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Chepstow Street Pastors get cash boost from Gwent Police boss

12:20pm Wednesday 22nd May 2013 in Monmouthshire news

GOOD Samaritans providing assistance to revellers in Chepstow have received a funding boost.

Chepstow Street Pastors, a group depending on donations to survive, is being given £2,500 from the Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner’s Fund.

Verena Evans, co-ordinator for the 16 volunteers who hand out items like blankets and drinks to people coming to Chepstow on a night out, said they were “extremely grateful.”

The Street Pastors was one of 32 groups out of 67 who are to receive money from the fund.

The money is raised from the sale of property and cash seized from criminals, as well as the disposal of unclaimed lost property.

During February, Gwent PCC Ian Johnston invited bids from groups and organisations and, following a process of assessing them, the pot has now been divided.

Ms Evans said: “We are extremely grateful that our involvement in the night time economy of Chepstow has been recognised.

“We are only there to help, and our volunteers from all the church communities in Chepstow pray that we will be able to continue to provide this care for many years to come.”

Mr Johnston said he was delighted the money is being made available to worthwhile causes which help to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

 

Monmouthshire Free Press

Chepstow Street Pastors are hailed as community heroes

9:40am Thursday 16th February 2012 by Lia Hind

ONE year on, Chepstow’s Street Pastors have been hailed the real community heroes by local residents, councillors and police officers.

The Street Pastors are made up of volunteer members of the town’s churches. They patrol the streets of Chepstow from Friday to Sunday between 10pm and 3pm in an attempt to keep late-night revellers safe from harm and out of trouble.

Since they first took to the streets in January 2010 [actually December 2010], during the most prolific snowfall seen in years, they have become somewhat of a cult figure in Chepstow, with many young pubgoers professing their night is not complete without a glimpse of the ‘street pasties’ as they are endearingly dubbed.

Armed with foil blankets, boiled sweets and plastic flip flops, they are the epitome of modern day Christianity in its most practical form. Their mantra is ‘to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, serving the community and protecting them from harm.’ And they do this in the most admirable way.

Speaking at last week’s Lower Wye Area Committee meeting, Street Pastor coordinator, Verena Evans said: “We find our biggest task is looking after females who are usually too worse for wear to get home safely or walk in their heels.

“Many are so scantily clad they end up freezing and that’s where the foil blankets come in. However, with the flip flops and blankets costing £1 each and over 200 of each being ordered in the last year she said there were concerns some people were abusing the handouts.

She said: “There has been a Facebook page on ‘How many flip flops can you get from the street pastors? Obviously, the blankets and flip flops are funded through donations and grants so the money does have to come from somewhere.”

She added: “Our biggest role though is looking after people in distress or have injured themselves so that the police can move on and target a bigger issue. We often wait with people while ambulances are called or help people get taxis home safe.”

Inspector Jim Walker, head of policing in Chepstow, commended the scheme, adding: “It’s invaluable to us.”

Councillors applauded the volunteers with Cllr Bob Greenland saying, “It really is the Christian message in its greatest form.”

Cllr Phillip Hobson said: “I think what you do is marvellous. I believe your presence in the town actually helps diffuse a lot of negative situations because you can intervene in a friendly and non-threatening way.”