Street Angels was launched in November 2005 as a response to issues in the night-time economy in Halifax town centre. The town was known as the 'Wild West of West Yorkshire' and on weekend evenings between 8 and 12,000 people would be out and about in the town centre with violence, sexual assaults, binge and under-age drinking common place. Paul Blakey with a small team of others from the local church believed as Christians that the town deserved better and made plans to open a safe-place drop in at a cafe owned by Churches Together and the YMCA.
With support from the local church, police, local authority, etc the idea became a reality a few weeks later as we launched on Friday 25th November 2005. Amazingly 50 people arrived to volunteer, far too many to wait in the cafe to help those who were or could become vulnerable! So teams also went out on patrol and this is when Street Angels was born.
In the first 12 months violent crime in Halifax town centre reduced by 42%, These fluorescent jacket wearing teams of volunteers, armed with flip-flops, first aid kits, lollipops and kindness were part of the solution towards creating a better night-time economy. Our heart was, and still is, to love the person in front of us including: those who find themselves homeless; families and elderly people leaving the theatre and wanting someone to walk with them to their car; young people who have lost contact with friends; those who have drunk too much; those needing low level medical assistance; young ladies needing flip-flops because the high heels are impossible to walk in; young men in need of a lollipop to calm aggression or to help reduce noise as a nightclub empties; or simply those wanting to chat or ask directions - our Street Angel teams are out and about for others!
Several of our projects also run a safe place drop-in (including mobile support units and cafes) and sometimes have names that better suit the locality (such as Town Pastors, Street Chaplains and Street Lights). Street Angels teams often do extra events such as summer galas, Christmas lights switch-on and sporting events helping ensure that every local team is an important part of the local community. Local Street Angels have also attracted a wide range of guests who join them on patrol including MP's, celebrities, Bishop's, Police and Crime Commissioners and High Sheriff's! Our teams have won awards and received the attention of national and international media with TV, radio, newspaper, magazine features and even a comic strip made of our amazing volunteer teams in action.
Our volunteers are all trained locally in a wide range of areas (conflict awareness, drugs and alcohol, human trafficking, ex-military, etc) and work in full partnership with a wide range of different agencies and local pubs and clubs. The model we think works best is church and community working together and the projects who are part of ROC Angels work within a Christian ethos.
Safer and Stronger Communities
Street Angels is the church and community working together that helps create safer and stronger communities. Through the simplicity of loving the person in front of you our amazing teams have helped thousands of people and contributed to significant reductions in violent crime and anti-social behaviour. Street Angels works!
Street Angels predominantly run with amazing teams of volunteers. If you want to be part of a local patrol team or safe place drop in visit the Projects page to find the team nearest to you and contact them directly.
To start a Street Angels in your locality please contact us. You will need: support from the local church; the backing of agencies such as the police, local authority and BID; a group of people who can form a steering group to help with logistics such as volunteer recruitment and ensuring the project operates to a high standard; finance; volunteers. ROC Angels can offer you support, advice and various resources.