Premier Christian Radio have featured CNI Network trustee Martin Rowley on the British Empire Medal (BEM) he has received in the New Year Honours:
A British Empire Medal (BEM) has been awarded to Martin Rowley for services to the community in York. Martin is a trustee of the Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network. He told Premier he was touched to receive his nomination.
"I did feel very humbled and honoured that someone had gone to the length of nominating me," he said. "With a nomination you need to have two or three letters of support. Not only has someone nominated me but they've gone to the trouble of finding people to support that nomination. It's just a real genuine honour."
Premier Radio also featured Martin hourly on the news. Martin was also interviewed on BBC Radio York.
AS this incredibly difficult year draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
This year the Coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us in some way. Many of us have lost loved ones.
This Christmas, my heart goes out to everyone who is struggling, missing a loved one or isolated from their family.
Christmas is a time when we can reflect on the year that has just gone.
I want to say a massive thank you.
Thank you to the care workers and NHS staff who have risked their lives to save others.
Thank you to the supermarket staff and delivery drivers who have kept us all fed and connected.
Thank you to all of our key workers who have kept us safe and kept our country going.
There is nothing that I can say that will even come close to doing you justice. We all owe you a debt which can never be repaid.
I’ve seen some incredible acts of kindness within my own constituency.
I’ve been so proud to volunteer with Oldham Street Angels to make sure our most vulnerable are able to access the support they need.
It was also wonderful to meet with volunteers from Action Together to learn how they have been helping keep people safe and well this year.
I am always proud to be a patron of Ashton United in the Community. Their excellent pop up pantry has made sure families don’t have to go hungry. It’s sad that something like that is needed but it’s heartwarming to see that people really do care.
We look after each other when times get tough and thanks to the excellent effort of AUITC’s Christmas Robin Appeal and the generosity of the community, 27 local families will receive a Christmas Hamper and 76 local children will get a Christmas gift.
When I sit down for my Christmas dinner, I’ll be thinking of my old work mates from when I was a care worker in Stockport - because for our care workers and so many other key workers, their work doesn’t stop on Christmas Day. I hope that at some point over the festive period, you get a well-earned break.
Next year, I will continue to fight to make sure that you get the pay rise and the respect that you deserve.
This year has been a tough year for all of us. Our country has suffered more than almost any other.
But thanks to the sacrifice of our key workers on the frontline, and the spirit of the British people in keeping each other safe, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
And I hope that, even in the most difficult of circumstances, everyone is able to have a Merry Christmas.
Clive Latimer is a volunteer with Aylesbury Chaplaincy / Street Angels and in 2020 set himself a challenge to walk 1000 miles in a year. Each mile he was challenged to pray for a different person - the results can be seen in this booklet. Clive is setting out a Walking / Wheel Angel challenge for 2021...
What is a prayer mile?
Walk, talk, note, snap, send.
An extract from:- Prayer miles 0 to 1000
It all started Christmas 2019, my daughter Harriet gave me a subscription for the Country Walking magazine. Inside was a challenge to walk 1000 miles in a year. I thought about doing it but it didn't feel quite right, but after praying about it that evening, the next day God gave me an answer: - Yes Clive you can do it, but I would like you to do something for Me, I want you to pray for 1000 people, one for every mile you walk with Me. That felt right, so I started the challenge on 1st January 2020 and finished on 16th November 2020.
These following pages are the 1000 prayer miles (click to open the book) I walked, one for each person. I have met or made contact with so many wonderful people along the way, on Facebook (#walk1000miles) and others.
This is the way I set out: - When I meet someone and start a conversation, I mention that I am on this challenge and would they like to be on my list, nearly every time it is a yes. I enter their contact details on my phone list and what they would like me to pray for.
When I go out prayer walking, I open the list and either write on a notepad or use Keep Notes on my phone. I start my watch to log the distance in miles, then start praying and walking. When the Lord prompts me, I dictate into the phone the words I have been given. When the mile is up, I stop and look around and photograph whatever catches my attention. Then onto the next person on the list. When the walk is finished, I stop the watch. When I get home, I transfer it to my laptop and make some sense out of the speech to text. The prayer mile is then sent on to the person who requested it.
I found it all very exciting, a big adventure, not knowing what is going to happen every mile, where will I go, who will I meet, what God will prompt me to write and what will I photograph.
When you read through the prayer miles, I do hope and pray that you find some meaning in them for yourself.
God bless you.
If you find it helpful, go on, have a go. I challenge you.
If you find it a challenge too far, then have a go with me in 2021 and become a Walking Angel or even a Wheel Angel.
I normally go out with the Aylesbury Chaplaincy as a Street Angel and Healing on the Street (HOTS) team, but with the lockdown and restrictions, I have not been out on the Streets in this capacity since March .
From the 1st of January 2020, I started my 1000 mile prayer walk. In doing this I have met so many different people and found that there is a great need for help, prayer and healing, mentally, physically and spiritually. I completed my 1000 mile prayer walk on November 16th and from then on I was wondering what my next mission will be.
