Street Pastors’ work was a ‘privilege and an honour”

A KIND-HEARTED squad whose work to make Rotherham’s streets safer included handing out sweets and fliptops and helping people into taxis is pulling out of the town centre.

Rotherham Street Pastors have been patrolling in all weathers until as late as 4am Friday nights since 2010, with members of Christian churches from across the town volunteering for late-night duty.

The concept was brought to Rotherham by Paul Hunt, from The Rock Christian Centre in Sheffield, having been first launched in London. brought the concept to Rotherham.

Paul said it had been “a real privilege and honour to be the hands and feet of Jesus on the streets of Rotherham over the past 11 years”, adding: “It’s been a really humbling experience to serve people in such a variety of ways; from simple acts of giving out flip flops and sweets, to helping people into taxis home, to having a laugh with the various door staff around town…as well as being privileged to hear, and be trusted with, some really vulnerable stories from people.”

But he said the group’s management committee felt “that now is the time for Rotherham Street Pastors to close”, adding: “With the night time economy in Rotherham, like many towns and cities across the country, changing so dramatically in recent years, the pandemic has given the team the opportunity to celebrate what has been achieved, and to enable the Street Pastors to invest their time serving God, and the people of Rotherham, in other ways.”

Hannah Proctor, vice-chair of Rotherham Street Pastors, said: “Whilst we may not have been out on the streets on a Friday night over the pandemic, all of our pastors have served God, and the people of Rotherham, in multiple other ways.

“From responding to need through foodbanks, night shelters or debt advice the church and local Christians, have been right at the heart of serving, loving and caring the people and town of Rotherham.

“We would like to thank those who have supported us over the past 11 years or so — from those in the Council who provided us with a base and finances and the police officers who have supported us on a Friday night, to bouncers who we have shared a laugh and a joke and conversations with, as well as to those who have been enjoying the pubs and the clubs and trusting us to serve you.”

Cap for award pic: Paul Hunt (second from left) receiving a South Yorkshire Police commendation from World Cup referee and former police office Howard Webb.