Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network is inviting people to turn the Good Friday #BorisWalk into a prayer walk for their local community.
As part of the UK Government guidelines around the Co-Vid19 lockdown, people are encouraged to go out once a day for exercise. Founder of CNI Network, Paul Blakey MBE, was inspired to challenge people to use the Good Friday #BorisWalk to unite people across neighbourhoods by offering prayer for residents and communities as well as the nation and world at this difficult time.
Paul comments, "Generally Easter is a busy time for our Street Angels and Club Angels projects as the first Bank Holiday weekend of the year would see thousands head to pubs and clubs in town and city centres.
"Sadly in 2020 this will not be happening, but our heart and vision from Isaiah 58 of 'making city streets like new again' continues to be a needed declaration.
Communities more than ever need prayer for God's Kingdom to come and God's will to be done in every home and business and on every street, community, town and city as well as around the world.
"As we physically distance ourselves from others we can still be beacons of light and hope in our communities by praying as we carry out our daily walk."
Points for prayer include:
People taking part are reminded of the need for physical distancing and to follow other safety guidelines. For more information on the work of CNI Network visit www.cninetwork.org
This Good Friday, 10th April, CNI Network invite you to use your #BorisWalk as a prayer walk for your local community. Pray for your neighbourhood at this difficult time. Pray for the homes and every resident. Pray for businesses. Pray that people will be safe and healthy physically, spiritually and mentally. Pray for God’s Kingdom to come and God’s will to be done in every home, on every street, across your community, town/city, region, the nations and world.
Please remeber physical distancing and safety guidelines.
One of the speaker finder websites we work with is gathering videos to make available to those who are unable to attend talks at this time to help with isolation. Paul has recorded a shorter (30minutes) version of his usual talk for this and is now available on YouTube for others to enjoy or share with those who may be encouraged by the story of how we were set up and amazing people in action loving those in front of them and making a difference in communities.
For mobile phones (no text version) visit - https://youtu.be/ummTchTSpQw
Our Community Hero for April is Paul Rawson from Blackpool and the Fylde Street Angels.
Blackpool and the Fylde Street Angels came out of a pilot scheme of a single-decker bus which parked up in Blackpool centre to provide help and assistance to those who were vulnerable. Seeing the need around the night-time economy Paul looked into the possibility of an initiative for the town which had a thriving and lively night-time community.
Paul attended a Jackie Pullinger event in Halifax and met with CNI Network and Paul Blakey which resulted in a group of Halifax Street Angels visiting Blackpool to help run a pilot scheme.
Paul says, “By June 2012 we had gathered the support of several Blackpool church communities and had a growing team of volunteers.
“We launched with a reception attended by local authority, Police, church leaders and pub and club owners.
“We started out with the basics of a street patrol team and ruck-sacks with flip-flops, bottles of water, first aid kit and sick bowls.
“Very quickly we saw other needs, especially around homelessness and addiction.”
Paul set out to raise money for a vehicle that could be used as a base and for wider work to address some of those who are homeless and have addiction issues. A minibus was purchased in 2014 with support from local business, friends and the Police and Crime Commissioner. This enabled the team to utilise the minibus as a safe place and an outreach tool.
Paul continues the story, “With a growing number of volunteers, especially those who had worked within homelessness and addiction support, we believed God was calling us to expand our work in this area.
“The CNI Network model allowed us to be adaptable and we were offered a building to use as a place for this new aspect of our work which we have called Angels Rest.
“St John’s Church Blackpool worked with us to set up a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol provision which we run on behalf of Blackpool Council and offers a safe space for genuine rough sleepers who otherwise would be out on the streets in the very worst of Blackpool’s weather conditions.”
This work is now in its fourth year and at the end of 2019 the Council offered Blackpool and the Fylde Street Angels the opportunity to manage an Emergency Bed Unit (EBU) year round in the town.
A partnership with Blackpool Fulfilling Lives has led to the restoration of a former Crazy Golf Course on Blackpool’s seafront.
