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Friday night with Guildford Street Angels due Covid-19

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

September, 2020

Friday Night.

I had an appointment with Street Angels Coordinator Ms Fiona Ford at 8:30 PM on High Street near Holy Trinity & St Marys Church in Guildford (Surrey).

I remember that earlier Voluntaries meet to collect the necessary materials and equipment, and they are divided into teams. But due to the prevailing limitations, I was unable to attend this meeting. Nothing is lost, I hope I will be able to comb my hair later and finish my day to capture it.

I already worked for Street Angels as a volunteer photographer in 2016-17. I remember that at that time, depending on the anticipated problems, there were two or three patrols on the street on Friday and Saturday night. Each of the patrols had a radio with them to contact other patrols as well as local services (CCTV, emergency). A backpack with: a first aid kit, a brush with a dustpan for cleaning broken glass, insulation foil, flip-flops, water, an external battery for charging the phone. Each volunteer is wearing a visible jacket with the Street Angels logo. Also bottled water and lollipops. The first patrols spread across the streets at 10:30 PM and the night ending sometimes at 5:00 AM.

During the pandemic, patrols were reduced and now there are two-man teams. Each volunteer must be equipped with a protective mask, goggles and disposable gloves. Patrols start at 8:30 PM and end around midnight.

We met at the agreed time and place as it was planned. From the initial conversation, I found out from Ms Fiona that there are three two-man patrols that night. We will hover between them and watch the events of the night. The surrounding pubs and restaurants are supposed to close at 10:00 PM, so we should expect more traffic in the streets around the time it closes.

During this time, we were walking on the streets and looking for people who might need help, we talked to the security of the premises, we met interesting people.

After 10:00 PM, the smallest shops selling alcohol and food takeaway were the busiest. In these places the most was happening, but apart from interesting conversations, nothing disturbing happened, young people gathered in small groups of no more than 6 people. When there were more than six people in the group, the police intervened.

At around 11:00 PM there was a break in patrols. Street Angels are based Friday and Saturday at Holy Trinity & St Marys Church. They can drink coffee or tea, rest for a while and discuss what has happened so far.

After the break, we took to the streets again. It was generally empty and quiet. Occasional passersby, more or less drunk, broken and empty bottles.

We received an emergency radio call before midnight. After arriving, it turned out that a group of young people was celebrating a birthday on one of the rooftops, and while descending from one of the rooftops, one of the participants fell through the roof window into the building and hung in this window. His comrades rushed to the rescue and pulled him out, injuring themselves against glass fragments. It turned out that the young man who fell through the window was the most injured. Practically, Street Angels were in the area at the time of the incident, and they heard that something had happened. They rushed to the rescue, provided first aid, and helped to notify the police and medical services. Who knows what would happen if they were not there. When the ambulance arrived and the medics took care of the casualties, Street Angels patrols were allowed to leave the scene. Nothing else happened that night, so we could safely end our patrolling.

We returned to Holy Trinity & St Marys Church to file our final reports, sort out unused material, and say goodnight in prayer together. Street Angels In Guildford are recognised positively as a group of volunteers.

Since they began patrols in 2008, crime has plummeted on weekend nights, and people feel safer on the streets. Volunteers are always welcomed with a smile. And of course, they are always asked about lollipops.

25/26 September 2020.

Street Angels in the duty.

25 September 2020, 9PM. The beginning of patrol. Radio to contact other angels, CCTV and other support. Lollipops to brake the ice with peoples from the street and also for add some sugar for drunks. Mask for protection.

25 September 2020, just before 10PM, empty streets, last buses.

All pubs and restaurants will be close soon.

25 September 2020, after 10PM, searching for peoples in need.

25 September 2020, after 10PM. All pubs and restaurants are close now, but small local shops with alcohol still remain to open. The groups are buying alcohol and having own parties. The angels talking with young mens about dreams, jobs and future educations.

25 September 2020, around 11PM.

Coffee/tea brake in local church.

25 September 2020, around 11:30PM.

Angels picking up any glass bottles and broken glass as they could be danger.

25 September 2020, around 11:30PM. Angels picking up any glass bottles and broken glass as they could be danger.

25 September 2020, around Midnight.

Sharing lollipops.

25 September 2020, around Midnight.

One of the group having party.

26 September 2020, 00:30AM. Angels spotted young mens in trouble. Due drinking outside on the roof, one of them had serious accident, and need medical support.

26 September 2020, 00:50AM.

Paramedics with injured young person.

26 September 2020, After 1AM. Volunteer on his knees doing final report from the night.

26 September 2020, After 1AM.

End of the night, final reports.

26 September 2020, After 1AM.

End of the night and prey.

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