The Lord has put on my heart, that perhaps as well as being Street Angels, Chaplains, Festival Angels, etc, we could also become Walking Angels, as we walk in the streets, town, cities, footpaths, forests, anywhere we walk, even at work, we are all walking as Angels.
In 2021, there will be a greater need for mental health support, people that are really struggling with all their problems and the debts that have occurred. The loss of work and so many people have lost someone and there are still a lot of people with the virus. There is the hope that the vaccine will stop all this and that people will forget, but they are still people that will need help and prayer, healing mentally, physically and spiritually. Our mission is to go out as Walking Angels, to represent Jesus in the world, listening and spending time with people in need. To love the person in front of you.
I have already started. When I go out for a walk, I expect to meet people that God has placed in front of me and that are in need of some sort of help, even if it is only a smile. When you step off the path and let them pass, you are already showing you concern for them. I find that it is so easy to start a conversation, as you are social distancing already. Let the Spirit lead you but don’t push, I find that if you show you are willing to stop and listen, they will soon open up. Before you part, give them your name and try get their name so you can add them to your Walking Angel list. I also make a note to remind me later. You can be praying for them as you continue walking. I am wondering if a badge might be a good talking point.
As Street Angels or Chaplains, you may be thinking, I do that anyway. If that is so, off you go then.
This refers to any one on wheels. Wheel chairs, bikes, skateboards, scooters, pushchairs, office chairs, even in cars.
My 2021 challenge to you.
Go out and give it a try.
God has given us this opportunity to continue the work He has given to do, but in a slightly different way, at any time of the day, until we can go out as before.
Set yourself a goal, to get 50 names on your list, or even more.
God bless you all. Clive Latimer
Our #UKCharityWeek newsletter...
In March many of the CNI Network (Christian Nightlife Initiatives) local projects stopped. Teams such as Street Angels and Club Angels were not needed in local communities as pubs and clubs, like the rest of the nation and world, went into lockdown.
However many of our teams and volunteers rose to the challenge of the reality we all found ourselves in.
Helplines offering prayer, a listening ear and shopping services for those who were unable to go out were established.
Community Angel teams became the heartbeat of local communities supporting those self-isolating as well as the elderly or vulnerable with regular phone calls, medication and shopping deliveries.
The partnership with the local church and local authorities, in place as part of our regular work in communities, were utilised with some of our projects beginning to offer daily meals on wheels or volunteers becoming involved in the work of other organisations such as Food Banks or the local authority helpline service.
In Blackpool, as in several other towns and cities, part of the Street Angels work is with the homeless community. As lockdown hit in March this work was needed more than ever. Dave Preston, one of the project coordinators, tells the story:
"When COViD occurred we had only been operating our new established Emergency Bed Unit (in partnership with Blackpool Council) for three months. We were asked to increase its operation to a 24 hour provision. This meant bringing on more volunteers at a time when people were not wanting to leave their homes and were isolating. It required increased funding and in general was a much bigger challenge, with our residents having to stay indoors for most of the day. To make matters worse we lost a substantial amount of funding from a number of sources due to the economic impact of coronavirus.
"We applied for more funding however and have been successful with a number of bids and individual donors coming on board. We looked at working more efficiently with what we’ve got and shuffled our paid staff around to create a new volunteer coordinator position. The volunteers have appeared and our volunteer rota is looking healthy again. We have managed to keep our Heads above water thus far. We continue to say our prayers!
On July 4th when pubs were opened up again many of our street teams were able to go back out on patrol though offering a less hands on service than previously. With the support and guidance of local Police, local authorities and CNI Network our volunteer teams have policies and procedures in place that ensure they are kept safe in a higher risk environment.
The work of Street Angels has continued, though many now running at early times to accommodate the 10pm closing times. Some teams have changed to offer support, prayer and chaplaincy to those who work within the night-time and hospitality industry as future employment and even venues remaining open is a constant threat and worry. One team, at the request of the police, have received training to be able to offer patrols in suicide hotspots.
CNI Network is confident that the local church is the hope of our nation. Ephesians 1:23 says, "The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence." In these times of uncertainty and change we believe that the church has an amazing opportunity to be communities of hope, communities of grace, communities of life and communities of love as we demonstrate 'God's Kingdom come, God's will be done on earth as in heaven' a reality for people and wider communities.
To find out more about the work of CNI Network and our local projects visit cninetwork.org or facebook.com/cninetwork
It's 15 years since Street Angels launched on the streets of Halifax in response to issues with the night-time economy.
Founded by Christians Paul and Jean Blakey, the couple decided to help the town shed its image as the 'Wild West of West Yorkshire' and opened a safe-place drop in at cafe owned by Churches Together and the YMCA.
Opening night was Friday 25th November 2005 and 50 volunteers turned up. With too many to help in the cafe, the volunteers took to the streets and Street Angels was born.
