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Christian scheme to aid Yarmouth people

PUBLISHED: 09:47 02 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:29 03 July 2010

Late-night revellers who find themselves in difficulty tonight in Great Yarmouth will be receiving a helping hand for the first time from volunteer guardian angels.

Late-night revellers who find themselves in difficulty tonight in Great Yarmouth will be receiving a helping hand for the first time from volunteer guardian angels.

The street pastors will provide help to anyone who has drunk too much by offering advice and showing them where to get help along Yarmouth's seafront.

Based at the Park Baptist Church, in Crown Road, the 10 Yarmouth street pastors are supported by the town's police and have also received training on helping people seek drink and drug advice. They will also provide support to homeless people.

The launch of the Yarmouth street pastors follows successful schemes in Norwich and Dereham, in which the Christian volunteers help those in trouble.

A typical scenario could see a pastor help an emotional teenage girl, who has drunk too much after she split up with her boyfriend on the night.

Stephen Jones, organiser of the Yarmouth street pastors, said: “It is not a case of us going out to preach, but of helping people and making sure they have a safe night.

“The street pastors have been received very well in Norfolk and the police have praised the work we have done.”

Mr Jones said that he wanted to increase the numbers of street pastors in Yarmouth next year.

When the street pastors were first announced in February for Yarmouth, the head of the town's police Chief Supt Jim Smerdon said: “Fundamentally it is about getting these people who need some help to talk to somebody who can provide that.”

Street pastors were pioneered in London in 2003 and there are now more than 60 towns and cities that have them.

There are about 50 in Norfolk.

The Yarmouth street pastors will be on the beat tonight and on November 28 and December 19 and 31. Anyone who wants to become a Yarmouth street pastor can contact Mr Jones on 07894 864634. Applicants must be over 18 and a regular churchgoer.

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