Aberdeen Street Pastors (ASP), which started in Oct 2007, had the pleasure of commissioning 6 of its 8 newest volunteers on Wed 30th Mar 2022 at the Caf4é at Credo.
The commissioning was led by Chris Jewell, CEO of Ascension Trust (Scotland). Among the guests were the Lord Provost, Barney Crockett, soon-to-be retiring Chief Superintendent George MacDonald of Police Scotland, his replacement Chief Superintendent Kate Stephen and Adrian Watson, CEO of Aberdeen Inspired.
The occasion also took time to recognise that Rob Denning and Gerry Bowyer were both stepping down as Directors of Aberdeen Street Pastors. They have both been with ASP for almost 15 years and were instrumental in developing the organisation that it is today. Thanks were expressed to both of them for their immense commitment to the work of ASP and their love of serving the community. Peter Turner, who has been an SP in Aberdeen since 2007, was introduced as the new Chairman replacing Rob.
Thirteen faithful and dedicated volunteers were also recognised for their service of over 10 years to Aberdeen Street Pastors. We are very thankful for the opportunity to come together to celebrate all our volunteers, both new and energetic, and those who have served faithfully for a long time.
We are glad to report from our Inverclyde Street Pastors team that they have met another person whose previous chat with Street Pastors averted her possible suicide. We give thanks for this intervention and chat.
St. John Perth and Kinross
hand over a life-saving defibrillator
to Perth Street Pastors
“Early defibrillation can improve outcome in cardiac arrests. Street Pastors are often called to incidents in the city centre and having immediate access to a defibrillator will allow them to treat casualties quickly, and give them the best chance of survival,” Dr. Ian Morrison, St. John Scotland Perth & Kinross CPR lead.
“Street Pastors are on the streets to listen help and care for anyone in any need. As we are in mobile contact with other agencies they can contact us and through the kind donation of this defibrillator we can help and possibly save a life.”
Gordon Loudon, chair, Perth Street Pastors.
“We are delighted to hand over this defibrillator to Street Pastors in Perthshire. St John Scotland Perth& Kinross has an on-going campaign to roll out and facilitate the installation of defibrillators throughout the area, on this occasion it is the result of a generous donation from an anonymous Perth resident.”
Janice Webster, Chair of St. John Scotland Perth and Kinross committee.
“As Street Pastors in some 20 areas of Scotland seek to listen, help and care, people have many and varied needs. The very kind provision of this defibrillator will facilitate helping in one of the more obvious needs, which can happen to anyone at any time anywhere”
Rev Sandy Gunn, Vice-Chair, Street Pastors, Scotland
In the Photo
Dr. Ian Morrison, St. John Scotland P&K CPR Lead
Janice Webster, Chair St. John Scotland P&K
Hilary Mackenzie, Secretary, St. John Scotland P&K
Gordon Loudon, Chair Perth Street Pastors
Ian Roy, Coordinator, Perth Street Pastors
Rev. Sandy Gunn, Vice-Chair, Street Pastors Scotland.
Stirling Street Pastors patrolling Stirling Railway Station
“For every life lost on the railway, six are saved by those around them”, Samaritans.
Network Rail’s suicide prevention programme in Scotland partners with ScotRail, Samaritans, British Transport Police, Railway Mission and Street Pastors to reduce suicide on the railway. In Stirling, we were approached last year to see if we could help in the Stirling area after there had been several incidents on local lines and stations.
Street Pastors are all trained and experienced in Listening Skills and supporting Mental Health, including suicidal thoughts, so we agreed to help however we could.
The first thing we could easily do was to extend our evening patrols onto the platforms at Stirling station. We used to only go as far as the ticket barriers, and were always welcomed by station staff and British Transport Police. After some platform training by ScotRail, we started these patrols at the end of January.
Eventually, there may be the option of setting up a full Rail Pastor service similar to what is being done in Paisley, Inverclyde and Fife.
Everyone can help reduce suicides on the railways, sometimes just by making small talk with anyone who just doesn’t seem to look right. The Samaritans say, “Small Talk Saves Lives”. Here’s a BTP video that just shows the difference that we all can make.
Councillors have praised the selfless work of Stirling’s Street Pastors who have continued their unique work helping revellers and the homeless this festive period.
Public meeting December 4th at 12noon in the Tontine Hotel, Greenock
With the Covid restrictions lifting, Inverclyde Street Pastors have been back out again in the night time economy around the pubs and clubs, listening, helping and caring. Operating in Inverclyde since October 2010, initially in Greenock, their teams now are also in Gourock and Port Glasgow and on local trains as Rail Pastors.
With their gentle approach plus flip flops, thermal blankets, lollipops and first aid, they strike up many conversations during the course of an evening and are able to be of practical help as well as being a listening ear for those who find themselves in difficulties. The Pastors are all volunteers and they know they are effective because of what people tell them, even to the point of saving some from suicide, plus they get loads of thanks for what they do. The recent pandemic has left many, many people, both young and old, with mental health issues and Street Pastors can chat to them and signpost them for help.
Inverclyde Street Pastor Co-ordinator Alistair McAlees said, ‘We would like to do more, but need to add to our Street pastor numbers before we can do so. We hope that there might be people out there for whom this might be an attractive way to serve our local community, assuming they are 18 or older (no upper age limit), have a Christian faith and church background and have a heart for their local community to engage with them in this way. Full free training is given and the commitment is just to be out on patrol with us on one Saturday evening every four weeks.
‘We are holding a short open meeting in the Tontine Hotel on Saturday 4th December at 12noon, with tea and coffee available from 11.30am, to show in more detail what we do, and would encourage folks to come along to this occasion. There will also be the opportunity to come out on one of our patrols, without obligation, to get a better idea of where we go and what we do.’
More information generally about Street Pastors in Scotland can be found at www.scotland.asceniontrust.org.uk or by getting in touch with Alistair on 07740 201 853 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Scottish Street Pastors have met a request from St Andrew’s University to provide placements as part of the training of medical students. In Scotland there are 600 experienced Street Pastors who have had training, PVG checks, and are on the streets with the support of Police Scotland, the Scottish Government and localauthorities. Their uniformed teams are on the streets of 20 towns and cities from approx 10pm – 3 or 4 am one or two nights a week to “listen, help and care”.
Life on the streets is unpredictable with the teams coming across all kinds of people with mental health issues, ex-service issues, problems connected with addiction, homelessness, disclosures of abuse, suicide threats, etc. The students report positively learning how to listen. and comment on the importance of team support and morale, as in the appended report. Below is the report.
An example to be followed by other medical schools ! Further information may be had from email@example.com