Progress report

Last update: 30 June 2010

We won the "Pride of Forest Heath" 2009 Community Award from the district council. Well done everybody!

Pride of Forest Heath award, photo: Newmarket Jourrnal
Steve, Tracey, Robin, Rachel and John with award Photo: Newmarket Journal

15 April 2010

I think the article below says it all...

Journal article

10 April 2010

The police have issued a press release celebrating our first year of operations. While it is full of dry statistics, the enthusiasm for Town Pastors which is shown by police officers of all ranks is probably one of the best measures of our success. Maundy Thursday, which we managed to cover, was by far the busiest night of the year, with both nightclubs at capacity. The queues into Deniro's caused problems with traffic in Grosvenor Yard, which we did our best to mitigate. We're still looking to recruit a lot more Prayer Team, as well as new Town Pastors.

9th March 2010

We're still short on prayer team, but are pressing on with a new recruiting drive for more Town Pastors. We're aiming to start a course early June- deadline for applications is 1st May. These new recruits will enable us to cover all Fridays, rather than just some as at present. But do come forward if you feel prayer team would be for you as well. This will be particularly significant during the school summer holidays, with many under-18s discos planned, so I'm hoping youth or mother's groups can help out there.

8th January 2010

December was a very busy month, as a number of extra patrols were felt needed to cover many more dates. Hypothermia is an issue, especially as intoxicated people lose heat a lot faster than normal. We also marshalled the first "Angel Parade" for Churches Together (as well as the Remembrance Parade in November). Now stepping up the recruitment of more prayer team members, in anticipation of regularly covering Friday nights. Newmarket crime figures are coming down! Drink and drug related violence down 35%, public order offences down 21%, with Town Pastors cited as one of the contributors to this decline, during April-November 2009, according to Police.

10th December 2009

We are covering many more nights over the Christmas holidays, including some Fridays and both under-18s club nights at DeNiros. We also covered the late night shopping night, with lots of people in the High Street, though the high point of that was finding a lost dog!

24 November 2009

Our second batch of Town Pastor trainees is starting to take to the streets. However, because people are away over Christmas, we are finding we need much more prayer cover to be able to patrol all the nights we would like. If you feel you can do this, do get in touch.

18 October 2009

The final final foam party of the year last night! It was also the SOS Bus' first outing, so an interesting night. Today, we won a Forest Heath Community Safety Award for reducing fear of crime- so well done everybody! See Newmarket Journal article and our own page about it.

12 October 2009

Training has started! We have a second batch of trainees in the process of being trained up. We also hope to cover the u18s club night on the 26th of this month, and will review covering other nights as this batch of trainees finishes. It has been an amazing six months!

Clubbers after foam party30th August 2009

The final (err- no it wasn't!) foam party of the summer last night. Innocence had 250 foil blankets- and gave them all out! Town Pastors still gave a few of our own out, not all to people emerging from the foam party, as it did turn cold later. However, it was good to see that the club is taking care of its clients, and has learned the lessons of the previous foam nights.

29th July 2009

Sudbury Town Pastors launches this weekend! Wonderful to see new schemes launching all around us.

9th July 2009

We made the front page of the "Weekly News" and got a story in the Newmarket Journal, as well as interviews with BBC Radio Suffolk, Town 102 and Heart 103 radio stations after Newmarket police sent out a press release showing how we were making a positive difference to Newmarket's nightlife.

Town Pastors with Richard Spring, MP © June 2009

Richard Spring MP came to All Saints church to speak to Town Pastors. He was very interested in our experiences of Newmarket nightlife and was keen to know how he could support our efforts to make Newmarket a safer place at night. He also gave us a mention in his blog. Picture courtesy of the Newmarket Journal.

9th June 2009

As Sgt. Neil Boast was teaching a personal protection session to Bury Town Pastors, we went along to meet him again and catch up. A police officer from Bury police was there, and let us know that total crime in Bury was down 11%, mostly from reductions in night-time economy related crime, since the Town Pastors started. Very encouraging news indeed!

