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Street Pastors engage with people on the streets to care for them, listen to them and help them. They work together with other partners in the night-time economy to make communities safer.
Street pastor teams across Wiltshire are now trained to deploy in an emergency or crisis. The volunteer response pastors can now be called on in the event of an emergency or major incident to provide support services such as caring, listening and additional help.
Wiltshire response pastors are represented at schemes in Chippenham, Salisbury, Warminster, Trowbridge and Swindon. So far 26 volunteers have been trained at the first session on Saturday July 2.
Michael Weeks, coordinator of Wiltshire response pastors said: “Street pastors already hold a set of skills that can benefit the communities we serve, not just on our normal Saturday night deployments in our towns. With this extra training we will be in a position to potentially help our communities further if required.”
Cllr Peter Hutton, portfolio holder for public protection at Wiltshire Council, said: “ Wiltshire is very fortunate to have energetic and dedicated street pastor teams across the county.
“The development and introduction of a response pastor team to deal with large scale events and emergencies can only be seen as a positive for community safety across Wiltshire”.
Paul Williams, the Wiltshire and Swindon Local Resilience Forum Manager, said: “We are delighted to support this training. Response pastors play a valuable role in helping to support people at times of crisis. Their presence in our area is very positive, should we have to respond to a major incident locally”.
The response pastor initiative was originally developed in London after talks between the Ascension Trust, the Christian charity responsible for response and street pastors, the Metropolitan Police and resilience forums.