Friday, 28 January 2011

Street Angels –Part 2 “Police and Clubs”

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“All about a partnership”

This is part 2 of the series on Camberley Street Angels, as they extend their coverage to include Friday and Saturday evenings. In part 1, we took a look at their kit.

This week, what do the professionals think about their presence on the streets?

The Angels meet up at around 9.30pm, to pack their kit bags, and prepare for the night ahead. Before I joined up with them, I arranged to meet Sergeant  John Castell, from Camberley Police. I asked him what he thought about Street Angels extending coverage to Saturday nights. He said “I'm looking forward to it.. It's a noticeable difference on a Friday night, and I'm sure we can roll that into a Saturday to try and reduce the crime and disorder even more than we have already..". Sgt Castell said the work of Street Angels over the last year had made "quite a significant StreetAngels2011_0107(004)difference actually. It's quite noticeable how different people are when they come into contact with the Angels. They're quite a calming presence, helping people who are a little bit worse for wear for drink, making sure the young ladies ... get into taxis, or anybody who is waiting ... on their own, they [Street Angels] keep a watchful eye on it. We've got quite limited resource. We put as many into town as we can to resource Friday and Saturday evenings, so any extra helping hands are more than welcome."

So the community police find the Angels a valuable asset to the town, but this got me wondering, what  about  the pub and club staff? Did they care about, what could be termed as “do gooders” out on the streets. Perhaps the Angels get in their way, and impact trade? So I headed off to chat with Mark Cameron, manager of Tru nightclub in Camberley. Tru is the largest club, and closes the latest (at 3am), so seemed like the best place to start. Mark has been manager there for about 7 months, so I guess he should StreetAngels2011_0107(023)have some interesting feedback to make. He said "... having the Street Angels is just like a buffer zone. It seems to calm people down when they come out of the club, if there's any issues in the street. It works really well... It's a great benefit to the community."  Mark said Saturday coverage "...will help a lot because Saturday is our busiest night..sort of double the numbers out on Saturday, so the more help we can get to control everyone, keep them calm, and stop everyone getting involved in any incidents, the better. Street Angels will add to that...".

Next week, in the final part of this series on “Street Angels”, we take a look at the “Street Angels Effect”…

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Street Angels Saturday Crew – Part 1 “Kit”

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1 Vision, 11 Churches, 65 Amazing People….

“Saturday” Street Angels got their wings on Sunday 16 January at High Cross Church. The Mayor of Surrey Heath congratulated them as they were formally commissioned to help on the streets of Camberley. From Saturday 22 January, volunteer Angels will patrol the streets every Friday and Saturday evening, from 10pm until 4am.

Street Angels have been patrolling Camberley for a year now, on Friday nights, so are well established. But what is a Street Angel? What do they do? How do they do it? and Why?

Wikipedia defines a Street Angel as “volunteers that help people whoever they are and whatever their situation, on the streets of many towns in the UK during the evenings”. Well, that’s it in a nutshell. But there is far more to it than that. Last year, we published an article profiling  Street Angels, in “Angels Clubbing in Camberley” which answered, in detail, many of these questions. What it didn’t cover in depth was the tools of the trade.

What’s in an Angels kit bag? Let’s take a look….

IMG_2120They carry over 20 items in their distinctive black kit bags, bearing the “Camberley Churches Together” logo. Everything from foil blankets, to sharps bins, dust pan and brush to wet wipes.

 

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By far the post popular items in their kit are lollypops and flip-flops! Lollypops also sound like an unusual bit of kit, but in fact they help reduce noise levels, gain trust, stop arguments and can help prevent fights.

Handing out flip-flops in winter,  to young adults on the town may sound bizarre, but walking in high heels can be dangerous, after a night out.

Street Angels also keep an eye out for glass in the streets. They remove about 15 glass items (bottles and glasses) each night – about 800 potential weapons a year! (bring out that dust pan and brush).

Next week, part 2 - the reaction from the police and club owners.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

January Credit Card Crunch

January 2011, and we’re all recovering from the Christmas spend. Credit card bills are now hitting us, and for some, it’s a difficult time. Many are already stretched financially. So a good time to start taking control, and making a fresh start with our financial planning.

A survey, in March 2010 by Confused.com, into credit card debt showed that Camberley, at £2001 per resident, had the highest in the UK. Whereas those in Dumfries in southern Scotland owe the least, with outstanding balances averaging £742.

Gemma Stanbury, head of savings, loans and debts for Confused.com has said: “Higher spending on plastic in the South could be explained by credit cards being more readily available for these residents, as they earn higher salaries. Or it could be down to the fact that residents in the South have higher mortgages, which may lead to the need to top up with more short-term lending.”

A recent survey from homelessness charity Shelter shows how people, throughout the country, constantly struggling with their housing costs are being forced to use their credit cards in order to keep a roof over their head, an increase of almost 50 percent in a year. The survey indicated a UK total of over two million people.

The charity is now warning that many of these people could be starting the New Year with the threat of homelessness hanging over them.

Camberley Frontline can help people with debt advice and debt management, and benefits advise. This is free of charge. For more details on Frontline, and to contact them, see the article on Debt Advice from last year. Frontlinelogo24

Friday, 7 January 2011

2010 – That Was The Year That Was

2010 Event Montage

As we launch into 2011, it’s a good time to reflect on what we have covered in 2010, as part of our outreach communications.

The blog has announced various events this year, such as:-

That’s a lot to cover on what we are doing.

We’ve built valuable links with our friends at Camberley News, Camberley People, Eagle Radio and Surrey Heath Blog. Thank you to them for all their help and encouragement. In 2011 we are looking to build on this, establishing a relationship with BBC Surrey and Surrey Heath Borough Council, to start with.

Camberley News Eagle Radio Camberley People Surrey Heath Blog

We now have a listing on Google Places and in Thomson Local, which is a great way to find out about where we are, and give us a rating.

You can also find us on FoursquareFoursquare, which is a social application for smartphones that allows people to "check-in" to a place they visit. They can then see other people who are at that place, and read tips people have left previously. Restaurants and site seeing places are great uses of this application, but Churches now join the list. We claimed St Paul's on Foursquare in Dec 2010, and encourage people with smartphones, to check-in when they visit, and say hello.

We attended the Christian New Media Conference, which was an excellent way to keep up with developments in Social Media and the Church and networking.

Thoughts on 2011

Healing on the SteetsJanuary sees the launch of a new initiative, Healing on the Streets, and Street Angels are also extending their coverage in the town to include Saturday nights. Keep an eye out on the blog later in January for more information on both of these. More initiatives will follow later in the year, as we continue to help our community, “living Christ in Camberley”.

Our Social Media experiment, is no longer experimental. Our Facebook page has been out for 3 years, Twitter 2 years, and this Blog has been very active the past year. Added to that, our YouTube channel will see new videos of our events in Camberley, so worth subscribing to.

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Our new website launch will roll out early in the year, seeing a more modern looking site, with a new domain address.

We are looking forward to attending the Christian New Media Conference again, and the Internet Safety Conference, to keep up-to-date on the latest technologies, and protecting our Children online.

All this means 2011 will see a  new “vision” and mission statement for all our social media channels. We have much to communicate to the people of Camberley. Let the good times roll!

For more information on St Paul’s Social Media, contact Andew Salt on media@stpaulscamberley.org.uk