Reading Street Pastors was launched by the Reading Christian Network on February 2009 as an ecumenical Christian body to provide teams of people to serve the public in the centre of our town through the night at week-ends. They work in cooperation with the police and Reading Borough Council to help people who find themselves in difficult situations, very often through having drunk too much.
There are now 60 Street Pastors from 25 churches of a wide variety of denominations - an excellent example if ecumenical cooperation. There are five Salvationists from Reading Central in this number
Since 2009 teams of street pastors have:
- helped diffuse 477 aggressive situations
- provided support for 17,104 vulnerable people
- supported 1882 vulnerable people
- picked up 14,811 glass bottles from the streets
- helped in 162 incidents that required first aid
- gave out 684 emergency blankets to beat off hyperthermia on cold nights
- gave away 1,089 pairs of flip-flops to women and men who had ′lost′ their shoes
- made contact with 17,104 of people
- handed out 100,000s of lollipops
- given away 1000s of widgets to prevent bottled drinks being spiked
- referred more than 200 people to various support organisations
- given out bottles of water to help drinkers re-hydrate
- helped people with transport home
One Street Pastor testified that "One of the best parts about being a Street Pastor is the difference you can make to people′s
lives and being appreciated for your hard work and efforts by those who you have helped".
Matt Hearn, former co-ordinator of the Reading Street Pastors, said "being a Street Pastor is a mentally rewarding job and while it is done with a Christian ethos it is not necessarily about evangelising the people they come across.
It′s about being there as Christians and showing God′s love practically.
It′s the principle of being the ′good Samaritan′ and offering very real practical, immediate care and support to people who find themselves in a vulnerable situation."