Street Angels have stepped in to help make Douglas town centre a safer place.
This church-led initiative sends out trained volunteers onto the streets of Douglas throughout the evening and into the early hours on Fridays and Saturdays, their aim being to support those who may be fearful of crime and disturbance, to comfort victims and help those who, through their over-indulgence, are putting themselves and others at risk.
Street Angels, a project of the Douglas Churches Town Centre Partnership (DTCP), has been operating since a trial run over Easter this year and will begin full operation on June 8 with the support and backing of the police and other agencies.
A service to mark the project’s founding was held at St George’s Church on the Sunday before last which was attended by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.
Street Angels is the first ecumenical venture of outreach and service on the island in modern times with volunteers and support from St George’s and St Thomas’s Church of England churches, Promenade Methodist Church, St Andrew’s United Reform Church, Trinity Methodist Church, Broadway Baptist Church, St Mary’s and St Anthony’s Roman Catholic churches, and Living Hope.
The volunteers range in age from 18 to 75.
One of the eldest volunteers is Sylvia Lawrinson, who is approaching the age of 75 and has been on a couple of evening shifts.
She told the Examiner: ‘We are not going out as police or paramedics. We don’t go out with the idea of getting involved in anything dangerous.
‘You are always with a team and you take each situation as it comes.’
Sylvia said that, so far, she had not had to deal with any incidents.
She said: ‘Shifts start at 7pm and go through to 3am in the morning. You go in teams of three and you generally do a three-hour shift. I’ve done a couple of them so far.
‘We have a lot of interest from the general public and we’ve been welcomed by taxi drivers and bouncers’
Douglas councillor Raina Chatel has volunteered as a Street Angel but is waiting to do her training before she can start.
She said: ‘I’m looking forward to it. I suppose there is always a risk but I’m not feeling nervous at all. It’s a very worthwhile thing.
‘You’re helping those who need help and putting something back into the community.’