Hemel Hempstead Street Pastors scheme launches next phase thanks to grant

Billy's Wish and Street Pastors Hemel Hempstead have both received grants from the commissioner's Community Fund.
Billy's Wish and Street Pastors Hemel Hempstead have both received grants from the commissioner's Community Fund.

A scheme to introduce caring street pastors to Hemel Hempstead’s night scene is celebrating its sixth month.

The band of street pastors have been patrolling the town centre on Friday nights since they launched in March, but now have big plans to expand the project thanks to a monetary boost from the police and crime commissioner’s community fund.

A £4,500 grant from commissioner David Lloyd will go towards recruiting a further 25 Christian pastors who will be in action on Saturday nights, too.

The initiative has so far completed one Saturday patrol, and deputy chair Mike Wallis is keen to see more.

He said: “We are having another recruitment session during the autumn, so the plan is to get teams out every Saturday. Clearly there is a need for both nights, and I will be interested to see how they vary.”

Mike is currently preparing to give presentations in town churches, to get people interested in joining the street pastors team.

He said: “I am very optimistic about the future of the scheme because we have been so well-received out on the streets, by all ages, young and old alike.”

The scheme is part of a joint project between the town’s churches, police service and Dacorum Borough Council. Street pastors provide a reassuring presence to pub and club spots in Hemel Hempstead, and are supported by Herts Police as a crime-reducing initiative.

The family of 21-year-old Billy Dove, who died after being stabbed in the town centre in 2011, have also backed the scheme.

Anyone interested in becoming a street pastor should contact Mike Wallis on 07891 760244 or email michaelawallis@yahoo.co.uk.

The role involves a six-month training period which costs around £300 per pastor.

Volunteers are asked to give £150 towards the cost of their training and equipment.