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Street Pastors Portsmouth

About Us

Portsmouth Street & School Pastors

Street Pastors (Portsmouth) is a registered charity (No: 1120012) and company (No: 06196054) which develops and coordinates teams of Christians who volunteer their time to visit Portsmouth’s night time economy and secondary schools. Street Pastors (Portsmouth) employs a small number of part time staff to coordinate the street and school pastor initiative and provide administrative duties, and is governed by a board of trustees, while coming under the umbrella of The Ascension Trust. 

Portsmouth Street Pastors

Origins

Portsmouth Street Pastors first launched in 2007 as a response from Portsmouth’s churches to prayerfully seek opportunities to come together as One Body, and be the hands and feet of Jesus in the night time economy of our city. 

Volunteers

Since 2007, hundreds of Christians from Portsmouth and beyond have spent time patrolling the city’s hotspots and supporting other events as trained volunteers. Some of our current team have been there from the beginning, while others are now training and taking their first observations in preparation to joining a team. 

Volunteers complete one patrol per month on average.

Patrols

Our volunteer teams visit night time economy hotspots in the city including Guildhall Walk and Guildhall Square as well as Albert Road and Palmerston Road. These patrols normally take place between 7pm – 2am. In addition, street pastors are often requested to provide a presence at local festivals and events. In recent years this has included Victorious Festival and the D-Day 75th Anniversary celebrations.

During 2020 street pastors cooperated with local police and authorities by adapting the usual patrols to provide a presence along Southsea seafront, between Old Portsmouth and Eastney, as well as the common and Palmerston Road. This took place across the summer to assist in engaging with local residents as they dealt with the anxieties and challenges of COVID-19.

Purpose

Our volunteers, with the support of prayer pastors, seek to provide a listening, caring and helpful presence. Practically, this includes supporting people who have lost their friends, are struggling due to alcohol or drugs intake, are experiencing upset or pain, or appear to be under threat and vulnerable in their current state. Spiritually, we are patrolling under the guidance and protection of the holy spirit, sharing the heart of Jesus Christ through our actions and words, to provide a calming presence where it is needed most. 

Support and Security

Every new volunteer will take part in official training which is overseen by The Ascension Trust, and organised at the national, regional or local level. Training sessions, which include a combination of online and in-person events include:

  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Safeguarding
  • Active Listening
  • Mental Health
  • School Pastors and Youth Cultures
  • Drugs & Alcohol Awareness 
  • Safety on the Streets
  • A Biblical Basis for Street Pastors

All volunteers are required to complete a refresher training session at least every 3 years from first being licensed. Each volunteer provides a church leader and general reference, and carries a DBS certification which has been registered within the last 3 years. 

Impact

In 2019 we recorded 2,494 ‘contacts’ counted during patrols through conversation and help, which was made up of:

  • 307 incidents of alcohol or substance 
  • 382 vulnerable 
  • 60 incidences requiring ‘active calming’
  • 56 incidences requiring ‘passive calming’ 

We also collected 5,760 discarded bottles and cans and handed out 203 pairs of flip-flops, 127 water bottles, and 20 emergency blankets to help retain body heat and modesty.

Portsmouth School Pastors 

Origins

With Portsmouth Street Pastors well established, we were seeing a growing need for a similar presence in Portsmouth’s secondary schools. In 2016, 5 newly trained and licensed volunteers completed their first visit to Charter Academy in the city centre. In 2018, with a growing volunteer base, 2 of the original team members joined another 2 new volunteers to begin visits to Miltoncross Academy to the east of the city.

Volunteers

At the beginning of 2020, we had over 20 trained volunteers visiting our 2 secondary schools at lunch and break times. Our teams of between 3- 4 came from a range of local churches as well as university christian groups, ranged between age 18 to 75, with different life and career experiences, from university students to retired teachers, council workers, and ministers. 

Patrols

Our normal visits include Monday, Wednesday and Friday lunch times at Charter Academy and Tuesday break times at Miltoncross. These visits are spent walking around the school communal areas, such as playgrounds, canteen areas and libraries, and enjoying conversation with familiar and new faces. 

During 2020 school pastors were required to stop visiting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since September 2020, with the agreement of the school, visits had begun again by a small team. Unfortunately these were put on a pause again with the second lockdown. We are excited to get going again in the new year, and to add to our number of volunteers, churches, and schools involved. 

Purpose

Our volunteers, with the support of prayer pastors, seek to provide friendship, safety and care to the whole school community. We are there as an impartial, non-judgemental adult presence, happy to talk about whatever is on children and staff members’ minds. This can range from introductions and light jokes, through to the very real anxieties and challenges of being a young person or teacher today. We do not promise to ‘keep promises’ to those who talk with us (and maintaining open links with safeguarding personnel), but we do aim to provide trustworthy support where it is needed.

Support and Security

Every new volunteer will take part in official training which is overseen by The Ascension Trust, and organised at the national, regional or local level. Training sessions, which include a combination of online and in-person events include:

  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Safeguarding
  • Active Listening
  • Mental Health
  • Youth Cultures
  • Drugs & Alcohol Awareness 

All volunteers are required to complete a refresher training session at least every 3 years from first being licensed. Each volunteer provides a church leader and general reference, and carries a DBS certification which has been registered within the last 3 years. 

Impact

In 2019, we recorded 6,063 ‘interactions’ across the 2 schools, which was made up of:

  • 135 visits
  • 3,645 greetings with staff and teachers
  • 2,418 conversations with students