Guildford Street Angels (SAs), and parent Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy (GTCC), are celebrating their 15th anniversary in 2023. In that time we have become well known for our positive presence in the town centre between 11.00pm – 4 am every Friday and Saturday night. SAs offer caring support to vulnerable people on the streets of Guildford, no matter who they are, and whatever their situation, without judgment. In its 15 years the Chaplaincy has made a real positive impact on our town.
Did you know that a year after the SAs started out in Guildford in 2008, the Police estimated there was a 33% reduction in public crime rates on the streets of Guildford on the nights that SAs were operating in town? By helping people separated from friends, often after being excluded from night clubs. By supporting homeless people on the streets, people with mental health problems, those who are physically unwell after taking too much alcohol or drugs. People who have missed their last train home or have no means of getting home. Sometimes we are called upon to give first aid, be a listening ear, signpost people to local services and often we ensure that town visitors are supported to get home safely at the end of their night out. The difference we make has been recognised through many awards and commendations, including the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (the MBE for volunteer groups). The Guildford Mayor’s Award and Social Enterprise of the year in the local Biz awards.
In 2022 our volunteers gave over 5,300 hours of their time, on befriending visits, patrolling the streets and visiting workplaces and GP surgeries. We picked up around 3,200 glass bottles, had 50 encounters with homeless people and encountered over 3500 people in our three projects. With over 100 trained volunteers we have helped make Guildford a safer place by showing practical love and care to those in need.
As you will see from this newsletter, GTCC has not rested on its laurels and has continued to bless the town by continuing to work in new ways to meet the changing environments we now operate in. So thank you all our volunteers, Trustees, staff and supporters who have helped us along this journey. May you be richly blessed as we celebrate this milestone and look forward to what God has planned for our future.