As an Engage Mutual customer, I was excited to hear about their Community Awards. I’m heavily involved with the Street Pastoring programme in Tower Hamlets, London, and was looking for funding to help us attract and train new volunteers. Street Pastors are teams of people around the country, made up of volunteers from local churches, who go out and support the local community during night-time.
"Extra funding means more people on the street offering support."
London’s East End has plenty of clubs and bars and no two nights as a Street Pastor are ever the same, because the area we cover is extremely diverse. We focus on popular night-spots between 10pm to 4am, and we mostly go out on Friday nights as this is the busiest night of the week. We hand-out blankets to the homeless, give out flip-flops to anyone not wearing shoes, and help people get home safely if they’re in a vulnerable state. We also offer emotional support, such as comforting people when they’re distressed or diffusing confrontations that occur during a night out. Often, we just listen. We let people tell their stories, and provide help and support if we can. I applied for assistance from the Foundation as I knew the extra funding could mean more people on the street offering practical and emotional support. It costs around £300 to train each volunteer, and we have to budget for the practical items too.
"No two nights as a Street Pastor are ever the same, because the area we cover is extremely diverse"
The extra funding has enabled us to train eight new Street Pastors, and the Foundation has also donated £2,000 towards the cost of welfare and personal security items for us to distribute to the community. Street Pastoring is about providing a friendly face, advice or practical assistance when people need it most. Thanks to the support we received, many vulnerable and homeless people in London’s East End will benefit from our work.