As revellers party hard in the weeks up to Christmas, it is good to know that Street Angels are working across many of our towns and cities to help people have a safe and great night out.
Street Angels was launched in Halifax in November 2005 as a response by Churches Together and YMCA in the town to the problems around the nightlife. Violence, sexual assaults, under age and binge drinking meant the town was a no go area for many people. The project went from idea to reality in just over two weeks and had the full support of the town centre’s Police.
As the project became a success very quickly representatives from other towns and cities across the UK and beyond visited Halifax or spoke to the founder Paul Blakey about Street Angels. In July 2006 Watford Street Angels launched, with Huddersfield Street Angels launching in October 2006 and Harrogate Town Pastors in December 2006.
By the end of 2007 thirteen towns were running Street Angel, or similar projects with many more interested in setting up similar schemes. Halifax volunteers were invited to speak about their work at various events including Church, Police and Government networks.
In 2012 with over 100 local projects operating, and with links made to projects in Northern Ireland, Tenerife and Australia, Street Angels - CNI was awarded the Big Society Award. Presented by the Prime Minister it is a testimony to the great work carried out week in and week out.
Now known as Christian Nightlife Initiatives, CNI supports over 130 local projects across the UK and around the world working within the night-time economy. That includes Club Angels (working inside club venues) and Festival Angels (working at major UK music festivals). Recently Street Angels was launched in party capital Magalluf, Majorca.
A new book telling the story of Street Angels and its growth across the UK and to Spain has now been published as a paperback.
Author, Paul Blakey says, "This book is a collection of amazing stories from across the UK and Spain and is a great example of the way volunteers from churches and communities are helping change a culture."
Tony Robinson, Bishop for Wakefield Area, patron of CNI Network, writes in the foreword, "Much of the news we hear about night life in our towns and cities is about unsocial behaviour and violence. So it is heartening to be able to read this story which, though not in any way diminishing the impact of harsh realities, tells of faith, hope and love."