Many believe that the soul of bad boy resort Magaluf is beyond repair and yet a group of fearless volunteers are willing to put their faith to the test to prove otherwise.
This week Street Angels, a UK based Christian initiative, launched a pilot scheme in the neighbourhood of Santa Ponsa, Majorca with the blessing of the local police force. Every Friday and Saturday night a group of 24 volunteers, employing Christian principles, will now patrol the streets of the resort in high visibility jackets offering counselling to those in need.
The idea is to extend the voluntary service to the resort of Magaluf during the summer. In the largely peaceful British enclave of Santa Ponsa the volunteers are unlikely to come across too many youths in an inebriated state, engaged in scuffles or seeking medical aid but its nearby badly behaved big brother, Magaluf is a different matter entirely.
Although unruly behaviour, fights, uncontrolled prostitution rings, binge drinking and one too many fatal falls from hotel balconies seem to be hallmarks of the resort, local Street Angels coordinator, Cameron Springthorpe, appears unperturbed. A Christian yacht skipper with a desire to make Majorca’s holiday resorts a safer and better experience for tourists and residents alike, Mr Springthorpe is confident that his team will make a difference. ‘After all,’ he told me, ‘Didn’t Jesus walk among prostitutes and tax collectors?’ Hopefully he’ll only find prostitutes in Magaluf.
Street Angels is the brainchild of Paul and Jean Blakey who began the scheme in Halifax in 2005, reducing violent crime, assaults and anti-social behaviour by fifty seven per cent in the city centre alone. The campaign has been rolled out successfully in more than 100 towns across the UK, although Majorca is its first overseas project.
It’s easy to suspect that this unpaid troupe of Christian volunteers is just another bible bashing God squad seeking new recruits to the church but Mr Springthorpe is at pains to explain that his group is purely motivated by the simple Christian principle of bringing love and humanity to the streets.
Already the new English and Spanish volunteers have had one success, talking a group of sozzled youths out of taking a midnight dip which could have had dire consequences. One can only imagine that local police officers will view the group’s positive intervention as manna from heaven and if the project – which has so far attracted nothing but praise – continues to receive the thumbs up from both local authorities and police forces on the island, it is likely to be used as a blueprint for other overseas tourist destinations.
As the summer season hots up, new volunteers are being sought to swell Street Angels’ ranks. All are welcome and luminous jackets will be provided. Still, for those brave souls embarking on a voluntary night’s tour of Magaluf it might be worth coaxing their own guardian angels to tag along.
Find out more about Anna Nicholas here or follow her on Twitter @MajorcanPearls