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Town Pastors’ crime reduction work in Suffolk is rewarded with £50k grant

PUBLISHED: 19:05 06 October 2016

The launch of the Leiston Town Pastors scheme.

The launch of the Leiston Town Pastors scheme.

Archant

Launch of a new Town Pastors scheme in a community plagued by night-time anti-social behaviour has been marked by the grant of £50,000 towards the projects that run across Suffolk.

Leiston Town Pastors are the 11th in the county and and members will be on the town’s streets from next month on Friday nights working in partnership with police to help those in trouble.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said the schemes prevented situations escalating into crime and saved the force tens of thousands of pounds a year.

Mr Passmore has made a grant of £50,000 to the pastors for the next year to help with running costs through his Crime Disorder and Reduction fund and say it is “without a doubt money very well spent”.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted to see the launch of the Town Pastor scheme in Leiston. I’ve seen at first hand the excellent work of the Town Pastors and am overwhelmed by their commitment.

“I spent an evening with the pastors in Ipswich and it was a real eye opener for me, it really helped me understand just how vulnerable some people can become on a fun evening out.

“The care and compassion of the pastors, all of whom are volunteers was particularly striking – apart from providing bottles of water or chocolate, the assistance and advice given by them clearly has a very positive effect in helping to keep our towns safe on Fridays and Saturdays.”

Christians in Leiston have joined together to set up the Town Pastors project. The town has suffered problems with anti-social behavour and there has been increased concern since the changes to policing with Police Community Support Officers no longer working evenings, when many of the problems arise.

The Rt Rev Dr Mike Harrison, Bishop of Dunwich, said the Town Pastors was “a great example of unfussy service provided by motivated, well-intentioned and properly trained Christian volunteers who are prepared to walk the streets in all weathers, late at night, for the sake of others”.

He said: “The Town Pastors initiative is unique in its contribution to community life – providing a listening ear, supporting and caring for potentially vulnerable people in our towns at night – activity which is undergirded by prayer from other volunteers while the Town Pastors are out and about.”

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