Street Angels - Christian Nightlife Initiatives held its first Annual General Meeting tonight at the King's Centre, Halifax. The meeting, with invited guest the Deputy Mayor of Calerdale, Councillor Peter Wardhaugh, brought together volunteers from Halifax Street Angels, Stockton Town Pastors, along with supporters and partners from various organisations.
The evening concluded a day when Street Angels had been in the media celebrating that over the five years life of the scheme Halifax town centre had seen a reduction of 57% in violent crime. The two workers for Street Angels - CNI had also attended a lunch hosted by the High Sheriff of West Yorkshire in Leeds where the High Sheriff spoke of his experiences as a Street Angel in Halifax the previous weekend.
The Annual General Meeting had two presentations celebrating the work that Halifax Street Angels and Christian Nightlife Initiatives (CNI) achieved in its first year as a registered charity. Tributes were paid to the significant number of fantastic volunteers who give up freely their weekend to patrol their local area and to those who helped make the Big Response Day in February 2011 attended by 400 people from across the UK, and various other projects and events happen. Nationally, links have been forged between leading organisations, such as HOPE and More Than Gold, major church denominations and Members of Parliament and initiatives launched such as Love Your Streets.
Members from Halifax Street Angels were invited to share their thoughts on the value of volunteering; many of those citing the need to make the difference in their local communities.
Celebrating all that been achieved, the vision for the future was unveiled. It was agreed that given the public creditability of both Halifax Street Angels and CNI in their own right, that the two strands of work would become independent charities with their own trustees. Adam May, the Director of Development of CNI in presenting this vision thanked the willingness and commitment of Halifax Street Angels for their collective part in being the 'flag project' to bring the wider network into being and sustaining it in the early years. Halifax Street Angels will continue its strong commitment to serve the people of Calerdale whereas CNI looks at nationally telling the story of the 100 projects within the network. Plans for CNI include a drinks reception in the House of Parliament later this summer, developing its commitment to Love Your Streets and More Than Gold.
As part of this transition, it was agreed that Paul Blakey MBE, the Founder of Halifax Street Angels and Christian Nightlife Initiatives would be released to work full time in the development of the CNI network with lesser commitment to Halifax Street Angels.
Paul Blakey MBE speaking of this exciting future said: "Its fantastic to see that the good idea of a local project here in Halifax has become a national example. The news of a massive reduction of 57% in violent crime today is a testimony to the volunteers who work alongside the project; they are the great news we are called to celebrate. Volunteers in towns and cities across the UK are contributing to similar results and CNI will help tell this amazing story more effectively. CNI and local projects are helping create a culture from binge to better which is helping make our towns more vibrant places - we want more of this and this new direction will help this to be reality".