Derby’s Street Pastors operate as a franchise of the national Street Pastor scheme that is run by the Ascension Trust under the management of Derby City Mission.  Street Pastors was started by Les Isaac OBE in Brixton in 2003, initially in response to inner city gun crime. Since then, it has evolved so that now there are over 280 Street Pastor Initiatives across the UK. For a Street Pastor initiative to be granted an operating licence, it needs to have the backing of four different church denominations within its operating area. 

The Beginning

Derby Street Pastors is operated under the governance of Derby City Mission and was established by a team led by the former CEO, Ally Kay, in response to the tragic deaths in 2008 of two young men on the streets of Derby.  Following an autumn recruitment campaign, the Street Pastors was formally launched at a civic reception with Derbyshire Police and Derby City Council on 9th December 2008.  There then followed an intensive period of training that led to our first shift in Derby city centre was on the 16th February 2009.

In the next 11 years we missed only 2 shifts, one when the food outlet below our base caught fire and another when the city centre was in high risk of flooding. In 2020 and early 2021 our patrols had to be either stopped or much reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Twelve Years on the Streets

Over 12 years we have trained 145 Street Pastor volunteers who, by August 2021, together have undertaken a total of 4853 shifts, with 7 individuals having been out on the streets on over 100 nights.  During each shift, we record all of the interactions and interventions that we undertake.  In the 12 years we have been operating up to August 2021, Street Pastors have:

  • Engaged in 60,036 conversations with members of the public,
  • Responded to calls by our partners 3,146 times to support vulnerable people,
  • Given away 5,450 pairs of flip-flops to prevent cut feet,
  • Given out 5,638 bottles of water,
  • Picked up 43,263 discarded glass bottles that could be used to cause harm and swept up plenty of broken glass,
  • Administered first aid to 2,057 people who may have been injured or ill,
  • Assisted 3,363 who were excessively intoxicated and found them a safe way home.
  • Supported 1,195 people who were upset and needed comfort and reassurance.

Each of those statistics represents someone we have personally met, and on every shift, people will come up and thank us for being there. On occasions, we get messages of thanks sent to us, which you can read here.

In addition to these, on every shift, though not recorded, we pray both for and with people that we meet, and have awesome conversations about our faith, mainly motivated by a curiosity about why we give up our time to be on the streets volunteering in the early hours of the morning.

In 2019 we were delighted to celebrate our 10-year anniversary with a thanksgiving service in the company of our friends and family, key partner organisations and representatives from Ascension Trust.




Partnership Working

All Street Pastor initiatives are built upon a partnership model where we operate by bringing the church community to work alongside the local council and police service in what is often referred to as the urban trinity.
“May I offer my congratulations on 10 years of Street Pastors on the streets of Derby. One should not underestimate the achievement not just in the organisation and training but having a group of trained and dedicated volunteers who week in week out give up their free time to go in the challenging arena that is the night time economy. It is paramount that the city centre is a welcoming and safe environment for everyone and this cannot be done by the Police in isolation. This is why the role of the Street Pastors is so vital.” – Chief Superintendent David Cox – Divisional Commander

Our key partners are: 

Street Pastors with MP for Derby North - Amanda Solloway at Derby University

Derby City Council

Our primary relationship is with the Community Safety Department, which provides around 50% of our operational funding. In addition, they provide a liaison role with us on any operational issues we identify within the management of the Night Time Economy (NTE). We provide input and support towards their assessment of the city’s Purple Flag status. Our monthly statistics are used by their data analysts to correlate against crime and public health data and to support licensing decisions.

Derbyshire Police and Office of Police & Crime Commissioner

Street Pastors' relationship with the police is one of mutual respect and benefit.  Whilst they offer us a safe environment in which to operate, we provide them with a service to care for vulnerable people, which frees them up to deal with issues of law and order.

We have a great relationship with the licensing team and the officers who are policing the NTE, as well as the senior officers who are setting the policing policies for the city.

Over the past five years, Derby Street Pastors have taken part in initiatives such as Drinkaware and Stop the Bleed that are promoted by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office.

Venue Management, Door Staff & Taxi Marshals

The pubs, bars, restaurants and nightclubs are the very reason that a nighttime economy exists in Derby city centre. So on each shift, our team catches up with the venue managers and door staff so they know that we are there should they require us to support someone who needs our care.

The Taxi Marshals maintain control of taxis on the 2 major ranks in the city.  They also identify vulnerable people and assist us in obtaining a taxi home for people we have helped.

CCTV Operations & Derby Pubwatch

On Friday and Saturday nights, the CCTV operators provide the glue that connects all of the NTE partners together.  In conjunction with Derby Pubwatch, which provides the other partners and us with radios, they monitor and inform us of areas of concern and incidents as they unfold.

Current Operations

Since we started in 2009, we had been able to use the Central URC on Becket Well Lane. However, due to extensive redevelopment work in that area, we said goodbye to an old friend in July 2020 and moved into a new base as part of the church’s relocation to Stuart House on Green Lane.

Related Projects

As well as Street Pastors, the Ascension Trust runs a number of related projects which we don’t currently operate in Derby

  • Prayer Pastors
  • School Pastors
  • Response Pastors
  • Rail Pastors