A dedicated group of volunteers aims to be a guiding light in helping people stay safe on the streets of Redcar.
The Redcar Beacons, set up by locals Anne and Bryan Connelly, are based on Street Angels programmes running up and down the country, including Middlesbrough, Stockton, Guisborough and Hartlepool.
Run under the umbrella of the Christian Nightlife Initiative - which supports more than 100 similar schemes across the country - the Beacons aims to provide a non-judgemental “caring presence” to everyone who ventures out to Redcar on a Friday night between 10pm-3am - from boozy revellers to the vulnerable and homeless.
Volunteers are trained in first aid, to help with minor injuries, and where appropriate will give out water and flip flops to help with dehydration and sore feet.
The 19-strong team of volunteers, wearing hi-visibility projects provided by Redcar and Cleveland Council, range in age from 19-year-old Amie Mulgrew-Taylor to Brian Connolly and Olwyn Twentyman, who are both in their 70s. But Anne, a retired social worker, said more men are urgently needed.
And if they can boost their numbers, it’s hoped the service can expand to Saturday nights too.
She said: “About half of us or Christians, but the one thing we all have in common is we care about our community.
“Our main aim is to help people enjoying a night out and making sure they stay safe. This could be by alerting the emergency services or by taking them back to our base at the Lifeline office and helping them seek further help from appropriate organisations.”
The name Redcar Beacons came from Redcar’s own vertical pier, which Anne visited just after it opened.
She said: “I know a lot of people have differing opinions about the Beacon but what I saw was the beauty of the area and it really lifted my spirits. We should be proud of what we can offer residents and visitors.
“Lending the name to our group ties in well with the town and it is key to remember that the aim of a beacon is to supply an area with guiding lights.”
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, said: “In my experience of Street Angels projects, they are very well received and I’m sure this scheme will be a great addition to the community safety offer in Redcar.”
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