Manchester’s Street Pastors have been patrolling the city centre since mid-2011, listening, caring and helping vulnerable people in the area late at night. They are like that extremely caring, sober friend everyone should have with them when they’ve had one drink too many.
An estimated 100,000 people visit Manchester city centre every weekend and inevitably after a few sherries, not all those people are able to go on their merry way without engaging in some kind of altercation.
These groups of volunteers patrol areas like Piccadilly Gardens, the Northern Quarter and The Printworks between the hours of 10pm – 3am with the primary goal of preventing anti-social behaviour and protecting the inebriated from harm.
Their work includes picking up and disposing of glass bottles, helping people get into taxis, giving out flip-flops to women who are walking barefoot and providing bottles of water. They also step in if they see any aggressive behaviour and break up the fight if necessary and contact the authorities.”
As part of an effort to support them, Walkabout in The Printworks are donating bottled water and allowing the team to use areas of their bar to store equipment.
It’s not all about aggression, however. The Street Pastors also approach people who are alone and look lost or are in an unresponsive state, and try to ensure they receive the attention and help they need to get home safely.
They’ve also been known to provide homeless people with food, blankets and information about organisations like Barnabas.
So if you see them, give them a smile. They deserve one.