25 July 2012
Street Angels visit Downing Street
The work of Street Angels - Christian Nightlife Initiatives (CNI) Network, an evangelical Christian organisation, was celebrated and honoured by the prime minister at a reception in Number 10 Downing Street this month.
The organisation was one of 14 collecting a Big Society Award and included an opportunity to chat with David Cameron. Founder of Street Angels - CNI Network Paul Blakey MBE and his wife Jean attended the event along with the lead members of Stockton Town Pastors, Steve and Hazel Brock.
Street Angels was launched in Halifax in 2005 and has contributed to a significant reduction in violent crime and sexual assaults in the town centre. CNI Network was launched in 2008 to facilitate the growth across the UK of similar projects working within the night-time economy. There are now more than 100 local projects across the UK, Europe and Australia working within the night-time community of towns and cities investing thousands of hours each year.
The prime minister praised the work of the Street Angels as being an example of what communities can achieve when they come together.
"Street Angels shows what can be achieved when communities work hand in hand with their local services to make their towns, estates and streets safer places," he said.
"Paul and his army of volunteers embody the principles of Big Society, with people standing up and taking an active role in building the type of community they want to live in – one that looks out for the vulnerable and says no to the drunken, loutish, criminal behaviour that can too often blight communities. I'm delighted this approach has been used to tackle the very same issues in other towns and cities, as far away as Australia."
Commenting on the day Steve Brock said: "The Church has been doing big society work—taking the initiative to reach out and help others—for more than 2,000 years, and CNI projects up and down the country are just examples of how we are helping those in need without judgement and regardless of circumstance.
"It was a privilege to attend Downing Street and have our work acknowledged, and is a memory that will live on for the rest of my days. The hundreds of volunteers who carry out this work are absolutely brilliant, show a true Christian heart and fully deserve the recognition this award brings."