Friday nights, at around 10pm, the Street Angels pack their kit bags, to hit the pubs and clubs of Camberley, ready to help and assist, through the early hours of Saturday morning.
Street Angels are available to help people, especially the vulnerable. For example, those who may have become isolated from their friends, are on their own waiting for their lift home to arrive or need direction to locate taxi ranks or cash machines. But they are also on hand to help people who have had too much to drink, or wait with someone needing a paramedic.They help people whoever they are and whatever their situation, by listening, caring, offering practical help or by referring people to other (specialist) agencies who can help them. Those needs could be as a result of homelessness, intoxication, drug abuse, assault or any other issue which has caused personal distress or the potential for physical harm.
What is a Street Angel?
Street Angels are all volunteers who work alongside the police and other agencies, providing help and support where needed. They are from various churches in the local community. They go through a thorough training and vetting process, including first aid. Radios keep them in contact with one another, allowing them to call on extra assistance if required.
There are well over a hundred such schemes across the towns and cities of the UK. All of them have teams of volunteers from local churches and have seen success in reducing violence, antisocial behaviour and fear of crime in their communities
Why would anyone want to do this for free?
There are many reasons people volunteer to give their weekends up, to serve the local community and help out on the streets of Camberley. Here are just a few quotes from the team…
“I volunteered to become a Street Angel to help put something back into the community. I know what it's like at first hand to be out of your depth in a drinking environment. Going out on the town is usually great fun but there can be a darker side, especially where alcohol is involved. I want to be there to help those who might need it. “
“Throughout my life the people that have really had an impact on me have often been those who have taken the time to listen to me. So many times when I really haven't been sure what to do or who to ask, talking to other people has really helped. So if I can be a cog in the chain for someone else then that would be fantastic!”
“I became a Street Angel because I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life and I felt Street Angels to be something I could do to help the community. I feel privileged to be part of a team supporting potentially vulnerable people and helping to make the town centre a safer place to be at night.”
What type of situations have they encountered?
“Twenty minutes spent with a young woman propped up against building alone, gave her a foil blanket and stayed with her as her mum was coming to collect her. Assisted by talking to mum on her phone to enable them to meet up.”
“Spoke to a very drunk young woman who appeared to be on her own but refused any assistance. We kept an eye on her for the next 20 minutes as she wandered back and forth across the road. Eventually she was approached by a police officer who called us over saying “here’s one for you…” At that point she deposited vast quantities of alcohol into a shop doorway. We gave her some tissues, held back her hair and wiped her face which was streaming with black eye makeup and tears by now. Eventually, after much coaxing and failed attempts by her to telephone a friend, we persuaded her to take the very kind offer of a lift home by the police.”
“A group of soldiers were gathered outside near a taxi rank and were chanting some fairly abusive stuff at some of the people standing around outside a nightclub. We positioned ourselves between the two groups and gradually moved up to the soldiers. Out with the lollies and suddenly the chanting stopped and we were all chatting away and swapping stories with them about the places we had been stationed in Germany.”
“Talked to one girl who was sat in a doorway looking very unhappy - she had lost her sister a couple of months ago and was finding she couldn't enjoy a night on the town - was able to give her some information about seeking bereavement counselling”
How do I find out more?
Camberley Street Angels are part of Camberley Churches Together (CTC). You can find out more information about them from the CTC website.
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