Street Pastors for Inverness training ahead
This is an update report on the progress of an initiative by Mark Hadfield and Inverness Community Church to implement a "Street Pastors" scheme in Inverness. A preliminary meeting was held in the late Spring with the intention of making information about the scheme available to the Inverness Christian community and churches (see report below).
Since that meeting Mark has been in contact with the police and the local authority and is now ready to embark on enrolling and training those who would wish to be involved. A letter has been written to Inverness church leaders to this effect (viewable on this web site to registered site users who are subscribed to the "Leaders" section).
A further information evening has now been held (on Friday 10 August) in the CYC/YMCA (see picture below) when Mark outlined the nature of the role and the commitment required for those who feel called to the work.
There was more than sufficient interest expressed from those at the meeting; and the 12 training sessions are to be rolled out in 3 blocks of 4 successive Saturdays per block.
The first training day is scheduled for Saturday 18 August. This will be a joint training session with those from the city of Perth who are developing their own Street Pastor network. Aberdeen is also developing a Street Pastors network.
Meanwhile, churches in Lerwick are also piloting a "Town Pastors" scheme, but this is being done a bit differently from the Street Pastors network. More details later.
Some of the gathering in the CYC/YMCA on Friday, 10 August, 2007
<Click here> to hear an interview with Mark giving further details about the training and roll-out.
You can find a <poster here;> and also visit Mark's blog.
Contact Mark on his mobile 07761.293.108
or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlier report (May 2007):
Following a recent meeting in the Inverness Christian Youth Centre (aka YMCA), the prospect of local Christians working as "Street Pastors" on Inverness city streets has moved a step closer to becoming a reality.
Mark Hadfield of Inverness Community Church has been pursuing a desire to see the city's Christian community and local churches adopt a concept born in Jamaica, and now being implemented by a growing network in London and beyond.
To further the possibility of introducing the idea into the Highland capital, Mark invited two of the London-based leaders of Street Pastors to meet with the Christian community in Inverness. Rev. Les Isaac and Eustace Constance travelled to the Highland capital to give a presentation about the work; and to respond to questions from the floor of the meeting.
Some of those gathered at Inverness CYC
The Street Pastors scheme has been pioneered in the UK by the Ascension Trust on the basis that the 21st century has thrown up a challenge both to the church and to society; with a growth in anti-social behaviour at a local level, city-wide and nationally. Street Pastor projects are now running in other UK cities including Birmingham, Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth.
At the end of last year a Street Pastors project was launched in Weston-super-Mare.
Some of the contributing factors to the problems in our society are judged to be the breakdown of the family, the increasing number of children growing up without both parents, the increased number of children excluded from school, the lack of provision for young people and the lack of quality time given to those at risk.
Commenting on recent news that the number of assaults in Inverness has jumped by 40 per cent in the last year, Superintendent David O'Connor, the Northern Constabulary Area Commander for Inverness has been quoted as saying: “There has to be a collective responsibility for tackling these types of problems and safety concerns in our communities."
Les Isaac speaking at Inverness CYC
At the meeting Rev. Les Isaac and Eustace Constance spoke of how the initiative is based around six key targets, looking to -
- Understand the problems (through social analysis)
- Have a long term strategy (10-15 years)
- Develop grass roots educational programmes
- Provide relevant training
- Prioritise employment
- Engage people in their social context
Rev Isaac had visited Jamaica to examine who the church there was tackling the challenges of criminal behaviour and felt that there are two urgent messages that have to be communicated:
- "We serve a living God who is able to intervene in people's lives."
- "The importance of churches engaging, in unity, with other community groups to work together and effect change."
Eustace Constance outlining some of the vision
Street Pastors have produced a video outlining the nature of the project - click to watch it here.
Meanwhile, Mark and his church are inviting other local churches in Inverness to join together in addressing the critical issues facing our society - particularly young people.
The next steps in the process involve inviting other churches to form together into a local trust to co-ordinate the scheme; and to start building relationships with local agencies like the police and the local authority.
Proven protocols have been developed in the process of training volunteers in the Street Pastor role; and in liaising with other statutory and voluntary organisations.
Further information can be found on Mark's web site www.underthecanopy.net - and on the Street Pastors website.
Anyone interested in becoming involved in the Street Pastors project, or looking for further information, can be in touch with Mark at:
Tel. 01463 243603 or
If you have any thoughts on the Street Pastors project you can "Add your comment" below .