at St Mary's Church on Sunday 4th Nov in Guildford. Amongst the guests were local MP Anne Milton, Deputy Mayor, Richard Billington and representatives of Guildford Police. Rod Boreham GTCC Chaplain led the service with contributions from Fiona Ford, Rachel Guilford and Rev Andrew Wheeler gave the address. After the service over 100 volunteers and guests enjoyed cakes and other refreshments together.
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