Caithness Street Pastors set to expand its activities with three new volunteers to be commissioned next month
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A NEW intake of volunteers will enable Caithness Street Pastors to expand its activities next month. At present, the group, which was formed a year ago, carries out patrols once a month on the streets of Wick on a Saturday night but will soon be able to include Thurso as well.
Co-ordinator, Alan Finch, explained that three new volunteers – two from Thurso and one from Canisbay – have been recruited and are going through their training which will be completed in December.
A commissioning service is due to take place for them at St Peter's and St Andrew's Church in Thurso on Friday, December 8.
Mr Finch said: "I have asked the Rev. David Malcolm, who was involved with the start up, to lead the service. Sandy Gunn who was also deeply involved in the nurturing the idea of Caithness Street Pastors has agreed, as the representative of the Ascension Trust, to carry out the commissioning ceremony.
"We aim to invite MSPs and our MP along with members of the Highland Council, local councillors and Police Scotland but all are welcome to attend and witness the commissioning."
He added: "This new intake of Street Pastor volunteers will allow us to expand to patrolling Thurso as well as Wick on a Saturday night once a month. We are always looking for volunteers, especially females as we currently only have one woman in the team, and welcome anyone who is a member of a church in Caithness to get in contact with me either by phone 07968262079 or email firstname.lastname@example.org".
Mr Finch pointed out that in the past year the group has been patrolling the streets of Wick once a month between10pm and 1.30am on Sunday.
"We have been really welcomed and have spoken to a great many people, met all the door staff at the pubs and clubs, picked up a lot of bottles and glasses and most importantly, listened to people. We went out on ‘Mad Friday’ in December 2022 and had a great time with all the revellers some of whom wore fancy dress. We attended the Caithness County Show and the Mey Highland Games. We were out on the Saturday night at the end of the Wick Gala Week and there were a lot of people still wearing the costumes they wore on the floats during the parade – great fun and plenty of crack. Our relationship with the police has been really good and we have been welcomed to use the Wick Police station as a meeting place before we go out for a time of prayer and preparation," he said.
The Caithness Street Pastors can assist revellers who have drunk too much but also victims of sexual harassment and people with mental health problems. The team operate in areas where bars and clubs are located and assist anyone in need. They carry first aid kits, gloves, foil blankets, tissues, water and lollipops if people need an intake of sugar
The Ascension Trust founded the street pastors scheme in 2003 and it now has a presence in more than 20 towns and cities across Scotland and in 282 locations worldwide.