Hitchin Street Angels
Every Saturday night at 9.30pm a group of volunteers from across the towns churches will meet at the base to prepare for the evening and have a time of prayer.
Each volunteer has a reflective “Hitchin Street Angels” jacket so that they are easily recognisable as an acredited and safe person to approach. At 10.00pm they go out in a group of three/four to patrol the streets and visit pubs, clubs and bars in Hitchin Town centre.
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 people who through alchol have been ill and are disorientated. They often stay with an individual while waiting for a paramedic. Volunteers are there to care for those in need, to provide a listening ear and to be a safe and approachable person.
Volunteers hand out bottles of water or even flip flops for the girl whose stilettos have taken their toll. The patrol ends around 2:15 am with a short time of debriefing and prayer.
It’s after 1.30am, freezing cold, and Hitchin Street Angels are still out. Why do we do it? It’s because we care and want to make a difference.
All Street Angel volunteers are committed Christians who believe that their faith involves serving the 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 they have chosen to live a life that seeks to make a difference – for the better.
The volunteers don't wear wings or have halos, but a group of Street Angels are helping to reduce anti social behaviour Hitchin Town centre. In their distinctive navy blue reflective coats, they are seen on the streets on a Saturday night between 10.00pm and 2.00am. Volunteers undergo a comprehensive training programme, which equips them to respond to all sorts of situations late at night. Volunteers must be over 18 years of age fit and healthy and undertake an enhanced CRB check.
For churches in Hitchin, this is a great opportunity to put Christian faith into practice in our local communities.