AN appeal has gone out for more Street Angels to help patrol the city’s streets on weekend evenings.
The scheme was set up in 2008 and relies on the generosity of the public and churches to provide volunteers to help keep people safe on nights out.
Generally 12 volunteers are needed each weekend so that two groups of three can patrol on Friday and Saturday evenings.
But some evenings only three people come forward, so there can only be one patrol.
“Even if someone could just volunteer once a month that would be a great help and they don’t need to be athletic. We walk at a leisurely pace and have volunteers in their 70s,” said the Street Angels’ treasurer Nick Clews.
“It is immensely rewarding to know you are helping people. We look after people who are distressed or drunk sometimes. We also look out for the homeless and vulnerable. We don’t get involved in breaking up fights but on occasion do ring the police,” he added.
“The most danger we get ourselves in is being hugged. You’d be surprised how many people come up to us and want to give us a hug.”
The charity works closely with West Yorkshire Police, ambulance service, CCTV operators and door staff at pubs and clubs and are a high profile presence that helps to keep people safe when they are on a night out in Bradford city centre.
They have also helped reduce crime and incidents. In their first six months violent crime in the city centre fell by 22 per cent, with a 60 per cent reduction in robberies and an 80 per cent reduction in common assault.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Geoff Reid and his wife, Chris, recently joined the Angels on patrol to find out more about their work.
They were joined by Reverend Sarah Jemison, the Lord mayor’s chaplain and the Lord Mayor’s officer, Paul Greed.
“We had a really enjoyable evening and saw the good work the Street Angels do. The evening was particularly quiet but we did have a walk to the Interchange and around the Alhambra and up to North Parade where most of the revelry was taking place,” Cllr Reid said.
“The Street Angels spoke to four different people on the way round. It is clear they are appreciated as there was a lot of waving as they were recognised. They are certainly doing a great job.”
Since its launch, volunteers have walked more than 250,000 miles and have dedicated more than 9,000 hours to keep people safe on the city’s streets.
For more information, visit bradfordstreetangels.org.uk.