Market Harborough Street Pastors have celebrated a landmark anniversary in the town after notching up 10 years of helping people.
The team of 18 volunteers drawn from local churches has carried out hundreds of patrols in Harborough town centre on Friday and Saturday nights since being launched in September 2009.
The Street Pastors group has regularly won praise after helping over 5000 people over the last decade.
The highly-motivated unit has handed out more than 600 lollipops in a bid to prevent trouble erupting and given dozens of pairs of flip flops to women struggling with uncomfortable shoes.
Les Isaac is the national founder of Street Pastors and chief executive of the Ascension Trust, which oversees the work of 300 similar teams all over the UK.
At the town’s Methodist Church Mr Isaac told about 80 people, including Harborough District Council chair Barbara Johnson, that: "People need to know there is hope."
Street Pastors are supported by Churches Together in Harborough and they offer practical assistance to people by listening, caring and helping. They work alongside the police and council.
There are now more than 12,000 Street Pastors worldwide in places as far flung as America, Australia and Nigeria. Currently, more than 300 towns and cities around the UK have a
Street Pastors team and the Market Harborough Street Pastor initiative was commenced in 2009 with the help of Churches Together Harborough, the Police and Harborough District
Patrolling on alternate Friday and Saturday nights, the street pastors have been a regular fixture on the Harborough’s streets for the last decade. A typical patrol comprises of four people and is supplemented with a Prayer Support Team who meet in the Bower House.
The two patrols are quite defined as the Friday night starts earlier in the evening and incorporates more youth contact as The Cube is normally open on that evening.
The Saturday patrol normally focuses on the High Street and the bottom of St Mary’s Road.
However, both patrols offer the same level of physical and emotional support.
There are currently 18 street pastors who go out on patrol and if you would like further information on the work of the Street Pastor Initiative in Market Harborough or would like to get involved then you can get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org