What do Street Angels York do?
Street Angels York is a Church-led initiative that is made up of volunteers who want to help make York city centre a safer and better place. Volunteers walk the city streets into the early hours on Friday and Saturday nights caring for, practically helping and listening to people, especially those in vulnerable or difficult situations.
Each Friday and Saturday night at 9pm a group of volunteers from across the city’s churches will meet at the base to prepare for the evening and have a time of prayer.
Each volunteer has a reflective “Street Angels York” jacket so that they are easily recognisable as a professional and safe person to approach. They then split into groups of three and patrol the streets and visit pubs and bars.
As a recognised Street Angel volunteers are likely to be approached by individuals needing help or information, from directions to the nearest taxi rank to where to find a safe place to stay for the night. Volunteers also identify those in vulnerable situations: single girls needing someone to walk them to a taxi or wait with them for a bus, guys who have lost their mates and their mobile phones, the teenagers drinking cider in the market stalls, or the homeless man who’s just had some guy pour a can of beer over his sleeping bag. Volunteers are there to care for those in need, to provide a listening ear and to be a safe and approachable person.
Volunteers may take out flasks with hot drinks, hand out bottles of water or even flip flops for the inevitable girl whose stilettos have taken their toll. The Safe Haven is open from 10 till 2:30 with free hot drinks being served, providing a safe place for people to wait for friends or a taxi home. The night ends around 2:30 am with a short time of debriefing and prayer.
Why do we do it?
It’s 2am, freezing cold, and Street Angels are still out in York. Why do we do it?!
It’s because we care and want to make a difference. The steering group and many of the Street Angels are Christians who believe that our faith involves serving our community. Partnering with God in prayer and action adds a dimension that sees communities and people transformed.God is far too big to be kept in a church building – as Christians we have chosen to live a life that seeks to make a difference – for the better. That difference needs to be made in the places where people are.
The Lord’s Prayer says “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven” – every time that prayer is said we are asking God to bring his kingdom of love, peace, hope and life – in fact everything that is good – to our communities. How does God do that? Through us, people committed to making a difference!
“I love hearing how we made a difference in someone’s life. A girl stopped us that night and told us that her friend had been out clubbing a few weeks ago and in the morning she had absolutely no idea how she had gotten home. Then she found a Street Angels business card in her purse and proceeded to tell everyone she knew how the Street Angels helped her get home.” Stephanie, DTS Trainee