Whitby Street Angels launch urgent appeal for new recruits

As local restrictions are lifted and life returns to relative normality Whitby Street Angels’ have resumed their patrols.

Whitby Street Angels are recruiting for more members. From left: Elizabeth Norval, Pam Boland, Katie Vasey and Sandra Turner.
Whitby Street Angels are recruiting for more members. From left: Elizabeth Norval, Pam Boland, Katie Vasey and Sandra Turner.

For those who know of the work of the Street Angels in Whitby, you’ll know that they are a group of people who volunteer to walk the town-centre streets on Saturday evenings – and some bank holidays – offering kind words and a listening ear, flip-flops and lollipops.

Prior to March 2020, this was a regular weekly occurrence; however, volunteer numbers have been sufficiently depleted and now patrols can only be monthly.

Whitby Street Angels were formed in the summer of 2012 and are part of the Christian Night-time Initiative (CNI), founded by Paul Blakey in Halifax in 2005 to tackle anti-social behaviour centred around the night-time economy.

So successful was this initiative, it has spread throughout the UK and abroad and now includes Festival Angels, who attend major music festivals to offer the same services.

Although CNI is a Christian-based organisation, volunteers come from all faiths and none; the only ‘qualifications’ required are being caring and patient, relatively fit, a good communicator, a willingness to help in the community and a commitment to four hours a month.

Should you wish to join Whitby Street Angels – and they sincerely hope you will – you can start by having a trial evening out, shadowing an experienced team, to see if you are suited and that it suits you.

If you decide to join them, training is given ‘on the job’ and ‘in the classroom’ to ensure that you and your team are prepared for almost every eventuality that you may encounter; no babies have been delivered yet!

The opportunity to help and gain so many new skills is especially beneficial to young people who need to demonstrate these qualities on education, job and training applications.

Whitby Street Angels collaborate with and are supported by, with radio contact, CCTV, and, in person, the local police, door staff, Covid marshals and ambulance paramedics.

Whitby Street Angels operate safe practices and, as a matter of course, have always carried gloves and hand-sanitiser with their first aid kits.

Patrols now include masks and/or face-shields and ensure social-distancing to safeguard Street Angels, members of the public and professions alike; and door staff help to protect members of the night-time economy, whether at work or play.

The Street Angels’ hours of operation have been curtailed as they do not have access to their home base in the Seamen’s Mission, so they are patrolling from 10pm to midnight.

Safety First is an important motto! Without volunteers, Whitby Street Angels can only operate once – or twice – a month and cannot cover all occasions, like the Regatta and Bank Holidays.

If you’d like to know more, their contact details are Whitby Street Angels on Facebook, www.street-angels.org.uk/contact-us or Sandra 01947 602938.

Please consider this valuable volunteering opportunity; like the people they meet, you too will be guaranteed a warm Whitby welcome.