accessibility & help

British Red Cross joins with Torbay Street Pastors to help people in crisis on streets of Torquay

For immediate release: Thursday 5 January, 2012
For further information: Samantha Whitwham (
Contact number: 0117 3012624 07525 128297

British Red Cross joins with Torbay Street Pastors to help people in crisis on streets of Torquay

The British Red Cross is looking for new volunteers to provide first aid and emotional support to vulnerable people at night on the streets of Torquay.

The charity is joining with the Torbay Street Pastors to provide independent and impartial help and advice to people in crisis, who may be injured or distressed while out in the town on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Torbay Street Pastors have already been in contact with 46,000 people since they started on the streets providing a support service three-and-a-half years ago, and it is hoped the addition of Red Cross volunteers working on the Torbay Street Pastor Safe Place, with their specific skills in first aid and emotional support, will strengthen the service further.

The Red Cross volunteers will be based at the Torbay Street Pastor Safe Place – a specially-adapted vehicle parked on Torquay harbour-side - on Friday and Saturday nights, all year round. John Saunders, 61, a quantity surveyor from Torquay, is the first Red Cross volunteer to work on the project so far and has been involved since its inception in February 2011.

John, who has been a Red Cross volunteer for more than 30 years, says: “Sometimes the Torbay Street Pastor team and I have given comfort and support, other times it’s more hands on. Generally Saturday nights are the busiest time. People might be suffering from the effects of alcohol or have had their drink spiked.

“We help homeless people and those who suddenly get struck by fear on a night out and find themselves having some kind of panic attack. Often people feel vulnerable because they’ve become separated from friends. We make sure people in crisis don’t go ignored and our impartiality means we’re not judgmental. We’re there to help.”

The Red Cross is a politically and religiously neutral organisation and Torbay Street Pastors are a Christian organisation.  Both offer unconditional and non-judgmental help to people in need.

Ros Ede, Torbay Street Pastor Coordinator, says: “Our aim is to get folks home safely, often by calling a family member to come and pick them up. We specifically know we’ve helped people who have been feeling suicidal.

“We’re really pleased the Red Cross is coming on board with this project. We do basic first aid training but not the in-depth training the Red Cross does, so the volunteers will be a real asset.”

The Torbay Street Pastor Safe Place is situated outside Debenhams on Torquay harbour-side on Friday nights between 10pm and 2am and on Saturday nights between 10pm and 4am.

For more information about volunteering please contact Rosalyn Pascoe ( on 01392 353 276.

For more information about the British Red Cross please visit

For more information about the Street Pastors please visit or


Notes to Editors

Please find attached photographs British Red Cross volunteer John Saunders who works alongside Safe Place volunteers in Torquay. Please credit UNP.

For more images or to arrange an interview please contact Samantha Whitwham on 0117 3012624 or 07525 128297.

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

Follow us on Twitter: @BRC_West

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