By Kieran Muir
THEY often refer to them as “the God squad” or “Bible bashers” but Paisley’s party-goers may not realise the love and care that the town’s Street Pastors put in to ensure that they enjoy themselves safely.
But for Roy and Cheryl Adair the nicknames are simply ” a bit of banter” which they accept comes with the territory of keeping Paisley’s revellers safe.
The town is famous for its cotton mining past, its collection of churches and a guy called Gerard Butler, but it is also popular for its nightlife, especially among the younger generations.
The Adairs volunteer as Street Pastors, a project which was rolled-out in Paisley by their church, and has been inspired by the well-established project running in Glasgow.
Cheryl said: “We had wanted to do it for a long time but we had family commitments and couldn’t commit to a Saturday or a Friday, so we let it pass us by.
“Then we went to an inspire day that our church was having and the coordinator for the Glasgow Street Pastors spoke at it and when they had finished, we both turned to each other and said ‘oh that’s what we need to do’.”
The couple, who are members of St Matthew’s Church, had a few training courses to complete – costing £250 – and become familiar with the requirements of being a pastor before they could go out and help.
Roy said: “The main course that you have to do is the roles and responsibilities of a Street Pastor which defines what you should and shouldn’t be doing. That’s the main one, you have to do that.”
Cheryl added: “You appreciate that not everyone could afford [the course] but money wouldn’t be a big issue, that shouldn’t stop anybody from becoming a Street Pastor, but we were asked to pay £50 out of our own pocket.
Helping people who have consumed far too much alcohol for their bodies to handle requires the upmost professionalism, integrity and of course care.
Roy said: “Our motto is Listening, Caring and Helping. So we are out there to chat to people, help care for people who have problems and if need be refer them to other services.”
Given that the scheme is operated from the church, it may not come as a surprise that care and love comes naturally to the couple, and although God is a strong influence in their life, it is all about the care and love.
Cheryl said: “We would always know our limits. We really do believe that we are there to listen, care for and help people. You’re not there to preach and ram you Faith down people’s throats. But, at the same time we believe in the power of prayer.
Roy continued: “One Friday we met a man at the bus stop and he was really quite distraught – he had been a user but had been clean for a year, he was in a bad place and was really low. We walked alongside him and he said that he was really touched by the love and care that we’d shown him and I just said that Jesus loves you.
“We have kept in touch with that man. It’s always nice to see someone after you have spoken to them” added Cheryl.
The work the couple do is all-consuming but Roy and Cheryl do not have any plans on stopping and their family seem to be fairly content with them going out every weekend so there is no reason to stop.
Cheryl added: “As long as my health is fine I have no plans of stopping.”
But Roy admits: “Sometimes you get people shouting ‘you old people should be in your bed!’ ”
Scotland and alcohol
A RECENT survey has revealed that around half of Scots do not know how much units of alcohol they drink.
Findings published by Alcohol Focus Scotland showed that nearly 50% of the population did not know the alcohol contents in a glass of wine, pint of beer or a measure of spirits. The report also found that only 16% of people admitted that they did not drink, 44% of which thought that others found them odd for not drinking alcohol.
- 26% drink hazardous or harmful amounts of alcohol.
- 1,150 – the number of alcohol related deaths in Scotland last year.
- Scotland has higher alcohol-related deaths than England and Wales, despite the figures falling.
- There were 35,000 alcohol-related hospital stays in 2015/16.
- 92% of which were from emergency admissions.
- NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has double the rate of alcohol-related hospital stays compared to NHS Dumfries and Galloway.
- Alcohol is related to 25% of all trauma patients.
- In 54% of crime, the victim said the offender was under the influence of alcohol.
- In the past 10 years, half of those accused of murder were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the murder.
- £3.6 billion – the amount alcohol costs Scotland per year.