‘We’re calming and non-judgemental. You just need a good heart’
the street angel
Sarah Ward, 49, is a part-time youth worker. She lives in Guildford, Surrey with her husband Chris and daughters Orla, 16, and Caitlin, 13. Sarah volunteers as a Street Angel, helping the vulnerable at night-time.
We all love to celebrate Christmas and New year, and every weekend in December our town centre swarms with people letting their hair down. there are office parties, girls’ nights out, impromptu drinks in the pub and packed dance floors in every club. the flip side of this is that things can, and do, go wrong – people get separated from their friends or find themselves outside in the cold with no money for a taxi, and having missed the last train home. then there are the people who don’t have a home to go to. Many drink too much, leaving them vulnerable.
that is where I come in. I volunteer with street angels and it’s our job to offer help and support to anyone out on the town in Guildford. We step in before people need the emergency services and are a calming, non-judgemental presence on Friday and saturday nights from 10pm-4am, all year round. During the festive season, we are especially busy.
I heard about the organisation nine years ago. I worked in It, but approaching my 40th birthday decided I wanted to do something different. one week, the street angels came to give a talk at the church I attend. I admired what they were doing, got in touch and I’ve been on the rota ever since. you don’t have to have religious faith to be involved, although we’re a Christian charity. It’s about helping people, so you just need a good heart.
Despite the unsociable hours and the tiredness, I love every shift, as it’s an opportunity to serve my community. I will wake up on Christmas morning secure in the knowledge that there are lots of people who can enjoy their Christmas because they’ve got home safe the night before.