Pastors hit streets for first time to ease Hucknall trouble

A STREET Pastor on duty in Hucknall

A STREET Pastor on duty in Hucknall

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THE VOLUNTEER Street Pastors have arrived in Hucknall — and immediately pledged to give support to the town’s Christmas Carnival.

The innovative scheme sees Christians give their time for free to work in the town centre and help keep it trouble-free on Friday nights by chatting to drinkers.

A commissioning service took place at Watnall Road Baptist Church before the 18-strong group worked the streets from 7 pm to 11 pm.

The aim isn’t to preach to revellers and groups of young people but to chat with them about problems they may be having. Te aim is to prevent any anti-social behaviour that might flare.

Now, after their first night, the Pastors have agreed to work on Carnival night on Wednesday December 7.

The arrival of the Street Pastors has been backed by the town’s police chief, Insp Nick Butler.

After their first night, which was reported as quiet, Insp Butler said: “I have to say a big thankyou to the Street Pastors. There is no greater gift you can give than your time.

“These people are remarkable.”

The volunteers, who wear distinctive blue jackets and work in groups of three, focus on a patrol loop that includes the town’s main Tesco store, Hucknall Leisure Centre and High Street. They can also direct people to other services.

There is a possibility their role may extend to Saturday nights and continue past 11 pm in the future.

Coun John Wilmott (Lab), of Hucknall, who is deputy leader of Ashfield District Council, was at the church ceremony.

He said: “Street Pastors aim to see that people are safe and I am pleased they will be working with the police and council in our ambition to prevent anti-social behaviour and criminal acts in the town centre.

“Many people visit the town centre over the weekend and this will encourage more people to visit Hucknall, making it a more enjoyable place for all.”