HUDDERSFIELD’S Street Angels who help vulnerable people out in the town late at night are appealing for new volunteers.
The angels dress in high visibility jackets and walk the streets on Wednesdays and Saturdays looking for people who seem disorientated, are separated from their friends or need help getting home.
Founder member Dianne Hughes, 63, said: "We give people slippers if they’ve no shoes or can’t walk in their tottering heels and we’ve got water and biscuits.
"We’re not in cahoots with the police. We are not looking for criminals, we are not looking for drugs, we don’t judge people if they are sat on the floor or if they’re homeless. We just want to be kind to them."
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: "The Street Angels are a reassuring presence on the streets of our towns and cities.
"As they are trained in first aid, they help members of the public who have drunk too much or suffered minor injuries and help keep them safe. This allows police officers to deal with more serious incidents."
The Christian-led project started in March 2007 as part of Kirklees Safer Stronger Communities Partnership when there were more than 40 volunteers.
The most recent figures from Kirklees suggest they have helped overall violent crime to reduce by 40%.
But over the past year the number of volunteers has dropped.
Dianne said they were normally scratching around for three people – the minimum amount for them to be able to go out.
She said: "It nearly collapsed last winter. I mean everyone had a hard, cold winter, but it was really non- existent.
"We just couldn’t get teams and a lot of people who began were maybe in their mid or late 60s and none of us are getting any younger. It’s hard work, walking cold streets."
Some members, such as 50-year-old team leader Ian Atkinson have been going out two or three times a month to make up numbers.
He said: "It would be brilliant if we could get more people so we’ve got two teams out regularly."
A recruitment drive in local churches throughout October has encouraged a handful of new recruits.
Guy Cooke, 25, who went out for the second time on Saturday night, said: "For me it’s just a way of serving Jesus and getting out there into the community. I always used to enjoy going out with my mates to nightclubs and I would drive them home."
The Street Angels ask volunteers to have a Christian background, to be caring and to be able to commit to one Wednesday or Saturday night between 10pm and 3am each month.
For more information contact Dianne Hughes by emailing email@example.com