Town Pastors are Christians who look out for and support vulnerable people, giving assistance where appropriate, being on the street to provide a presence of friendliness and care so that people can enjoy their night out, defusing any potentially aggressive situations. Town Pastors are available to people as listeners, encouraging safe behaviour for all, and fostering good relationships between the public, the police, door staff, the local authorities and voluntary agencies.

Town Pastors, working in male/female pairs, wearing bright distinctive jackets and headgear, are out on busy weekend nights from 10pm until the early hours. Their aim is to provide a positive influence in the town – backed by prayer.

Prayer Team (base)

Whist patrolling, Town Pastors are backed up by prayer from the base and home teams. The base team also provide drinks and snacks for Town Pastors during their breaks, and co-ordinates prayer with members of the at-home prayer team, who are praying for an hour during the night’s patrols. No contact with members of the public is envisioned.

Prayer Team (at home)

These pray at home, for an hour slot, while the Town Pastors are out patrolling. They can ask for and receive updates on the ongoing situation, so they know exactly what to pray for. For example, these would be frequent requests:

  • more taxis so people go home quicker
  • that an argument won’t escalate to a fight
  • that someone we’ve been talking to will receive God’s help with a situation in their lives.

You can also be a “prayer buddy” for a Town Pastor, praying for them before and after they are on duty.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is it safe?

A. Town Pastors patrol in male/female pairs, in areas covered by CCTV, and have ShopSafe radios and mobile phones. They can call on police backup should they need it. No Town Pastor has been attacked, and their non-confrontational role has been shown to reduce violent crime in Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds, as well as Newmarket.

Q. Am I too young/old?

A. There is no upper age limit, though you might have to walk several miles in a night. The less active might consider joining the prayer team, either at home or from our town centre base. While the youngest we can accept applications from is 18, younger people are welcome to pray at home.

Q. What sort of person becomes a Town Pastor?

A. A Christian who has the ability to listen to others without judging them, with a willingness to help the vulnerable, however they arrived at that state.

Q. What if I find a knife/drugs, etc…

A. These are to be handed over to the police for forensic analysis (if appropriate) and destruction. A container is supplied to carry sharp objects safely until they can be handed over. Our protocols and training deal with this subject in more detail.

Q. What are the effects of a Town Pastor scheme?

A. January 2010: 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. See Weekly News article.

Some of the effects, based on information from Ipswich police:

  • The reduction in Sexual Offences was 70%!
  • Assaults on Police down 50%
  • Section 4 Public Order Act (Fear of Violence) down 53.3%
  • Section 18 Wounding down 25%
  • Section 47 ABH down 31.4%
  • Section GBH down 14.3%

These figures were taken from an evaluation report submitted to the National AMEC3 Campaign (Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign) which Suffolk took part in and the figures were compared to the previous year (when Town Pastors were not on Ipswich streets!)

In Bury St. Edmunds, total crime is down 11%, with the main reduction being night-time economy related.

Outside HeavenQ. “Can you show us the way to Heaven?”

A. TP: “Certainly sir… which one?”

How to Apply

We welcome any local committed Christians from Churches in the Newmarket
area to join our happy family at Newmarket Town Pastors. If you are
interested in applying to join the scheme as a Prayer Partner
(home-based or at base) or Town Pastor, please do e-mail us. We are
always looking for committed volunteers to join our family.

We can arrange for you to patrol with us as a visitor, or shadow someone in our prayer base before you commit.  If you’re happy we can then take it further.

E-mail John Borda on: newmarkettownpastors@gmail.com


Town Pastors

You should be prepared to volunteer one evening per month, and be able to walk a couple of miles a night.

Prayer Team

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.

Alternatively, you could be a “prayer buddy” for a Town Pastor, praying for them just before and after they patrol. No specific training or registration is needed, just ask a Town Pastor to let you know when they are on duty.


What we need to continue running the Town Pastors:

Cash: To buy uniforms, radios, insurance, training, etc. Cheques should be made out to: NEWMARKET TOWN PASTORS and sent to:

62 Edinburgh Road, Newmarket, CB8 0QD, or, for larger donations, please ask for BACS bank details, to avoid credit card charges.

If you are able to donate specific items below, that would also be helpful:

  • bottled still water 330ml sports cap *
  • Freddo chocolate bars (bulk packs)*
  • foil blankets (space blankets)- especially useful after “foam parties”
  • medical gloves
  • AA batteries (alkaline)

*Many thanks to Tesco for donating a good supply of the above- no more needed at present, please!

Registered Charity Number 1185814

Did you know?

In the year April 2018-March 2019, Town Pastors:

  • Picked up and disposed of 221 potentially dangerous items (mostly glass bottles)
  • Gave water or chocolate to 132 people
  • Looked after 45 people who were too drunk to help themselves
  • Actively helped 61 people to get home safely
  • Helped out in a total of 601 incidents?
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