A TEAM of around 15 volunteers take it in turns to give up their Saturday nights purely to aid and assist those who may have had "one too many" on a night out in Sleaford.
For the past five years the Sleaford Street Source team, which operate from The Source on Southgate, have offered refreshments, warmth and a friendly chat to anyone who might need it during their night out.
From September this year, as well as continuing to offer their care from The Source, the team decided to step out and take their services onto the streets and they say it's been a worthwhile move.
Jem Green, from the team, said: "If my lad was out on the town and he'd had too much to drink or got separated from his mates I would feel happier knowing there was somewhere like this that he could go where he was safe."
Every Saturday night from 10.30pm until around 2am the next morning a small team of volunteers meet at The Source.
Two members of the team will go out on to the streets wearing hi-viz Street Source jackets armed with bottles of water, flasks of hot chocolate and even lollypops.
Bob Stoner, one of the team, said that the lollies are offered to people who they see fighting.
He said: "You'd be surprised but if someone has a lollypop in their mouth they won't fight."
Bob, whose day job is a maths teacher at St George's Academy, said that he has never felt frightened while patrolling the streets.
He said: "I love it. I get a buzz from helping people. If I come across people fighting I never feel threatened because I know that the fight isn't aimed at me. I just try my best to intervene and make sure the partner of the person fighting is ok."
During the night that Caroline was out with the team a man and a woman began to argue outside The Source and during the argument the man threw the woman's handbag into the river by the church.
Bob and Jem stepped in to see if everything was ok while the woman flagged down a passing police car.
Bob said: "They were both drunk and he was getting quite aggressive. I asked if she was ok and the guy made a threat towards me then ran off up the road.
"The police asked the woman if she wanted to press charges but she didn't so there wasn't anything anybody could do.
"Unfortunately I see this kind of thing a lot."
The team took the woman into The Source to sit down and have a hot drink and was even offered a lift back to where she was staying that night.
Meanwhile the other members of the team managed to fish the woman's handbag out of the river for her.
The team said that it's not just drunk people who they care for on a Saturday night.
Mike Swaby, from the team, said: "We went through a phase a little while ago when this homeless guy would come in every Saturday night for a drink and a chat and a place to stay warm for a bit.
"He had been camping in the Bass Maltings buildings and it was really sad that he was in that situation but it felt good to be able to help offer him something. He sorted himself out in the end luckily."
Mike said another time a dad came into The Source to look for his 15-year-old son who had run away from home.
Follow the Street Source team on Twitter at @SStreetSource.
Sleaford Street Source is part of the CNI (Christian Nightlife Initiatives) Network.
This is an umbrella organisation supporting and resourcing work within the night-time of towns and cities.
The UK-wide project was launched in 2008 and is said to have seen reductions in violent crime and sexual assaults in many towns and cities.
It works alongside the police and local councils but remains independent and does not have any powers of enforcement or arrest.
It has offered help and assistance to thousands of vulnerable people and invested thousands of volunteer hours at a time when help is most needed.
For more information visit cninetwork.org.uk.
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