After an enforced break due to coronavirus, the Guildford Street Angels project has resumed its friendly night-time patrols, providing a calming presence and a listening ear to people socialising in the town centre.
Guildford’s town centre chaplain, the Revd Noelle Coe, said “We have been working very hard during lockdown to get our teams ready for the time when they are able to return to the streets – offering compassion and practical help, after hours.
“We now have new rotas in place, new operational guidelines and face masks at the ready.
“Initially, our volunteers will be supporting anyone who becomes vulnerable at the earlier time of 8pm until midnight, as many venues are currently operating shorter hours.
“We are so thrilled to be getting back on to the streets, helping the town return to normality in these unprecedented times.
“We are grateful to the support of so many partner organisations, such as the police, Guildford Borough Council, churches and Pubwatch, who have made this possible.
“We are looking forward to working with others to help people ‘Be cautious, Be Kind, Be Calm’ when enjoying a night out – working together to get our town back on its feet , as safely as possible.”
The Street Angel project is run by the Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy, a registered charity, and was established in 2008, at a time, the chaplaincy says, “when aggression, antisocial behaviour and crime was a growing problem in the town centre”.
The project is supported by churches, businesses and people from the Guildford area.
Before lockdown the Street Angels project had been helping some 5,000 people a year, between 10.30pm and 4am, every Friday and Saturday night.
The chaplaincy adds: “The Street Angels are proud that the police, nightclub doormen, paramedics and CCTV operators value their contribution to the safety of local streets, helping the town win the coveted Purple Flag award. During this enforced suspension many of these angelic volunteers have transferred their skills to their sister befriending project, Community Angels, who have experienced a 300% increase in the demand for their befriending services.
Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy has continued to receive public recognition of its contribution to the community. Guildford Street Angels was awarded the Mayor of Guildford’s Award for Service to the Community 2020 and won Surrey and Hampshire Eagle Radio BizAwards Social Enterprise of the Year Award 2020.
It says it is is also proud to be the current chosen charity of the year for the Guildford Town Guides.
Organisations and people interested in finding out more about how they can support the work of the chaplaincy can find details on its website.
This story is based on a press release from the Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy.