Search

Havering’s Street Pastors: Providing a soft landing for those who party too hard

07:00 28 May 2014

Street Pastors - Monica Abdala and Bob Hughes

Street Pastors - Monica Abdala and Bob Hughes

Archant

A regular sight with their flip-flops and lollipops, the Street Pastors have been caring for the inebriated in Romford for seven years and are now patrolling the less-likely territory of Hornchurch.

Street PastorsStreet Pastors

News that the Christian organisation is spreading its net was announced at an event attended by the Rev Les Isaac OBE, founder of the initiative, as well as councillors and leading lights in the area’s police force.

Monica Abdala, a pastor in Havering for seven years and the borough’s co-ordinator for four, spoke to the Recorder about her work and the horrors that drink can bring.

“Some of the drinkers are unable to speak because they are so drunk they can’t remember their names and often they have separated from their friends,” she said.

“If their friends are in better condition than they are, they go into the club and they leave their drunk friend out on their own. We just find them sitting on the floor or being sick on a bench or crying.

“They are all by themselves and they often don’t know where they are.”

This is where a group from the 28 volunteers in Havering that patrol every Friday, come to the rescue.

They will sit with the worse-for-wear, ensure they come to no harm and give them water and coffee to sober them up. The pastors are not always met with open arms, but they carry a special gadget to break the ice.

“We give lollipops, which act as diffusers. We unexpectedly show up with a lollipop and it distracts them from their argument,” said Mrs Abdala.

“We also carry flip-flops because the girls go out in high heels looking beautiful, but, two hours later, they are too tipsy to walk in them, so they take them off. To prevent them hurting themselves on broken glass or mucky stuff, we give them flip-flops.”

Mrs Abdala claims that drink-related 999 call-outs have decreased since the pastors began patrolling in Romford.

However, London Ambulance Service figures show that alcohol-related call-outs in Havering reached 1,674 in 2012-13 compared to 1,078 in 2007-08.

This rise could have been far more dramatic without the efforts of the volunteers who wait with the inebriated before they are collected by friends or family, thus sometimes avoiding the need for an ambulance.

“If you call an ambulance, it’s just a waste of time. They can deal with more serious, important things,” Mrs Abdala said.

Rev Isaac said that the success in Romford had been vast, adding that all the door staff are familiar with the pastors and will go to them for help. “It’s become integral to the night-time economy,” he said.

Their arrival in Hornchurch may have surprised some as the area’s nightlife is seen as far calmer than Romford’s.

Mrs Abdala said the move was a “preventative measure”.

“People still get drunk – it’s no comparison to Romford, but we are seeing more younger people come to Hornchurch and drinking,” she said.

Rev Isaac added that the police do a good job and the pastors’ presence is because “prevention is better than a cure”.

Council leader Cllr Steven Kelly (Emerson Park) praised the volunteers’ work and welcomed them to Hornchurch.

He said: “I think they are excellent. They give a good service – they are particularly good at getting people safe and looked after.”

Mrs Abdala doesn’t want the pastors’ presence to spoil revellers’ fun but to prevent things going awry: “People can drink if they want. We don’t say you shouldn’t drink, but I think people need to drink responsibly.”

Read more:

Romford minicab driver, called by street pastors, raped girl passenger, 17

Measures introduced to stop problem patients drinking alcoholic hand gels at Queen’s Hospital

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

56 minutes ago
Seven men have been arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and four tonnes of toxic waste removed after two fuel laundering plants were discovered in Essex on Wednesday Picture: HMRC

Seven men, including one in Hornchurch, have been arrested and four tonnes of toxic waste removed after two fuel laundering plants were discovered in Essex on Wednesday.

Parents at Parsonage Farm Primary School fought off expansion in 2015

Councillors have criticised the borough’s plans to expand schools, claiming that school kitchens are already failing to provide hot meals for pupils.

Yesterday, 16:29
Police at the scene last night (credit: donatassimkus.com)

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a shooting in Gidea Park last night.

Yesterday, 15:26
British Transport Police

A man has been identified and will be interviewed by police after a disabled commuter was pushed and slapped on a train.

Yesterday, 12:02
Jim Reynolds pictured with Stalkers Lily

Romford Greyhound Stadium has terminated its contract with a high-profile trainer after accusing him of “bringing the integrity of the sport into question”.

Yesterday, 11:06
Mohamed Omer founding member of the Gardens of Peace cemetery with the graves behind him.

Trespassers who have built a wooden campsite on land earmarked for a cemetery have said they are “just growing flowers and potatoes”.

Yesterday, 09:08
Households in Norman Road, Hornchurch, are without running water this morning. Photo: Google Maps Street View

A second burst water main in as many days has forced residents to wake up without running water this morning.

Yesterday, 08:14
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell

Millions of pounds in funding for community projects could be lost from the borough after it was revealed an environmental trust is to be dissolved.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now