A team of dedicated volunteers, who have become a familiar sight on the streets of Blackwood town centre on Friday and Saturday nights, are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Blackwood Street Pastor scheme this month.
The team of Street Pastors, who are members of local churches, have worked alongside Gwent Police, Caerphilly County Borough Council and a number of other organisations every weekend over the past five years to promote community safety in Blackwood town centre.
The 25-strong team of trained volunteers, who wear easily identifiable clothing, work to promote personal safety to those who may have had a bit too much to drink.
Rev Sue Phillips, Blackwood Street Pastors Co-ordinator, said: “It has been a real privilege over the last five years to have been able to play our small part in helping to make Blackwood an even safer place to have a night out.
“We really enjoy our time out on the streets, and have always been met with very warm appreciation from the young and not so young people we encounter.
“We hope that we can continue to support the Safer Caerphilly After Dark initiative for many years to come.”
Cllr David Poole, Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services, said: “The dedication and passion to make a positive difference in our communities shown by the team of Blackwood Street Pastors over the past five years is nothing short of phenomenal.
“The advice and support that the Street Pastors are able to offer people on a night out in the town centre is invaluable and I thank them wholeheartedly for helping us continue to ensure that Caerphilly county borough remains a very safe place to enjoy a night out.”
Superintendent for Caerphilly Local Policing Unit, Marc Budden explains: “The Street Pastors play an extremely important role in keeping people safe within the night time economy. Having patrolled with the Street Pastors, I have witnessed first-hand how they can support and advise vulnerable people and reduce instances of antisocial behaviour and violent crime due to their presence.
“I fully endorse this initiative and we will continue to support them to make Caerphilly county borough a safer place after dark.”
Caerphilly and Risca town centres also have their own teams of dedicated Street Pastors.
The Safer Caerphilly After Dark scheme, run through the council, sees the Street Pastors and Gwent Police work together with local taxi firms, pubs and doormen to help people on a night out in need.
More information on Blackwood Street Pastors can be found on their website.