Clubbers with foil blanket25 May 2009

There was a "foam party" at Innocence this weekend, and, despite the clement weather, it was still cold late at night when the clubbers emerged, mostly soaked to the skin. Our "space blankets" were a Godsend, and probably prevented a number of cases of hypothermia. Taxi drivers were also appreciative that the clubbers had something between them and the car seats, so were more willing to pick up. Need to make sure we restock before the next one!

We've decided to run another course in September, so will be recruiting again.

15 May 2009

After our first month, we are successfully patrolling on all Saturday nights. An element of our work seems to be crowd control, especially if door staff are involved in an incident. This seems to prevent incidents from escalating. Clubbers seem to be happy to see us out there, as do door staff and police. We also hope to start recruiting again soon, with a view to cover Fridays.

Walk of Witness marshalls10th April 2009

Town Pastors marshall the Good Friday Walk of Witness in Newmarket.

5th April 2009

0025hrs: Patrols have finally started!

0805hrs: Tony Hodge interview with BBC Radio Suffolk (MP3 3.4Mb)

Town pastors on Patrol18th March 2009

The formal training is now complete, and we're now looking forward to our launch service on Friday 27th March, as well as arranging visits to the CCTV control room. Our first patrols will be on Saturday 4th April and our first daytime presence will be as marshalls for the Good Friday "Walk of Witness" in Newmarket.

11th March 2009

It was very exciting to see over 50 people at the prayer training, where both the trainee Town Pastors and Prayer Team came together for the first time. There is now a countdown to our first patrol, and a Facebook group for supporters. (see "NTP Facebook" on left menu) We also plan an additional Prayer Team training soon to take advantage of interest generated so far.

21st Feb 2009

Training has begun for the first batch of Town Pastors. This is an exciting time, seeing the hard work of the last few months coming to fruition. All of the management team have been trained and have gone out with Bury TPs, so have first-hand experience to pass on.

12th Jan 2009

22 people have currently expressed an interest in becoming a Newmarket Town Pastor. The first patrol night is scheduled to be Saturday 4th April 2009, followed by every Saturday night onwards. As numbers of Town Pastors and support teams grow the plan is to cover both Friday and Saturday night each weekend. Please consider getting involved, an opportunity to put God's words into action caring for part of his creation (Newmarket) and looking out for the people who visit.

There are 2 ways you can contribute: either joining the Town Pastor group or joining the Prayer Team. Effective prayer cover is vital for this initiative. A committed Prayer Team to support the Town Pastors, on every occasion they are out on the streets of Newmarket, is very important. Prayer cover is needed for everything we do. 

Clearly to be most effective, the prayer cover needs to coincide with the times the Town Pastors are out. Therefore individuals on the prayer team will need to be willing to pray on the weekend nights the Pastors are on duty.

There are two distinct ‘streams’ that members of the Prayer Team can opt for. Firstly we are seeking to recruit people who are willing to pray from their own home for an hour at particular times in the night. Secondly we are seeking those who could join with others (at a town centre base) to pray during the night. This group would receive regular updates from the Town Pastor team, talk to Home Prayer Team members, and prepare refreshments for the Town Pastors during their breaks.

Each Home Prayer Team member would be asked to cover an hours slot during the patrol times. Therefore at least 6 people are needed each night. At the beginning of each slot the Home Prayer member would telephone the town centre base to “sign on” and ask what specific things to be prayed for that night.  With 2 teams of 2 Town Pastors on patrol, 2 Prayer Team members at the base and 6 Home Prayer team members; at least a ratio of 2 Prayer Team to 1 Town Pastor is required. If patrolling as a Town Pastor is not for you please volunteer to join the prayer team.

If you want to know more, or see how you could get involved in this exciting project, contact Robin Hardy ( 01638 669361).