Today’s Cinnamon Bite continues our series about Cinnamon Recognised Projects which work in close partnership with their local police force. Today we feature Lee Nancarrow from Revelation Church in Chichester, whose City Angels project works in close partnership with Chichester police.
Q: Tell us about City Angels.
A: We’ve been running since Christmas 2011. We are a team of 86 volunteers who go out every Friday night and on the first and last Saturday of the month, and we work together with the police, with Chichester Businesses Against Crime (ChiBAC), and the door staff, to bring a calming presence to the centre of town. And we have up to 12 volunteers each night, walking around in pairs equipped with backpacks of First Aid kits, space blankets, flip-flops and lollies, and all that kind of stuff, and we come to the aid of people who are vulnerable, and we make sure they get home safely.
We also have a coffee van at the bottom of one of the main streets, where we serve hot drinks in order to deal with people who have been thrown out of pubs or are a little bit worse for wear, or anybody who just wants to come for a chat. And then we have a Safe House for anyone who is particularly vulnerable and they have a place to go and be mopped up, to the point where they are able to look after themselves. We also have a prayer team running from there, covering us in prayer as we go out. And since we have been operational, there has been a massive reduction in crime statistics:
Q: So how does it fit into the life of your church?
A: Revelation Church have been working with the police for many years. 8 to 10 years ago we started a thing with the police called “Say No And Phone” (SNAP), which is a scheme for under 18s about drug awareness, so we have been working with the police for a long time. Then they came to us about starting a street project in Chichester.
Q: Describe the sort of relationship you have with the police.
A: I would say that we were quite close, in that we would do a lot of things together, and talk. We meet with them regularly, along with other governing bodies that are part of the Chichester Community Safety Partnership; and we work together in any way that we can to make our streets safer.
City Angels are also featured in our Cinnamon Faith Action Research report, coming soon. You can find out more about running a Street Angels project in your community HERE.