Over the past 10 years, volunteers have spent time out on the streets offering support and Ministry guidance to thousands upon thousands of Islanders. Throughout this time the band of volunteers have been a representation of, and witness for, all Island churches out in the local community.
The Street Pastors are well respected across the Island and have come to the aid of many people found worse for wear on a Friday and Saturday night as they patrol the streets of Ryde and Newport. In recent months the group has seen an influx of new, enthusiastic recruits.
However, the charity has announced a funding crisis as a result of the loss of a grant from the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner. Previously, the Commissioner’s office (and its predecessor body) provided at least 25% of the Street Pastor’s funding, but in 2018 the funding amount was cut in half. This led to a proportion of the charity’s reserves being used to keep things going.
It has now been confirmed that the Police & Crime Commissioner will not be making a grant payment this year, resulting in a financial dilemma for the charity.
Andrew Gardner, Coordinator for the Isle of Wight Street Pastors, has said:
“The plain fact is that, unless we find other sources of funding urgently, or take steps that will considerably reduce the extent and quality of our operations, our remaining reserves will all be exhausted within the next 9 months. If that happens, our ministry and work will be unable to continue in its current form”.
Taking to Facebook to share the news from a letter dated 5th March, the Street Pastors say it could all be over as soon as September – just 6 months away.
The charity is appealing for regular contributions and one-off donations to help keep the service going. More information about how to donate can be found at www.iowstreetpastors.org.uk.