In the afternoon I met my wife Jean for lunch along with Laura from HYP (Helping Young People). HYP is a project in Halifax that meets young people in the places they hang out in the town centre. It was good to catch up on the work Laura and her team are doing.
Following lunch we had a walk round the Piece Hall craft market and a chance to chat to a few people about the work of Street Angels. After a bit more shopping we set off home via dropping off a duck won by a family in the duck race photo competition (Where Is The Duck?)
After dinner and an hour in front of the TV Paul and Jean went to Power Praise, a monthly night of worship in Halifax YMCA. Paul shared about the ongoing work of SA-CNI and how Christians are making such a difference in local towns that police are reporting drops in crime and anti social behaviour - the challenge is to make the first step and see what God will do with your life...
Paul and Jean then spent an hour with the Halifax Street Angels on a quiet bonfire night - meeting new volunteers and encouraging those who invest a Saturday night towards a better town centre. After a quick walk round town and a catch up with some of the PCSO's it was home to bed - well after a quick catch up on Facebook and Twitter!!!
An afternoon of eating, walking and relaxing with an hour of getting prepared for an early start on Monday for Townstock!
This month people in my local area are encouraged to join #CalderdalePhotoADay - taking a daily photo to celebrate the local area - some of these pictures are part of that...
Paul was speaking at a workshop, "Local National Networks: Initiatives you can take to your town". Paul shared the Street Angels story and video and about the impact that is seen when communities join together, take action and do something. He spoke about the reduced crime and anti-social behaviour which seems to be a hallmark of initiatives such as Street Angels and then the role CNI Network plays in supporting and resourcing new and existing projects. Following questions he then handed over to Gemma Collins from 3VTV and Jack Skillen from Living Streets.
The rest of the day was an inspirational mix of social activists who have made a massive difference, including Pam Warhurst from Incredible Edible and Dan Thompson, the man behind the #riotcleanup campaign. The afternoon finished with the launch of the Totally Locally town campaign kit.
It was great to meet many people who have a heart for local communities and to speak to several who were inspired to talk to local churches and look at launching a Street Angels project in their town.
You can see tweets from the day on our Twitter updates! After a glass of wine in one of Dean Clough's art galleries, Jean and Paul set off home for an evening of watching fireworks in the valley!
The second day of Townstock was the more meaty of the two with input from vinspired, large chain supermarkets, local authority, Portas Pilot schemes and New Start Magazine to name a few.
Nonetheless it was still an inspirational day and a great opportunity to network with an amazing group of people. Paul was inspired to set up a page on our web site, "NIGHTSTOCK" which will be an A-Z of great ideas for changing your community hub at night. With great ideas shared over the day such as Night Markets, shops opening until 8pm with family fun activities and lantern parades Paul hopes this resource will further add to the regeneration of communities at night (more details soon!)
After the conference Paul and Jean went out for a meal before coming home to catch up with email and social media and a relaxing evening with a DVD!
On returning home Paul was praying about the day and the reasons behind Street Angels - CNI Network, especially as we approach our eight year anniversary, and felt inspired to write the following with Jean:
Seven years ago we saw a need - the issues and problems in our towns night-time economy. Drunkenness, violence, binge drinking, sexual assaults made our town a no go zone.
Encouraged by the town's churches and police we gave it a go! Taking our Christian faith out of the church and onto the streets at a time when it was needed. Not to preach but to love, to help, to care, to spread hope and joy. The police said others had talked about the problems but they knew the church could deliver!
Praise God it worked! Violent crime reduced, sexual assaults reduced, our town going from binge to better. Why? Because people who care went and cared, people who prayed started to pray for our town at night, people and agencies worked together for the common good!
With seven years, 120 towns, various awards and accolades under our belt Street Angels shows that when we commit to demonstrate God's Kingdom as a reality the results are amazing!
This last seven years isn't about a good idea or another project - it was a God idea. We launched because Jesus cares about people, he loves people and is for people - he cares passionately about those in our town on weekend evenings and calls us to do the same.
Street Angels is a Christian project working with and for the community - without the Jesus aspect it is simply a few people in yellow jackets wandering round town!
Thank you to all who have been part of the seven year journey - in Halifax and beyond. To every person we have helped - thank you for letting us help you! To every volunteer - thank you for all you have invested. To every other local project - it is great to have helped you in some way. To those who have contributed to help make Street Angels happen - thank you for your part.
The biggest thanks is to Jesus for the idea, the inspiration, the volunteers, the changes and the accolades...
After posting this on Facebook, Paul and Jean set off to Manchester for a meal with Rebekah and Carl Brettle. Rebekah is the founder of Neighbourhood Prayer Network and author of the book "Neighbours Transform Your Street!" and Carl is a Director of UCB. It was a lovely evening, over dinner, to strengthen our friendship and to pray together and chat about future links and partnerships with the various ministries.
Following lunch and a catch-up Paul took the afternoon off to visit the hospital (follow-up from a broken wrist) and family.
In the evening Paul was at the Halifax YMCA board meeting (Paul is a one of the trustees) before a quick catch up over hot chocolate in McDonalds with Trevor Bendrien - the chair of Street Angels - CNI Network.
I also worked on the NightStock concept and designed the above logo and made a start on our A-Z of great ideas as well as made a start on my November article for the Big Bible Project Digi Disciple.
In the evening it was the re-launch of the FGBMFI dinner evenings in Halifax so Paul and Jean had an enjoyable evening with some speakers from Hull who spoke about the Street Angels in the city and Princes Avenue and the fantastic media coverage and reputation they have locally.
The end of a busy week.... :-)