By day Guildford is a lovely Surrey town with historic buildings and a fine cobbled High Street. By night it turns into the Wild West and this is when you find the Guildford Street Angels giving support to those in need.
On Saturday 20th August I joined the Street Angels in downtown Guildford to see what they do and how they do it.
We met at the YMCA at 10.00pm where I was pleased to see two other club members. Andrew Hodges who has been a Street Angel for the last two years and Jen Powell who was there like myself as an observer.
Jen and myself were fitted out in a jacket with the Guildford Street Angel logo and high viz arm bands so that the CCTV's could track us. Also we filled our pockets with traffic light lolly pops which we gave out during the night. We were given radios so we could track what was going on in the town which is linked to the CCTV controller and the various clubs and pubs rather than the police. The Street Angels are keen to point out that they are there to assist people not judge them. They are not on the police network and so there is mutual trust between the public and the Street Angels.
After a briefing by Colin the supervisor, the eight of us were paired off into teams of a male and a female. Helen who was my team mate had been one of the first to join in 2009 and is a physiotherapist at the Royal Surrey.
Setting out into the Guildford streets and the first job was to pick up glass bottles which could be used as weapons, we picked up 22. All of the time we were talking to people and was delighted by the positive reaction we received.
We helped two ladies catch a taxi and had a selfie taken as a result. As it was the end of our first shift we when back to the YMCA for coffee and hand made cakes .
Back onto the streets at 12.30 it was very quiet as everyone was in the clubs. However there was an ugly scene at one of the clubs and a very drunk young lady who after a good sleep on the pavement was escorted away by her friends to the nearest Subway.
The last shift lasted from 2.00 to 3.30 pm which was quite quiet and the main problem being which kebab shop was open for the hungry clubbers . At the end of the night one young lady came up to me and said I looked like Jeremy Clarkson! That was the only insult of the night.
They do make a difference as apparently street crime is down 25% due to their presents and people do trust and respect them . Why? Because they are decent, honest and trust worthy people from all walks of life. I am delighted that we are supporting this local charity and our contribution will make a difference.
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