A Brief History of Halifax street angels
Street Angels was launched in November 2005 as a response by the church in Halifax to needs in the town centre. Halifax had a reputation - binge drinking, violence, coach parties from across the North of England, sexual assaults, under age drinkers in the pubs and clubs... Halifax had almost become a no-go place for many people on Friday and Saturday nights.
Could volunteers, initially opening the Fairtrade Cafe next to the YMCA to provide a safe place, make a difference? After chatting with the Police, the idea went from thought to reality in just over 2 weeks. So, on Friday 25th November 2005, we opened the cafe not knowing what to expect! Fifty volunteers turned up on the first night far too many to fit into our small cafe - so the concept of Street Angels was born! People volunteering their time, out on the streets in all weathers until early hours of the morning, making the difference and caring about others.
In our six week trial we helped and assisted 69 people - from elderly people leaving the theatre to young people who had had too much to drink to people wanting to wait in Fairtrade Cafe for taxis as it was safer than waiting in a taxi queue. Street Angels worked! Twelve months later violent crime in the town centre, which typically increased on Friday and Saturday nights, had reduced by 42%.
Street Angels continued beyond the trial - very soon other towns and cities (police and church networks) were visiting or speaking to Halifax to see Street Angels in action. Watford launched in July 2006 with towns and cities in West Yorkshire launching soon afterwards. It was very clear that God was doing amazing things through this work - on the streets we were seeing lives changed, people helped at a time when it was most needed and our town begin to change from binge to better as restaurants, cocktail bars and theatre attracted a better mix of people. Though a partnership with St John Ambulance one man had his life saved through the rapid response of the first aid team - volunteers investing time and skills on our streets worked!
Our work in Halifax still continues but in July 2008 at our first conference we launched the Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network - am umbrella group to support, resource and promote new and existing projects working within the night-time economy. This has now expanded and Paul Blakey and Adam May, who both work on CNI Network, are considered two of the national leads on night-time economy work. The work of CNI is focussed around five strands - Local Projects, Network, National Influence, Making the Difference and Love Your Streets. More information can be found at www.cninetwork.org.uk
Street Angels has continued to grow in the Halifax area. We have received several awards, including a MBE for founder Paul Blakey, and accolade and visits from the highest levels. Our main commitment is to Friday and Saturday nights which is where our volunteers make the most difference with other activities including stewarding at community events, delivering education around alcohol and safety, partnering with other agencies and helping other charities and organisations to make the difference through the work they do.
We hope you find this web site interesting and informative...
Radio Features over the years:
Radio Leeds Feature
Radio Leeds Interview
Phoenix Radio Interview, November 2009
Phoenix Radio Interview, June 2010
Premier Radio - November 2010
Sixth Annual Report
Fifth Annual Report
Fourth Annual Report
Third Annual Report
Second Annual Report
First Annual Report
Really old (2005 - 2008)
Fairly old (2008 - 2010)
More up to date (2010 - today)
Click here for 2005 - 2010
Click here for 2010 - current CNI Network news