Shrewsbury Street Pastors has a new piece of kit to help those who are “poorly” following drugs or alcohol over indulgence. It’s called “The Donkey”. This is our Shrewsbury Street Pastors triage support vehicle. This was felt to be a bit cumbersome as a name – so The Donkey was born. It is a reclaimed Shropshire Youth bus, with fifteen seats, several tables, and a complete kitchen area, including a sink! We can make hot drinks, supply water, flip-flops, lollies, space blankets, disposable sick bags, tissues and prayers to those in need. It even has a wheel-chair access lifting devise. It first went out on 28th November when Shrewsbury was being assessed for its Purple Flag award, and it has been out most Saturday evenings and New Year’s Eve since then.

The Donkey team has been working along out existing Street pastors team to pick and care for those in need. It always has an experienced driver, and a Donkey team mate on board to help those who need our assistance. The Ambulance service has supplied us with first aid equipment, including a defibulator, and red blankets. We have supplied the “sicky” buckets, with lids for those who are needing to part with the excess alcohol. All the Donkey team will receive essential first aid training and those who drive the vehicle will also have some advanced driving training as trying to reverse a 7 ½ ton vehicle needs different skills to reversing a family car around a corner which we all did on our driving tests!

We have had 184 people on board so far, 33 who needed help in various ways, served 75 hot drinks, and visited 28 different locations around town. We plan to visit the churches around Shrewsbury, not – I hasten to add, because they are under the influence – but looking for volunteers to further our ability to help those who need it in the wee small hours of a Saturday evening/Sunday morning in our town of Shrewsbury.

How many Street Pastors initiatives can claim to have entertained the High Sherriff and his wife, representatives from the Police & Crime Commissioner Office, paramedics from West Midlands ambulance service, the Town Clerk, etc. etc. on a triage support vehicle in such comfort? We are well blessed!