Paul explains, “The Princess Parade Crazy Golf Course was a popular attraction in the 1960’s and 70’s but in recent years had closed and had become neglected.
“With teams of people we support through the homeless and addiction services we gave an opportunity for them to become involved in this restoration work.
“Gaining self-worth and work experience the team have started to restore the course and it is due to re-open for the 2020 summer season.
“A social enterprise will be set up and any income generated will be invested back into continuing work within the most vulnerable of Blackpool’s community.”
The Angels Rest base is currently undergoing work to make it more fit for purpose and plans include furniture restoration to continue to up-skill those the group work with. The groups have a vision for 24 hour care and support with an aim to see more lives turned around. A Monday Night Outreach on the promenade offers food, support and love to around sixty people each week.
Paul concludes, “Blackpool may well be known for its lights, Pleasure Beach, donkeys, the tower, ballroom and sea front but beyond the bright lights and attraction is a resort that is amongst the most deprived in the country.
“Over the last 2 years partnership work between the church, Street Angels, Local Authority, drug and alcohol services, Police and other organisations is turning the tide and bringing about change that we hope will be the difference that Blackpool needs.”
Blackpool and the Fylde Street Angels still continue to offer a safe place and patrols on Saturday evenings which together with the Crazy Golf course, emergency housing provision and support and welfare to the homeless and addicted communities the amazing volunteer team will be kept busy for years to come.
For more information visit bfstreetangels.org or facebook.com/bfstreetangels
Street Angels York have adopted the last remaining red phone box in York & had a defib unit installed. This is thanks to the kind people who have donated towards our work. Thanks to York BID for the signage etc.
The Northallerton Street Angels has made significant changes to its service after suspending night patrols in the town to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
Steve Cowie, chairman of Northallerton Street Angels, said the group had about 40 volunteers helping in the community.
"We are directing our volunteers where they are able to be an angel in their local community," he said.
"We have given them contacts of people we know, either of existing volunteer groups and to help people who can't or shouldn't be out."
Mr Cowie, a former local businessman, called for companies to adapt in the unprecedented challenge the country is facing.
"The big thing about this time for businesses and organisations is not to bunker down and do the same as you have done before.
"You have to look above the clouds and you have to be prepared to adapt and change.
"Organisations that say - 'oh it's too difficult - it can't work because of the current environment,' will become impotent and who will that help?".
"Every person on our books is allocated to one of our life groups - small groups that meet-up during the week online," he said.
"Street Angels are helping to make sure those that are vulnerable are looked after by contacting the vulnerable in these groups.
"Volunteers are finding out if they need shopping, or medication and life-saving things like that."
Mr Cowie, 67, also confirmed the New Life Baptist Church has started to stream its Sunday service live online, which over 200 local residents usually attend each week.
"Everything has been put on hold at the moment, but you have to look around and adapt during these times," he said.
"The first service online was a huge hit - close to a thousand people were watching it. People messaged in and said how moved they were.
"It really felt we were are all together in spirit."
Father God we thank you that you are good and loving and that you are a life-giver who loves each and every one of us.
We thank you that you have called us to partner with you towards seeing your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth, in the here and now, as it is in heaven.
Right now we come against this evil and life-destroying coronavirus. We pray for those who are seeking a cure - for drugs to be found and for this to be made available worldwide.
We pray for the families of those who have died and for all those who are affected, we pray healing.
We pray for sense and wisdom to replace fear and indifference.
We pray for those in governments and those advising governments. For the right steps to be taken to prevent further unnecessary spread and for wisdom in all they do.
We stand with those in our communities who are vulnerable. We thank you that people are rising up to ensure that all in our communities are supported and cared for. We thank you for the opportunities in these days for your church to be the light in the darkness, to be bringers of hope and the comfort that your Holy Spirit gives.
We pray for nations beyond this virus - for businesses, employment, economics, health systems and education to be restored. We seek the peace and prosperity of places and nations.
Through all this Lord we thank you that, even though we don't understand or comprehend all that is going on, you are ultimately in control. We stand against this evil of coronavirus and Satan who seeks to destroy and steal. Lord help us be a people who bring your life, love, hope and joy and not ones who give in to the fear and panic that the enemy desires.
