Project to help young drinkers
is mobile

Rev Alan Dickinson, chairman of Whitley Bay Street Pastors, receives the keys to their new mobile unit from Mayor Linda Arkley.
Rev Alan Dickinson, chairman of Whitley Bay Street Pastors, receives the keys to their new mobile unit from Mayor Linda Arkley.

A SCHEME helping young people who have had too much to drink on a night out in Whitley Bay has gone mobile.

Whitley Bay’s Street Pastors, volunteers from local churches who patrol on a night time, has taken delivery of a specially-built mobile unit.

The £17,000 vehicle – originally a builder’s van but rebuilt – will provide a safe place for young people in distress to rest, recuperate and get ready for their journey home.

The vehicle will be parked in South Parade from 10pm to 4am every Thursday and Saturday evening, and bank holidays, from today.

Funding has come from the North Tyneside Strategic Partnership, with Mayor Linda Arkley handing over the keys last Friday.

Rev Alan Dickinson, from The Bay Church and the chairman of Whitley Bay Street Pastors, said: “This will make a huge difference to the care we are able to offer.

“Street Pastors are well used to ensuring that people who come to experience Whitley Bay’s nightlife and have a little too much to drink don’t come to any harm.

“Sometimes all they need is a chance to sit down and rest in a warm, safe environment.

“This new vehicle gives us the perfect base to offer such care.

“We are deeply grateful to North Tyneside Strategic Partnership for funding this superb resource.”

Chris Lincoln, co-ordinator for Street Pastors, said: “We plan to have five Street Pastors on duty in Whitley Bay every Thursday and Saturday night.

“Now two of them will be staffing our new mobile unit so they can offer care and a safe place to anyone who has become disorientated or distressed due to too much alcohol.

“All of our Street Pastors are first aid trained and this new vehicle will be the perfect environment for us to patch up young people who might have hurt themselves on a night out.

“The vehicle also has a small kitchen for hot drinks, a powerful heating system to use on cold winter nights, and lots of storage for the bottled water and space blankets we hand out.”

Whitley Bay Street Pastors, recognised by their dark blue uniforms, offer practical help such as handing out flip-flops to women tired from walking in high heels, helping people into taxis, giving directions, and offering water and basic first aid.

They work closely with North Tyneside Council and Northumbria Police, but are operationally independent.