NCLF Spotlight Feature – Street Pastors
Street Pastors is an interdenominational network of Christian charities operating across the UK and worldwide. It is a Church response to urban problems, engaging with people on the streets to care, listen and dialogue.
It was pioneered in London in January 2003 by Rev Les Isaac, Director of the Ascension Trust, and has seen some remarkable results, including drops in crime in areas where teams have been working. There are now some 9000 trained volunteers in over 250 teams around the United Kingdom.
Individual street pastors are Christian adults with a concern for their community, who undergo 12 days of training in order to voluntarily patrol the streets of towns and cities at night, helping and caring for people in practical ways. To be a Street Pastor you need to be over 18 (no upper age limit), a church member and able to commit to our training programme.
A Street Pastor is a Christian with a concern for society, who is willing to engage people where they are, both in terms of their attitudes and location.
Each Street Pastor team consists of at least three groups of four, each of which will work a minimum of one night a month, usually from 10pm to around 4am.
In June of 2012 is was announced that Rev Les Isaac Co Founder of Street Pastors was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honour List, and awarded an OBE for his work fostering community cohesion in his role as Head of the Ascension Trust, the umbrella organisation that oversees the work of Street Pastors, the initiative for which Rev Isaac is well known.
Street Pastors was launched in 2003, as a response to gun and knife crime in Britain’s urban areas. The concept of sending trained pastors out onto the streets between 10pm – 4pm every Friday and Saturday caught the attention of Christians across the country, who saw it as an effective way in which to engage with their local communities. There are now 250 Street Pastors initiatives across the UK, overseeing 10,000 trained individuals who provide over 600,000 volunteer patrol hours every year. Street Pastors has also been established overseas in various countries including Trinidad, Antigua and Northern Ireland with enquiries being received all the time from individuals in the UK and abroad who are interested in setting up their own Street Pastor Initiatives services.