Paul told Premier how it all began:
"I thought: 'is there anything that we as a local church can do just to help those who are vulnerable, or those who may become vulnerable?' So, talking to the police and The Churches Together, who have this wonderful cafe facility in the heart of the town centre, it went from literally an idea to launch in just over two weeks.
"The police wanted a fresh new approach to the town centre on a Friday, Saturday night, when in Halifax between eight and 10,000 people can descend on the town. So we thought let's give something ago, a group of us committed to keeping that cafe open as a safe place. And amazingly, on the first evening, 50 people turned up to volunteer to work. It's been a fantastic roller coaster."
Paul and Jean Blakey's idea was almost an overnight success when it came to addressing problems in the town.
"I think it helped in the first 12 months in Halifax Town Centre. Violent crime, which normally goes up on a Friday and Saturday night was reduced by 42 per cent. And the police very publicly, locally as well as nationally, put that down to the fact that the church was out doing Street Angels on weekend evenings at a time when it was very much needed," Paul told Premier.
Fifteen years on, teams of Street Angels continue to offer help - armed with first aid kits, flip-flops and lollipops and are seen on streets right across the country.
Paul Blakey MBE went on to form Christian Nightlife Initiatives, an umbrella organisation for around 130 projects.
"We've expanded from just working within the night-time economy to doing things like festival angels. And we had last year a team of festival angels at 16 music festivals across the UK, as well as supporting initiatives abroad.
"We've had community angels, and they've responded amazingly during these last few months of lockdown, community angels are dealing with some of the most vulnerable, perhaps elderly people within communities.
"So, they've really stepped up to the mark and lots of our Street Angel teams have become community angels and offered telephone helplines and prayer and counselling and support and lots of different ways of responding to our current situation."
As for the future there are plans to continue expanding overseas. Street Angels already operate in Magaluf and have links in Tenerife and to the Seychelles Night Pastors.
"We've got a team in Wilmington, North Carolina, and so, very much that the fact that it works so amazingly well in the UK, and we can export that and expand into other countries was on our heart.
"We're so thankful to the amazing teams of volunteers that go out week in week out, when they can of course, and they've made a massive difference in local communities by helping reduce crime, helping reduce antisocial behaviour, and showcasing the church as a real agent of change."
Today is our fifteenth birthday!
Fifteen years ago today a response to the needs in Halifax town centre binge drink culture on weekend evenings became Street Angels!
We are so thankful for where God has led us on this 15 year journey:
A model that has been replicated through CNI Network within communities across the UK, Spain, Seychelles, Australia, America and Brasil.
A family of amazing people who are committed to bringing change to local communities.
Reductions in violent crime and anti-social behaviour that saves money and resources for vital services such as the NHS, Paramedics and Police.
Developing new areas of work and impact including: safe place drop-in's; Festival Angels; Youth Angels; within homeless communities; in clubs and pubs through Club Angels; night-time chaplaincy; support for the isolated and lonely in communities; #Do1NiceThing; #FaithAndPoliceTogether; alcohol and safety schools resource; NightChurch; SafeNightOut.party; and Jesus Loves Festivals and Clubbers.
Showcasing that the church is an organisation that brings change within communities and individuals including to MP's, Prime Ministers, the Royal Family, Home Office and through the media.
We are so thankful for all who are part of our 15 year journey! For every volunteer who helps make our streets / clubs / pubs / festivals / communities like new again! We can't celebrate as we had planned to but do join us in thanking God for this vision and journey...
The University of Surrey is providing further financial support to local charity Guildford Street Angels. The £1000 donation will help towards covering the cost of providing their night-time patrols, on Friday and Saturday nights.
Guildford Street Angel volunteers have been patrolling Guildford Town Centre at weekends, late at night, since 2008 - listening, caring and helping vulnerable people. Street Angels have been recognised as making a significant contribution to ensuring the welfare of people on the streets of Guildford at night, including many students.
Nikki Dormon, Public Engagement Manager at the University of Surrey, said “We are delighted to be able to support and work collaboratively with the Street Angels project again this year. Students, as well as many other members of our community, benefit from the care and support offered by the Street Angels night-time patrols, and we really value being able to work closely with the Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy and the rest of the team. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our students is our top priority and the Street Angels programme, alongside our own Street Marshals initiative, helps us to achieve this.”
Rev Noelle Coe, Guildford Town Chaplain, thanked the University for their support saying: “The Chaplaincy is thrilled and most grateful to receive this on-going support for our Street Angel project. Many of the people that we help are students, so we are pleased to be working collaboratively with the University to help care for them.”
She added “Street Angels are known and respected in our Town and are there to assist people of any age in need, which is particularly valued at the end of the night to encourage people to disperse quietly and get home safely. The Angels work closely with the police, providing additional eyes and ears, working to avoid conflict and reducing pressure on the emergency services.”
To find out more about the University’s work in the local community visit: surrey.ac.uk/community
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