Norwich street pastors plan is backed
MARCH 2006: Christian street pastors could be patrolling the pavements in Norwich after a meeting in Norwich with the national founder of the scheme backed the idea.
Project founder Rev Les Isaac met with around 25 church and Christian leaders on March 14 to explore bringing the idea to Norwich.
Street Pastors is an inter-denominational Church response to urban problems, engaging with people on the streets to care, listen and dialogue.
The Norwich meeting was organised by Transforming Norwich chairman John Betts and was unanimously in favour of launching the scheme in the city.
A steering group is to be set up with representatives from a number of local Christian groups and churches.
John Betts said: “The Street Pastors scheme is one of the most exciting things that the church has been doing over the last few years to contribute to community life. Trained Christians go onto the streets and help make sure that people get home safely. It is the Gospel in action, Good Samaritans helping people in need.
“The scheme has had a very good press and the police have attributed a decrease in certain areas of crime to their activities,” he said.
“We have felt some concern about Friday and Saturday nights in Norwich and what the church can do about the problems. We now have a group of people committed to making this happen.
Les Isaac said: “This is not about heaven and hell and preaching to people on the street. We go out because we have a heart and compassion for our communities. It is about caring, listening and helping people.
Each city project is set up by the Ascension Trust and run by a local coordinator with support from local churches and community groups, in partnership with Police, local council and other statutory agencies.
It was pioneered in London in January 2003 by Rev Isaac, Director of the Ascension Trust, and has seen some remarkable results, including drops in crime in areas where teams have been working.
Projects are already working in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leicester and Southend among other places with over 400 pastors on the streets.
Pictured top are Les Isaac and John Betts at the Norwich Street Pastors launch meeting.