The Mayor of Test Valley, Cllr Chris Lynn, the Chief Inspector of Andover Police, Kory Thorne, and Sir George Young, the local MP were all present at the Commissioning Service of Andover Street Pastors. This took place at the Guildhall in Andover on December 4th.
A team of 16 fully trained street pastors will hit the streets of Andover from the evening of December 3rd, visiting the town's nightspots and offering practical help and support to those who need it. The pastors will wear distinctive uniforms and walk around the pubs and nightclubs until the early hours of Saturday and Sunday morning.
"This scheme operates elsewhere, and has led to a drop in crime and antisocial behaviour. I think it is a very good way for the church to offer help to the community in a practical and supportive way".
Speaking at the launch, Sir George said that Andover was lucky in that the churches played a very active part in the life of the town. He mentioned the Food Bank, schemes to help the homeless, the Family Day at Vigo Recreation Centre and the Re-enactment of the Passion in the High Street at Easter. He paid tribute to Colin James, who held a meeting at the Elim Pentecostal Church a year ago to look at the possibility of a scheme in Andover.
There are now over a hundred street pastors teams around the UK, including at Salisbury and Basingstoke.