Pastor project hits the streets

20/9/14- Bexhill Fire Station open day. Street Pastor Eddie Harvey and volunteer Alex Moore SUS-140920-183144001

20/9/14- Bexhill Fire Station open day. Street Pastor Eddie Harvey and volunteer Alex Moore SUS-140920-183144001

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A team of Street Pastors are set to play a key role in keeping people safe when they swing into action this weekend.

They will be patrolling the centre of Rye from 10pm - 4am on Saturday offering assistance to people who are distressed, vulnerable and worse the wear for drink.

The scheme has been put into action after being piloted in Rye last summer.

The Rye team, of seven, will be assisted by Street Pastors from Bexhill, where the project has been running successfully since 2012.

They will be recognisable by distinctive jackets and caps.

Hastings has had Street Pastors for many years and police there say they have helped to make a difference.

Malcolm Harris, from the Rye team said: “Research conducted by Kingston University has shown that crime rates go down in towns where Street Pastors are active.

“Some Pastors are connected to churches but we don’t preach and we are non-judgmental, We are there to listen and to provide practical support for vulnerable people, including those who are homeless or have had too much to drink.

“We are equipped with blankets, water bottles and first aid kits and can offer hot drinks.

“We will also be removing any broken bottles or empty cans to help make the streets a bit safer.”

A specil comissioning service for the Rye Street Pastor project takes place at Rye Baptist Church, Cinque Ports Street, on Saturday May 2 at 6.30pm.

The scheme will also be extended to Camber.