Serving others, gladly.

A summary of the training meeting on Thursday 10 Feb 2022

led jointly by the Street Pastors and the Samaritans.

NB two of the Street Pastor team will join us for the first few weeks until we become familiar with the guests and the routines. Thanks very much to Ian and Jane.

Richard, from the Samritans opened.

  • 80% of ALL the calls to Samaritans do not include a suicide statement. What we might face is a whole range of other issues, or none.
  • All our guests may be vulnerable in one way or another, on a spectrum of issues. Some may present multi-layer vulnerability.
  • How they present may not be obvious/may be non-verbal.
  • There are some leaflets available to hand out during service, advertising Samaritans and help.
  • Conversations you have may come back to you at odd moments. That is normal; but if you need to discuss ANYTHING further, please ring the Samaritans for an informal chat. They are there for us as well as anyone else.
  • Part of the Safeguarding of Volunteers policy is here. At any stage a Volunteer may approach the Team Leader for assistance or reassurance.

Steve Jones then presented various scenarios, which we discussed in small groups before a plenary on each one. The main conclusions are given, rather than the scenario itself.

  • Don’t bring ANY money/wallets/handbags. It makes it easy, truthfully, to reply “I haven’t got any” if someone asks you for money. If you inadvertently bring some, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you give any to one of the guests.
  • If a guest is ill or very physically debilitated or very cold, some initial quick Q&A and a hot sweet cuppa may bring some relief; in which case the local Boots walk in pharmacy may help if medical assistance is needed, or a recommendation to go to the Ark tomorrow. However a judgement call must be made whether to ring 999.
  • If a Loner sits by himself and requests your company, go with it. Initial small talk and general listening skills pertain. Allow silence. Take what they say at face value. Allow a different name per person per week if that’s what they want – don’t challenge it.
  • A situation may develop suddenly between 2 guests into disruption/a brawl. Verbal intervention is fine – help people settle/invite one party to come and sit with you/”if you can’t settle we’ll have to close service”. Never interfere physically: avoid any possibility of allegations of assault, etc. If they end up on the floor in a fight, leave them to it; ring the police and make sure you are safe.
  • Breakfast is not going well; same food as usual but things going wrong. OK, sorry, this is it! Do you want it or not? Would you like to try a small amount first? What about some toast… etc.
  • Trouble kicks off as one angry guest enters for one reason or another (he may have had his doorway ‘stolen’ from him at 0300 when he had to get up for something…..) Much as 4: verbal intervention only/settle things as best as possible/isolate or distract individuals. But if violent, be safe yourself/call police.

The police know we are doing this and are in favour of it – it helps them with their job. They may well be patrolling nearby but will probably not drop in for a cuppa.