Street Angels scheme set to expand in town

A dedicated band of volunteers working to combat Belper’s drink and drugs problems are set to celebrate their first anniversary by taking on more recruits.

The Street Angels - which offers support to police and other emergency services during weekends when drunken partying can sometimes get out of control - have patrolled the town’s streets for more than 600 hours in total during the last year.

The team members - who are aged between their 20s and 70s - have engaged with disaffected youth on Belper’s estates during the last year and helped with everything from collecting broken glass to finding an engagement ring.

Now, the Angels are to sign-up four to five more Christian volunteers at their anniversary meeting on June 7 at St John’s Chapel, and are urging anyone else interested in finding out more about the group to attend.

Volunteer Tony Ward, a retired vicar, said: “It’s been a successful first year and we have been welcomed by people. A lot of the young people we speak to have nothing to do and few job prospects.

“However, I’m glad to say there is comparatively very little anti-social behaviour.

“We spend alternate weeks on the estates and town centre but would like to patrol both areas every week with more help.

“We’re not the police. We’re here to support people and improve our night-time culture.

“Much of our help has been in re-assuring people, helping them get in taxi’s home and providing water and flip flops. There is also a lot of litter dropped at the skatepark.”

The volunteers patrol in a mixed gender crew of three and sign-up to volunteer for 12 months at a time.

Many of the current volunteers are to renew their commitment, at the annual meeting, which takes place between 7pm and 8pm.

Mr Ward continued: “We are hoping that around 75 people will be in attendance from the police to volunteers and people who interested in joining us.”