‘We’re calm­ing and non-judge­men­tal. You just need a good heart’

Woman & Home - - Making A Difference -

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.

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