A GROUP that has been helping revellers stay safe on nights out in Bolton town centre for almost 10 years is set to close.
Bolton Street Angels has been assisting people in need since 2008 but a lack of volunteers now means that they will patrol the town for the last time in December.
At its peak, the group had a pool of 30 volunteers willing to go out on Friday and Saturday nights and look after people who had too much to drink or had been separated from their friends but this is now down to just 11.
A lack of team leaders has also led to the 'difficult decision' for the group to disband.
Over the past year it has become clear to organisers that the group can no longer sustain a presence in the town every week.
The last night volunteers will patrol will be Friday, December 15, also known as Mad Friday.
Over the past nine years it is estimated Street Angels have removed around 15,000 bottles and glasses from the street to prevent injuries, helped 1,500 people who were vulnerable in some way, given out 800 bottles of water and 700 pairs of flip flops.
Bolton Street Angels was one of the first to be set up in the country and there are now more than 100 local groups around the UK.
Treasurer, Suzane McKinley, said: "Over the past one or two years our number of active volunteers has fallen.
"We came to a point where we weren't able to carry on. It was a difficult decision to make."
The group was originally based in Bradshawgate but had to move to Churchgate and then Bank Street Chapel in 2014.
It is believed that its home not being as central to the town's bars and clubs mean that it has less of a presence and this has led to less people offering to volunteer.
Adrienne Tonge, one of the co-founders of Bolton Street Angels and a former chairman, said: "If you are not there every weekend and people can't rely on you, it is almost worse than not being there at all.
"People are always, generally speaking, appreciative of what we are doing and what we have been doing. A lot of them have been helped themselves or they have had friends who have been helped."
At its peak, four or five people were regularly going out with a team leader to patrol Bolton and keep party goers safe but now this is down to just two most weekends, including a team leader.
It is believed more than 100 people have volunteered with Bolton Street Angels over the years and the organisers wanted to thank them for all their support.
Ms Tonge said: "The door staff, over the years, have been amazingly supportive. They have always been helpful to us.
"There are still people working really hard to make sure people in the town centre are safe.
"We have reduced the number of ambulances required and taken the pressure off door staff. We can help people get home safely and reduce the amount of police needed to help deal with people who have had too much to drink"
She added that the Best Bar None scheme has also been a welcome addition to the town, ensuring bars know best practice to keep people safe.
Any money the group has leftover and its equipment will be donated to local good causes to allow them carry on their work.
A farewell meal will be held for volunteers past and present next year to say goodbye to Street Angels Bolton.
The organisers wanted to thank Bank Street Chapel, Christians Together in Bolton, Pubwatch, Town Centre Chaplaincy, Bolton Methodist Mission, Rotary Club, Soroptimists, Christian Night Time Initiatives, Greater Manchester Police and the Salvation Army for their support.
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