Saturday 29th April 2023 saw the launch of a new Safe Zone vehicle for Street and School pastors across Moray. The photograph shows four of our volunteers, Nick Hanover, David Goldie, Colin Green and Ian Simpson standing in front of the vehicle. It was purchased using grants obtained from two sources of funding, namely £46,000 from the Just Transition Participatory Budget fund and £10,000 from the NHS Grampian Endowment Fund. Morayvia supported us with the logos. We are very grateful for the help they have all provided.
Street Pastors regularly meet people on the street who are vulnerable through alcohol and/or drugs, or have health problems, both physical and mental and recognise us as people they can open up to. Our ethos is caring, listening and helping. Having somewhere warm we can take vulnerable people to is a great help and gives us more time to speak to people and maybe signpost them to other agencies where they can get support, and hopefully lead to early intervention.
We also hope to be able to use the vehicle outside schools when we are engaged in our school pastor work. Our aim is to help schools improve the health and wellbeing of the students.
We could also use it to target other communities where people need our support.
Information on Elgin Street Pastors
Elgin Street Pastors is a SCIO, number SC043649. We are volunteers from churches across Moray. We go out in teams of four most Saturday nights from 10.00pm to 4.00am in Elgin City Centre, engaging with people on the streets, to listen, care and offer practical help, especially to those who are in a vulnerable state through alcohol or drugs. We also have school pastors who engage with students at Elgin High School and Forres Academy to listen, care and offer practical help in partnership with the schools.
Street Pastors are now a worldwide Christian organisation founded in London in 2003 and who play an active part in strengthening community life and working for safer streets. From starting with three teams of six in Hackney in 2003 there are now 14,000 trained street pastors worldwide in 282 locations. They formed in Elgin in 2013.
Every Saturday night in Elgin town centre from 10.00pm until 4.00am a team of Street Pastors will go out on patrol to serve the community by being a calming presence on the streets. They have time to listen to people who often trust them enough to share their troubles and deepest fears. They show love in practical ways, such as giving flip flops to those who feet are sore and whose high heels are too high by the end of the night. They also hand out bottles of water to help with dehydration caused by alcohol consumption and of course lollipops which provide a sugar boost and also prevent people getting themselves into trouble. People are unlikely to start arguing or shouting abuse if they are sucking on a lollipop. Street Pastors also help those who have become separated from friends by staying with them and helping find their friends or to arrange another safe way home. They carry basic First Aid, space blankets, beanie hats and shower ponchos.
Although Street Pastors are all Christian volunteers they are not there to preach, but will happily share their faith with anyone who asks them questions about it. They would like people to know that Jesus loves them.