St Helen’s has worked actively with the other six churches in Ashby as well as those in the surrounding villages to set up and continue the ministry of Ashby Street Pastors. Over the last 10 years members of all the churches in Ashby have been involved with Street Pastors. We rely on continued financial and prayer support from each of the churches as well as volunteers to help with our training programme.
Street Pastors are out on the streets of Ashby on a Saturday evening from 10.00 pm to around 2.00 am the following morning, showing God’s love in practical ways to all involved in our thriving night time economy. We work together with the police and door staff to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time. We support vulnerable people when they get in to difficulty, sometimes helping
them to get home safely or providing a sympathetic listening ear if they want to talk. Practically we provide bottled water and flip flops to stop bare feet getting hurt on broken glass as well as removing empty bottles and glasses from the street. In addition we are all trained First Aiders, should the need arise.
Our help is well received, particularly as we work in partnership with others. The police may ask us to go out at additional times, for instance due to an evening football match or during the Statues Fair that takes place each year in September. Many young people in particular know us well and share experiences of being helped by us on different occasions. We also work together with the local town and district councils and our presence is valued at the regular Pub Watch meetings involving Pub and Night Club owners, the police and local council officials.
To access the food bank our clients must obtain a voucher from a referrer. Among our referrees are schools, citizens advice bureau, social workers and family liaison workers, clergy and some doctors surgeries. Customers may use our food bank up to three times in any crisis but in certain circumstances we will support a little longer.
Our food is collected at churches and supermarkets with larger donations coming at Harvest Festival time from schools and churches and local businesses at Christmas. Individuals also donate money to enable us to buy more specialist items including baby food, nappies and items in short supply.
We are open twice per week in Ashby and once per week in both Measham and Woodville.
Our volunteers come from churches in the area as well as people from other faiths and none. We give sufficient food to provide all food and basic hygiene requirements for three days with the odd treat included. Our demand varies depending upon the time of year and is often influenced by school holidays. We cannot store fresh produce so all food must be tinned or in packets. However, a local business donates a fresh loaf of bread to all.
All donations are individually hand dated and weighed to improve stock rotation. All gift parcels are weighed so that upon our annual stock check we have the weight of food donated less weight of items distributed which should equal the weight still in stock.
In 2019, thanks to the generosity of townsfolk, we were able to give away over 18 tons of food in over 1500 parcels.
All visitors are offered hot drinks and biscuits to help them relax during what is often a very stressful and traumatic experience along with a listening ear as we endeavour to point them towards agencies who may help them with their difficulties.
Christians against poverty
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