What is a Town Pastor?
Town Pastors are Christian volunteers from a variety of local churches and denominations who are there to listen, care for and help people, regardless of their faith or background.
Town Pastors show concern and offer practical help in a non-judgemental and unconditional way. They seek to be a positive presence on the streets, offer support to vulnerable people, de-escalate potential trouble and generally provide a friendly presence in the bar and club area of the town centre.
You will see Town Pastors walking the streets of Bury St Edmunds on most Friday and Saturday nights throughout the year, from 10.00pm until approximately 4.00am.
Town Pastors wear a uniform of polo-shirt, sweatshirt, hi-viz yellow coat/waistcoat and baseball cap or hat. Town Pastors carry provisions such as bottled water, tissues, foil blankets and the legendary Freddo!
Why do we need Town Pastors in Bury St Edmunds?
Although Bury St Edmunds is generally a safe place, like any town with a vibrant night-time economy, it does have some issues related to drunkenness and anti-social behaviour.
Young people (and ‘not so young’ people!) sometimes become very vulnerable, especially if they are under the influence of alcohol or have become separated from friends.
Town Pastors are a ‘friendly presence’ alongside the door-staff, police and emergency services as part of the team working to make Bury St Edmunds a safer place on a Friday and Saturday night.
What are the benefits of having Town Pastors?
Benefits of having Town Pastors on the streets include help for people in many different situations, help for those who have consumed excessive amounts of alcohol, a listening ear for those in distress or needing someone to talk to, peaceful outcomes to potentially violent situations and helping people to find a way to get home safely.
Town Pastors also reduce the risk of injury by removing bottles and glasses (potential weapons) from the streets.
People are usually very appreciative of the Town Pastors and they are frequently thanked for help on specific occasions, and for making people feel safe.