Matthew Barber visited First Stop and joined Reading Street Pastors on patrol to provide support to those on a night out in the town centre.
On Friday 27th January, Matthew Barber visited First Stop and joined Reading Street Pastors on patrol in the town centre. The visit provided an opportunity for Matthew to find out how £10,000 of funding, awarded via the PCC’s Community Fund, will ensure First Stop (£5,000) and Reading Street Pastors (£5,000) can provide ongoing support to those who are in the town centre on a Friday or Saturday night.
First Stop are a night time first aid and pastoral care project, set up by Reading Borough Council with Transform Reading. They operate every Friday and Saturday night from 9pm to 3am in Reading town centre. Volunteers work alongside paramedics from South Central Ambulance Service and provide first aid and support to those who need it.
Reading Street Pastors are trained volunteers from local churches who care about the local community. They are usually on patrol from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night to provide care, listen and help people in Reading Town Centre. They are led by a local coordinator and have support from local churches and community groups in partnership with the Police, Festival Republic, Reading Bid, SFL and Transform Reading.
Following his patrol, Matthew said: “It was a pleasure to join the Street Pastors on a regular Friday night patrol of Reading Town Centre, to see first-hand how £5,000 of funding will provide essential support to those in the town centre on Friday or Saturday nights. It was also great to visit First Stop and find out how £5,000 of funding will ensure continued support to the vulnerable, injured, intoxicated and, importantly, those in need of a listening ear.
“I wish First Stop and Reading Street Pastors all the best with their future work, and I look forward to continuing to visit more organisations in 2023 whose work supports my Police & Criminal Justice Plan for Thames Valley.”
Sara Luker, Co-ordinator for First Stop, said: “It was really good to meet Matthew Barber, and for him to see how First Stop operates first hand working with other partners in the night time economy.”
Sally Leonard, Co-ordinator for Reading Street Pastors, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Matthew Barber to join the street pastor team. It was a busy night and Matthew was able to see how the street pastors work with the partners in the night time economy such as Thames Valley Police, First Stop and the venues in Reading town centre.”
This visit was made as part of an ongoing programme of engagement work run by the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner, which will organise regular visits with the Police & Crime Commissioner, partners and funded organisations throughout 2023.