Rough sleeping in Nottingham has reached its highest level for nearly 20 years! Two of our volunteers, Laura and Laura, wanted to see what the streets of Nottingham City Centre would be like as a ‘home’ for the night.
We got in touch with the Street Pastors based at the Malt Cross – volunteers who go out on Friday and Saturday nights in Nottingham’s City Centre between 10pm-3am to care for vulnerable or distressed people using the night time economy – and asked if we could join them for a couple of shifts.
Here is what Laura and Laura had to say about the experience –
What happened when you arrived?
We met at the Malt Cross in town where the Police briefed us on what was occurring in the city that night. This gave us an insight on the hot spots in town, where trouble is most likely to happen and also, we were told of any events that were happening that night. We were also told about the regular rough sleepers to look out for so we can offer them our services.
Who did you speak to while you were out?
As it was a weekend, town was filled with a lot of drunk people and a few homeless people. We encountered coherent members of the public, and they were really interested in what we were doing.
What kind of help could you offer?
Someone to talk to, handing out water and flip flops to drunk people. We also offered assistance to emergency services, for example: If somebody was in need and an ambulance couldn’t get to them due to the high demand of the service, we were able to give them first aid or physical assistance until help arrived. We were easily visible due to our fluorescent jackets and the street pastors renowned blue uniform.
Did you feel worried or scared?
Not initially, but right at the end I was scared as we witnessed an assault. I wouldn’t like to think how homeless people feel seeing this kind of behaviour all the time as we were scared just seeing 5 minutes of it. We also know that homeless people are often them victims of assault in busy town centres.
What do you think about the work the Street Pastors do?
I think they are extremely valuable as they offer a helping hand and take the pressure off the emergency services.
To find out more about the Street Pastors, you can email them on [email protected] or visit there FB page @nottinghamstreetpastors