It's more or less a year since I went out on patrol with the Mallorca Street Angels overnight in Magaluf so this week I caught up with the group's leader Cameron Springthorpe and a new girl on the block, Jud Sweeney.
Vicki McLeod: So, your season has started now for 2015. How are you getting on so far?
Cameron Springthorpe: It's very interesting and heartening to see so many different groups getting involved and helping. This year we know about a group from the Norwegian Church who are helping visitors from Scandinavia; we know that the Vinyard Church, an Evangelical group based in Palma, came out to see what it was like, I believe with the intention to see if they could run a similar group in Palma, and we know about the Gospel Tribe who are a German Bible School who are patrolling in s'Arenal and have also been over to Magaluf as well.
VM: Wow! So you've got company!
SC: Yes, it's good news.
VM: How have you found Magaluf this year so far ?
SC: We haven't seen people in such a bad state as we did last year. I would say of last year's experiences we were finding about 50% or 60% of the people unconscious or semiconscious at the outset. It has not been as bad this year. The people are more responsive and they are waking up easier than previously. We are seeing less drinking on the streets, and less broken bottles as a result.
VM: Is it still the case that the majority of the people you are finding are either too inebriated to find their way home, or are simply lost and disorientated and don't know where they are staying?
SC: Yes, that is the case.
Jud Sweeney: We helped a guy recently who couldn't remember where he was staying so we were looking on his Facebook to try to find his friends who may be on holiday with him. In the end we rang up his mum in the UK to ask her if she knew the name of his hotel. But she didn't so she had to go down the road and ask one of his friends if they knew! Eventually we got him home.
VM: This is your first year in Mallorca Jud, how are you finding it?
JS: I really like it. I'm part of a group called 247 Ibiza which has been operating in Ibiza for the past twelve years and I wanted to come over to Mallorca to see how it worked here. We would have tended to go out earlier in the evening in Ibiza than the Street Angels do here because we want to try to have conversations with people before they get so drunk that they can't have a chat anymore. We look for people who may want to talk. We want to share some kindness and love with them. There are always people who are not having the best time, and they might want to have a chat and we offer them the opportunity to pray with us as well. We would get asked "Why do you want to be here? It's awful!" so we know that some holiday makers don't really like where they are either. We also would talk to the workers and the PRs as they have a tough time in Ibiza or here. We try to help: cleaning up someone who’s vomiting, helping vulnerable people – drunk, drugged, injured or alone - to a safe place, listening to someone’s story or frustrations of the day, celebrating good news and happy times with people. taking someone who’s been injured to a medical centre, sharing our faith and stories of God with those who are keen to hear, seeking to bring calm to agitated people and stressful situations and asking God to lead us to specific people he wants us to talk to and to give us the words he wants them to hear.
VM: What makes you want to come out here and spend your summers doing this?
JS: I'm a teacher back home, and I am active in my local church group. I get a lot of support both from the parents and my church. Members of churches come out to help for a week or so at a time and join the team which gives us an energy boost as well. Parents that I know have said that they would want their children to have someone to look after them if they were in trouble away from home. When I was younger I had a wild spell and I could have easily ended up in a lot of trouble, luckily I was able to change my path so I know that some people just want to party for the sake of having a party, and for other people it is hiding more fundamental issues. Now I want to give back and help other people who might need me.
VM: I know when I went out with the Street Angels I really enjoyed it, I know that sounds a bit perverse, but I truly did! I liked the feeling of being able to do something practical and helping people. It's important to not be judgmental isn't it, because that's not helping at all.
JS: Yes, absolutely, you cannot judge someone or tell them they've done something wrong. When you are helping them get home or whatever it is they need from you you've got to focus entirely on that.
VM: How many people might you help on average night?
SC: Between 10 and 15 people normally.
VM: Last year when we met you told me that you were looking for a golf buggy or something you could use for transportation. Did you manage to get your wish?
SC: Not exactly, but we have got a car that we are able to use. Ideally though what we would like is a Kangoo type of van where the doors slide back, it would make it much easier to help people in and out of the vehicle. We've taken people home, and even taken them to Son Espases for treatment.
VM: So if any of the readers wanted to donate a Kangoo then they should get in touch! Is it still the case that the Street Angels are looking for volunteers?
SC: Yes we are, we are always open to more people joining us and being on patrol. You don't have to be a Christian, but you do have to be in agreement with our principals or it won't work. We've currently got a team of nineteen people working this year. Between Street Angels and the other Christian based groups working Magaluf there is some sort of presence there every night which is great progress and we know we are helping to make a difference to these young people on holiday.
You can contact Cameron on 629056193. You can see more on www.streetangels.es and www.24-7ibiza.com
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