20 October 2009>
Visitors to Blackwood town centre on Friday and Saturday nights will now be able to benefit from a dedicated team of volunteer Street Pastors.
The Street Pastors are an independent organisation who will work alongside the emergency services, licensing authorities and other agencies to promote community safety in the town centre.
Supported by the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership, which is comprised of organisations including Caerphilly County Borough Council and Gwent Police, the team of 30 Street Pastors will offer care and support to people on a night out.
They will carry out a pastoral role, which will include preventing people from becoming victims of crime, promoting personal safety and community safety in the town centre.
The Street Pastors, who are members of local churches, will also wear clothing with 'Street Pastor' logos to ensure that they are easily identifiable.
Each volunteer has attended a training programme that will assist them in terms of dealing with people suffering from alcohol abuse, drug abuse, mental health issues and a range of other local issues.
Street Pastor Sue Phillips said, "We are delighted as local churches to have the opportunity to make a positive difference in our community, in a very practical way.
We will be there to simply care, listen and help, and if we are able to ensure people are safer during a night out in Blackwood town centre we will have achieved our aim."
Cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Lyn Ackerman said, "The Street Pastor scheme has seen overwhelmingly positive results in other parts of the country as far as reducing levels of violence and disorder are concerned, so I am delighted that a similar scheme is being introduced in the Caerphilly county borough.
I am sure that the Street Pastors will complement well the work of the police, council and other local agencies, and I thank them for helping us continue to ensure that the Caerphilly county borough is a safe and pleasant place to live and visit."
Caerphilly Partnership Inspector Alan Webber said, "The advice and support that Street Pastors can offer local people on a night out in the town centre is extremely worthwhile, particularly if they can prevent that individual from getting into trouble or becoming a victim of crime.
The Street Pastors are volunteers who are kindly offering their time and support to people who visit the area on Friday and Saturday nights to make sure that they have an enjoyable and safe evening. We are looking forward to working with them."
The Street Pastor Scheme was initiated in Jamaica in 2001 as a Christian response to violent crime. Brixton realised the benefits of this initiative and launched the first UK scheme in 2003 to combat the urban problems encountered in towns and city throughout the country.
In Gwent, Street Pastors have been operating in Newport City Centre since 1 August 2009.
Further information on the Street Pastor scheme is available on the Street Pastors website.
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