Preston and South Ribble Street Pastors are amongst those who have received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, announced today. This award was created by Her Majesty in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation ‘recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups’. The citation says it’s for ‘strengthening community life by listening, caring, and helping those on our streets.
Ian Higginbotham, the current Chairman, and one of the four volunteers who have been members from the outset in 2008 said “It is an understatement to say that the Street Pastor team members who’ve served on the streets of our city for the past 10 years are absolutely thrilled to receive this award. We are ordinary folk with a passion to show the love of God in practical ways on our streets”
“We’ve helped a lot of people get safely home after a night out, either by giving out flip flops, water to drink, and in extreme cases arranging a taxi. We’ve helped vulnerable people in drink who were unable to help themselves – saving valuable police time and sharing love and grace with those in need. It is very gratifying to be stopped in the street later by those we have helped, who want to thank us.”
Often people will ask us faith driven questions, as they feel they have no one else they trust to ask. For many, we are the only church folk they meet, and we are privileged to have some great conversations.
“People say we are the good Samaritans who care for those who have been mugged by things that have made a mess of their lives, and they find themselves in a heap on the floor. Some have been beset by alcohol, drugs, or bad decisions. It’s said that most people are no more than three or four bad decisions away from being on the street, and we meet those on their first night out ‘on the street’ who are bewildered about what has happened, and what to do next. We listen, help, encourage and signpost them to where help is available, and supply food, hot drinks, warm clothing and sleeping bags”
“This award is a brilliant recognition for those volunteers aged from 18-80 who have served in all weathers until the early hours of the morning. To them, and to those who nominated us for this award – a massive thank you.”
Preston & South Ribble Street Pastors is local charity and part of the national Street Pastors initiative. There are 50 volunteers from 20 churches across Preston. Launched in 2008, we will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary in December this year. During 2017/18 we offered 1,520 hours of service walking Preston and South Ribble’s streets; stopped to talk with 3,260 people; given out 185 pairs of flip flops; provided a hot drink and snack to people on 1485 occasions; given 181 items of warm clothing to the homeless; and picked up and binned 1340 glass bottles.
Contact: Dave Brown – Coordinator on 07794 008767