DEDICATED volunteers are being drafted in to help drinkers stay safe on one of the busiest nights before Christmas.
Portsmouth’s Street Pastors will be on patrol at busy nightspots in the city including Portsmouth’s Guildhall Walk and Albert Road in Southsea.
But for the first time a team will be on-hand in Southsea’s Palmerston Road, offering support to those in need on December 23.
A group of volunteers will be out and about in Albert Road from 10pm to midnight before moving on to Palmerston Road until 2am.
The volunteers will hand out water and safety blankets to drinkers as well as offering a listening ear to those who want to talk or help to ensure they can get home safely after their night out.
PC Matt Debenham, from Portsmouth’s licensing team, will work closely with the Street Pastors on the night.
He said: ‘It was the Street Pastors’ idea to get as many volunteers as they could out before Christmas.
‘They make a great difference.’
He added: ‘In my opinion, this expansion is a very positive addition to the city of Portsmouth and is a move that will continue to make our night time economy areas a safer place.’
Portsmouth’s Street Pastors – which is run by church-goers from across the area – helped 16,475 people in the first four years of setting up in Portsmouth city centre.
In that time they supported 1,460 vulnerable people and helped calm 376 aggressive situations.
Now they hope to reach out to even more people.
Co-ordinator Elly Mulvaney said: ‘We will be listening, caring and offering practical help where it is needed.
‘It was felt that December 23 would be the prime night – a lot of people will have finished work for Christmas and be out enjoying themselves.
‘We have a different role but we complement the work of the police.
‘Really our motivation for doing it is because of our faith and putting it into action.’
If the Palmerston Road trial is successful, Street Pastors may start more regular patrols in the area next year.
For information on volunteering or sponsoring a Street Pastor call 07809 627770 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.