Dedicated to looking after people who become vulnerable through excessive alcohol consumption or sleeping rough at night, the Street Pastors play a special role in protecting the patrons and participants of Stirling’s night time economy.
The group of Christian volunteers from local churches selflessly take to the streets of the city centre on Friday and Saturday nights, offering all manner of support, from first aid to even just handing out flip-flops or teas or coffee.
Needed now more than ever
Stirling Street Pastors Co-Ordinator Russell Boyd said: “We are needed more than ever on the streets. As well as people presenting with alcohol and drug use, we are also seeing many more mental health issues.
“A lot of these have been exacerbated by Covid, but there are also loneliness or family issues that come to the front around Christmas for many.
“It often helps these people to just talk to a stranger, and most people now know that the Street Pastors are there to care, listen and help. People often open up to us, saying that they have never talked about their problems to anyone before.
“We offer a friendly ear and prayer if they want that, which they often do, and will signpost to other services if they are ready to seek more help.”
A treasured part of Stirling's support network
Convenor of Stirling Council's Public Safety Committee, Councillor Scott Farmer said: “The Street Pastors are a valuable and treasured part of the network of support for night time revellers in the City.
“The Stirling Street Pastors are the very personification of the season of goodwill. As Christmas approaches and Stirling city centre gets busy with festive revellers, it is reassuring to know that these selfless volunteers are on hand should anyone need a little help.”
Caring, listening and helping
Vice Convenor, Councillor Chris Kane, said: “It’s not uncommon for people to overindulge at this time of year or become vulnerable because of alcohol. The Street Pastors initiative is a means of caring, listening and helping those in need in a completely non-judgemental manner.
“We all need someone who cares and I know there is a real respect and admiration for the efforts that the Stirling Street Pastors put in to look after people.”
The Street Pastors are currently looking for volunteers to start training in February next year. Any interested people with a Christian background can find out more by visiting www.streetpastors.org/locations/stirling/ or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.