Friday, 02 February 2024 16:07

Street Pastors: helping hands in night-time Derby

Steve Johnson (second-left) with some of his Street Pastor colleagues Steve Johnson (second-left) with some of his Street Pastor colleagues

Head out into Derby on a Friday or Saturday night and you’re more than likely to run into a group of volunteers looking out for revellers in need.

They are Derby’s Street Pastors - trained volunteers from a variety of local churches who provide a visible, reassuring presence for everyone in the city centre. They work in teams of three or four and are out and about, prayerfully patrolling, from 10pm – 4am.

Street Pastors has been operating in Derby since 2009 and the volunteers have become a well-respected and greatly appreciated part of Derby's nightlife.

They work together with the police, door staff and Derby CCTV, responding to calls to offer non-judgmental, understanding support through listening, assisting and, where necessary, putting their first-aid training into action.

And on other occasions, the help they give can be as straight forward as making sure someone has water to drink and a way of getting home.

One such volunteer is Steve Johnson. 

As someone who did his fair share of over-induging in his youth, Steve said: “Being a Street Pastor is insane and yet unbelievably rewarding - the nervous anticipation of wondering what you will encounter during the night really gets the adrenaline going.

“Committing to putting my faith into action, it is a privilege taking God’s love and grace into our city streets, meeting and talking to people their own context.”

Now, the organisation is looking to recruit some new faces to ensure it can continue to provide the level of service needed in the city.

Steve’s take on being a volunteer is that when a great night out turns into a time of distress and vulnerability, Street Pastors make sure those who have perhaps allowed themselves one too many, get home to their families safe and well.

He said: “To be a Street Pastor, I think you have to love your city, the people, the buildings and the culture. 

“In my youth, we never had these kinds of organisations around, but there is a new generation who enjoy our night-time economy that only know Street Pastors, and the warmth and love towards us is awesome.

“Together with lollies, bottles of water, flip flops and spikies we go out into town having put on the full armour of God, offering up our prayers for our fantastic city.”

If you are interested in learning more about being a Street Pastor, pop along to the open night being held at Derby City Church, Curzon Street, Derby on Monday, 5 February 2024 at 7pm, or contact them at streetpastors@derbycitymission.org.uk

Derby’s Street Pastors operates as a franchise of the national Street Pastor scheme that is run by the Ascension Trust under the management of Derby City Mission

For details of Street Pastor teams at other locations across the Diocese of Derby, visit the Street Pastors website.

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 April 2024 12:33

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