The work of Halifax Street Angels celebrated its tenth anniversary at a special event in Halifax's historic Minster.
The event, ten years to the day since the first Street Angels was launched, celebrated the work and impact of volunteers in the town centre's night-time economy.
The evening started with the patron of Street Angels - Christian Nightlife Initiatives (CNI) Network, Bishop of Wakefield, Right Reverend Tony Robinson, thanking those who have made Street Angels a reality and sharing his own experiences of joining the teams in Halifax, Wakefield and Huddersfield.
The founder, Paul Blakey MBE, spoke about the reputation of Halifax as the 'Wild West of West Yorkshire' and how this pioneering work has changed that around. Paul shared how Halifax Street Angels had a vision to help and support other communities set up similar projects working on the streets, inside clubs, at music festivals and sporting events and within A&E departments. Today there are one hundred and thirty local projects in what MP Holly Lynch describes as "one of Halifax's greatest exports to the UK and beyond." The coordinator of Stockton Town Pastors, Steve Brock, shared how the Halifax team and CNI Network was instrumental in launching the nine projects in the North East region.
Volunteer Tom Black spoke about seeing the Street Angels out and about as he enjoyed a night out and one day waking up to discover the Street Angels team had helped him the night before. Deciding to give up on night's out he became a Street Angel which had given him life skills that had helped him become a better and more confident person.
Ben Doughty and Dudley Martin thanked the volunteers on behalf of Calderdale Police. The Purple Flag award for Halifax demonstrates the impact and value the flourscent yellow wearing team have made in the town centre as a visible presence, the provision of a safe place drop-in and integration of services received excellent/outstanding in last years Purple Flag assessment. Working with Bus Oasis the Police and Street Angels are to provide a mobile support base in the heart of the town centre over this years Christmas period.
The evening concluded with Ellis King, Leah Mullins and Trevor Bendrien sharing the future vision for the work in Halifax including opening Angels Rest cafe as a youth drop-in on Thursday evenings and for hot meals and company for homeless or lonely people on Sunday evenings.
For more information on the work in Halifax visit www.halifaxstreetangels.org.uk . For more information on the work of CNI Network across the UK and overseas visit www.cninetwork.org.uk .