Street pastors outline vision for Bexhill force

AN INFLUX of volunteers from Bexhill has lead to the team of street pastors who patrol Hastings town centre discussing their vision for expanding into this town.

Launched in February, a group of 16 Christians calling themselves street pastors have been out in teams of four every Friday night helping revellers who are drunk, lost or emotional, and working with Hastings police to reduce the late night trouble hotspots.

But Area Coordinator Martin West, of Piltdown Close, says a recent spate of applications has trebled their numbers, giving the team enough resources to consider helping Bexhill residents too.

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And though nightlife in Bexhill is subdued compared to neighbouring Hastings, the team could make an impact in other areas.

"We have a vision to expand the service out of Hastings," he said. "It would be right to say that other areas where there's a need will be considered.

"We are aware that there are some nightclubs in Bexhill, but there's also a lot of lonely people in residential and care homes. And our vision includes school work as well.

"The other area that Bexhill has is foreign students. We have been asked before to provide a service for them, but with 16 people we have been a little stretched. That should change now."

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The project, which takes volunteers from 21 churches across 1066 Country, is about to being training 32 new pastors, including 11 from Bexhill. The new cohort start 12 weeks of intensive training in first aid, child protection, drug and alcohol awareness, suicide prevention and sociology later this month.

Martin appealed for more volunteers to get in touch before the application deadline next Friday, September 10, and explained his group are not an evangelical organisation.

"We don't preach at people. The key things we do are listening, caring, and helping, however we can."

No-one from Bexhill Police was available to comment on the pastors, but Inspector Rosie Ross of Hastings Police was full of praise for their work.

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She said: "It is great they are able to help their community and what they do is so important. We know we can rely on them to look after drunk people but they also prevent crimes by being out there and talking.

"They have been accepted and there have been no incidents of people being aggressive to them."

To find out more about the scheme call Martin on 07964 167870, email [email protected], or visit