Street Pastors head to the seaside

Street Pastors are taking to the beach for the first time this summer to lend their assistance to night time revellers enjoying the sand and sea.

The volunteer network will be walking around the beaches of Whitstable in Kent on Friday nights offering help to anyone needs it.

This may be handing out bottles of water or pairs of flip flops, helping people get a taxi home, or offering a listening ear to someone in distress.

The arrival of Street Pastors in the pretty seaside town was the idea of the local police and Tankerton Evangelical Church.

The Street Pastors have been invited in amid concern for the safety of young people drinking on the beaches at night.

Local Christians have given the project their overwhelming support, with 14 area churches now collaborating in the effort.

Coordinator Lee Russell said, “We are really grateful for the support of all the churches working together, in providing pastors, members of the prayer team, and financial backing.”

The Rev Helen Letley, Minister of St John’s Methodist Church said: “It’s a fantastic thing having this common vision.

"This is about discipleship in action and demonstrating who we are as Christian people, so offering God’s love in terms of active assistance.”

There are around 10,000 trained Street Pastors in towns and cities across the UK but this is believed to be the first time that pastors will be out and about on Britain's beaches.

“My dream is that this is a good news story in our town,” said the Rev Steve Coneys, Team Rector at Whitstable.

“This is something which round the country seems to be received as unambiguously good news. Ordinary people get this.”

The scheme will launch at a service at 7pm on Friday 20 July at St John’s Methodist Church, Argyle Road, Whitstable.