Street pastors hoping to make Hemel Hempstead a “safer, kinder community” have undergone their first day of training ready for the scheme’s launch.
A total of 27 prospective pastors were introduced to the roles and responsibilities of the position during their first training session at Haven House.
Graham Richardson, chair man of the management committee behind the scheme, said: “This is something that has been talked about from the pulpits of churches for about a year, and the training so far has gone really well.
“I would have been happy with 12 volunteers, to get more than double that is great.”
Mr Richardson is hoping to have the street pastors – who need to complete four days’ worth of training initially – out in Hemel Hempstead town centre by March 1. Before then, trainees will be taught about getting to know their community, as well as drug and alcohol abuse and first aid.
The team of street pastors will then be on hand on Friday and Saturday nights to give low-level assistance to vulnerable – and slightly tipsy – men and women.
This is intended to help free up valuable police time, as well as provide an approachable source of help late at night.
Mr Richardson said: “Just having them on the streets, especially as people get to know them and trust them, it will be a calming influence.”
Although it is too late to join the current batch of trainees, the organisers of the scheme hope to take on another round of volunteers after the first six months.
Mr Richardson said: “There is already a sense of camaraderie between all of the street pastors.”
To find out more about the street pastors scheme, visit www.hemelchurches.org.uk or www.streetpastors.co.uk.