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Our Year in Review- by Lorna Bedford (Coordinator)

As Christmas approaches and we reach the end of 2015 please join us as we give thanks to God for all He has done through the ministry that we share with our City. In the words of a certain song “Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of Canterbury, I’ll show you something of God in action………..”

The Coordinator’s Review 2015 by Lorna Bedford:

January This month the team endured some chilly nights and gave out over 20 Space Blankets. The cold did not impinge on the warmth and appreciation expressed to our team. Despite the arrangements made for the homeless over the winter months there were still an average of 12 people each week sleeping out.

February Love was in the air on Valentine’s evening as we distributed little packets of “Love heart Sweets”. This was a month for reuniting people. On several occasions we found lone females and asked the prayer team to pray that we might successfully reconnect them with their friends!

March This month one name used for our team was “The Sober Police!” Clearly our team does encounter many drunken people. This month a drunken young lady comes to mind who had recently lost her mother. It was a privilege to talk to her has she expressed her sadness over the sickness and sadness that her family were experiencing. In these situations we value the presence of the prayer team back at base supporting us as we support others.

April Easter means Eggs! Well it means more than eggs! We decided to offer mini-chocolate eggs to those out and about on the Easter weekend this gave us many opportunities to chat to doorstaff and folk enjoying their night out in the city. It was a month of encouragements from people we had helped. Also earlier in the year both Waitrose and Asda contributed to our work by enabling us to be part of their Green Token Schemes.

May One of the useful things we carry with us on patrol is a “Power Monkey” this enables us to provide power to a mobile phone that has ‘died’. This was used with great success to relocate people who had lost contact and got separated on their night out. In May there were many students out enjoying the City and our team was told, “You make Canterbury”

June Plasters and Flip-flops were at the ready this month for damaged feet. There was also free fashion advice given as to which colour flip-flops (Pink or Blue) would go best with a young ladies out fit. This month Pastor David Bedford from St Andrew’s Church in Watling Street joined us on patrol. Our team would like to express here our thanks to St Andrew’s for their provision of a warm and welcoming base for our team.

July Summer is here and the birds are getting up even before our team gets to bed! It is very strange to come off duty at 4am and find it is getting light already. Sadly we note that this month there was a fire at the Tannery and the town was clogged with traffic and a very smoky atmosphere spread across the town.

August With the students gone home the nighttime economy seemed to bustle with groups of young people from the surrounding areas some demonstrating not to pleasant behaviour. This month Rev. Mark Ball the City Centre vicar was the second of local church leaders to join us on patrol and see the impact our team has in the City.

September Hen Parties, Brides were very evident this month and students began to return. One Hen party tried to give the team a lovely pink balloon as a present, we resisted this gift and gave out lollipops to the girls. The Clubs and bars were all ready for the Students. Chill was rebranded at Steinbeck and Shaw and Club Chemistry had fire jugglers to entertain the queue waiting to get into the club. Street Pastor Training recommenced this month with 5 new recruits training to join the Canterbury team.

October The main event was Halloween! The City was full of people out partying after New Year it is probably the second busiest night in the year. The Lord Mayor Sally Waters joined us on patrol as an observer, Canterbury Street Pastors is one her chosen charities this year. After her experience she commented on how very much appreciated and well received our team was as part of the night economy.

November The wind it doth blow! This month we had out first very cold night of the winter season that can’t help but leave you thinking “Why would you go out without a coat on a night like this?” Some nights things don’t always go to plan and a young lady who was drunk and epileptic who were helping was literally carried away over the shoulder of a friend as the police arrived. Clearly they were happy for our help but wanted nothing to do with the Police. Our prayers were all we could offer as they disappeared into the darkness.

December We are happy to report that our registration as a charity has now gone through. In this Advent month we look forward to celebrating afresh the gift of the birth of our Saviour. At this time of giving we thank you for your support and interest in this ministry a “Gift to our City.” For the Christmas weekend we gave away over 70 chocolate coins as we spread Christmas Joy across the City. Note: 2015 marked the Launched of our Charity 100 Club this is where we ask individuals to commit to regularly giving £5.00 a month to support our ministry.

Finally: I leave you with some of Laura’s words from a Facebook message “The world is full of such darkness that your kindness was a breath of fresh air! Thank you once again and keep up your lovely work as you have inspired us to show a bit more kindness.”