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Supporting Preston’s Street Pastors

5th March 2024 | County Lines

The Clewer Initiative

Street Pastors are trained volunteers from local churches who patrol the streets of a city, reaching out to and caring for those who are out and about in the night.

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Preston & South Ribble Street Pastors started their ministry in 2008. They patrol Preston City Centre every Saturday night and some Friday nights from 10.30pm until 3.00am, ensuring the homeless are looked after and spending time with people who are leaving pubs and clubs. They aim to “care for, listen to and help people who are out on the streets.”

Patrols are drawn from a 40 strong team which is coordinated by Paul Blackett. Paul was aware that the drug scene is always changing and felt that it was important to find current training for his team. He saw an advert for the County Lines Train the Trainer session in The Clewer Initiative’s monthly newsletter and thought it could be a perfect fit for the Street Pastors. He attended the training in February 2021 and has been benefitting from the knowledge ever since.

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Paul explains: “Life on the streets isn’t how it is portrayed on TV. Through The Clewer Initiative’s online County Lines training, I gained a much better understanding of how drugs gangs operate and current trends within the drug business. It is a lot more organised than I realised and technology and mobile phones are at the heart of the gangs’ business model. I am now much more aware and know what to do if I am worried about a particular young person. When I am patrolling the streets of Preston with my colleagues, we chat about the things we see. I often share what I learned on the Train the Trainer course and pass on the knowledge in this informal way.

“The training has really opened my eyes - Preston is not better or worse than any other city. County lines exists everywhere across the UK and it is really important that people who are working in the community are aware of the signs to look out for.”

Paul Blackett explains how The Clewer Initiative's county lines training has helped him in his frontline work

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