Matthew 5:13-16 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
STAFF at a Tamworth funeral home have launched their own special initiative to help the town’s homeless. The group, who all work at Tamworth Co-op’s funeral branch in Upper Gungate, are preparing ‘care bags’ packed with essential items for rough sleepers.
They became increasingly aware of the plight of homeless people in the town when Tamworth Co-op handed over £5,000 to support the Winter Night Shelter project which operates from St John the Baptist Church. The donation proved crucial in landing extra government funding to extend the scheme until the end of March.
Funeral arranger Janice Chetwynd said she and her colleagues were inspired by their employers donating such a significant sum and wanted to do something themselves to help.
“We were concerned for the welfare of the homeless during the rest of the year, as well as those who do not take advantage of the winter shelter at all,” she explained.
“We got the ‘care bag’ idea from an appeal in Calais to provide basic, but essential items to the refugees over there and we’ve adapted it to support the homeless on our doorstep.”
“It’s so sad to see people in Tamworth sleeping in bus shelters and doorways in this day and age.”
The funeral staff have received the backing of their managers who have allocated a pot of money to the cause.
“We were impressed by their infectious enthusiasm to do something positive,” said Amanda Woodward, general manager of Tamworth Co-op’s funeral division.
“The funeral team has held meetings with community leaders who have first-hand knowledge of the homeless problem locally. Their advice and expertise have been invaluable.”
Among those consulted were Father Michael White from St John the Baptist Church and Reverend Vic Van den Bergh, founder of Tamworth’s Street Angels group.
A meeting was also held with Sheree Peaple, chair of the board of governors of the Heart of Tamworth Community Project, and lead trustee Simon Peaple who is responsible for the day-to-day running of the night shelter. He also heads up the town’s Starfish Project which organises drop-in day centres for vulnerable people.
Around 40 bags are now being filled with items such as socks, hand gel, toothbrushes, toothpaste and chocolate bars. The bags will be handed to the Starfish and Street Angels groups for distribution to needy individuals.
“We learnt that socks in particular are invaluable to homeless people, so we will include at least two pairs in each bag,” said Cath.
An information leaflet will also be included in the kit. It will list emergency telephone numbers and provide dates and times of support centres operating throughout the year.
Sheree Peaple, who also serves on Tamworth Co-op’s board of directors, said that knowing they are not alone in times of crisis was of paramount importance to people who find themselves without a roof over their heads.
“Homelessness is a terrible situation for anyone to face,” she said. “One of the most important things we have learnt from the people we encounter is just how important it is to them to feel that someone cares. So the fact that Tamworth Co-op cares is really important.”
Tamworth Co-op chief executive Julian Coles said the new initiative fits in perfectly with the Society’s long standing ethos of making a positive difference to the communities it serves.
“Every year we support a wide variety of worthwhile community causes on our doorstep and this year we have also made a significant contribution to making life better for homeless people. It’s marvellous to see our funeral staff taking this a step further.”
Latest update from CNI Network including around coronavirus - https://mailchi.mp/e519c51df6fb/coronavirus-update-and-march-news-update
CoronaVirus - CNI Network will be posting updates of information and articles that are appropriate to our local projects (and similar groups) on our Facebook Page - facebook.com/cninetwork (you do not need a Facebook account to view - there is also a feed onto the Home page of cninetwork.org).
We recognise that guidelines will change daily. The current situation will have an impact on vulnerable people such as rough sleepers and those with addictions as well as the wider night-time economy - we have posted articles around these areas to better equip our local projects and volunteers.
Today (Sunday 15th March) the USA President has called for a day of prayer - as CNI Network we encourage you to pray - for the current global situation; for peace and hope over fear; for those affected directly with coronavirus; for a cure; for an end to the spread; for businesses affected by loss of income; for those making national / international decisions on behalf of nations; for those who are vulnerable in any way...
Thank you to each and every one of our volunteers as we step out to love others and our communities.
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