Saturday 29 January 2011

The Joy of Street Angels

Last night in the city centre, I spent another shift as a team leader on the Street Angels project. It has been over three years since I got the scheme started and last night may have been my 100th Shift on the streets of Bradford.

I've seen a lot on those nights, but last night typified all that is good about the project. We set out to prevent people becoming victims on their night out, to avoid their unnecessary criminalisation (a night in the cells) or hospitalisation (wasting A&E time when they actually just need to get home safely)

One man was quite drunk, and getting on and off buses at the Interchange. The security guard was about to call the police. I recognised the man, I had actually been to his house when working as a drugs worker. I helped him find his ticket and got him on the right bus home.

Later, we came across a guy in a terrible state, about to cross a road and likely to have caused himself a lot of harm. We sat with him, found a number for his mum, and kept him warm until she came to pick him up.

These things may sound small, but over the years they add up to thousands of lives who have been helped in some small way by this project and many others like it across the country. It is proof that groups of committed citizens can make difference to their communities, that people of faith can serve the places they live even in the most unlikely of places.

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