17th Oct 2017
Churches Together took the lead on setting up the Street Angels team in South Shields following a meeting with Northumbria Police, South Tyneside Community Safety Team, local councillors and residents. In 2017 the group received a £3,000 contribution from the P&G fund at Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland towards the cost of providing the service.
“Whilst patrolling the streets between 10.30pm and 3am at weekends our team often come across people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and are often confused,” says June Valente who oversees the project. “They may have lost their friends, phone, money or had falls and be injured. Some may be homeless and sleeping rough. Without help there is a serious risk that they might become victims of crime, or even commit offences themselves”.
The team carries back packs containing basic first aid equipment, flip flops to give to those walking bare foot, space blankets to keep people warm, bottles of water and snacks. As well as providing practical help to keep people safe, it signposts to housing services, drop-in centres, food banks, mental health and any other relevant services.
“We are now a well established presence on the streets of South Shields at weekends”, says June.”People actively seek us out for assistance. We carry radio's linked to South Tyneside Community Safety Team at Camera Control and are often called upon to give support and assistance. Working closely with the Police and the door supervisors we are supported by our local Pubwatch. "