Street Pastors, a Christian organisation which helps the general public on nights out, are swapping their shifts into daylight hours as government restrictions change.
With fewer evening party-goers on the streets, the organisation saw a need to be present during daylight hours.
They are offering friendly chats to anyone feeling anxious or lonely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The chief executive of Ascension Trust who run Street Pastors, Rev Les Isaacs, told Premier that the switch to daytime patrolling was “obvious”. He believes that although the pandemic has caused a lot of anxiety, it has also created an opportunity for the church to be visible and present in the midst of it.
“[The daytime patrols have] been really been good. The amount of people that have come up to us and just want to talk, people have been under lockdown for a long time and they see a friendly face.
“A guy came up and said 'Look, I've just lost my job'. We chatted and chatted, we were there for an hour. And then he said 'Thank you very much for that. Thank you for listening to me. I know I didn't make sense. But thank you'."
But the Street Pastors have also been affected themselves by coronavirus. As a result of age or underlying health conditions, some were deemed ´high risk´ and were therefore no longer able to go out on patrol.
“We've had to work hard to find teams of people. In Glasgow, we had a team of 100 but at the end of the day I only had 30 to work with because people are shielding” added Rev Isaacs.
For Nigel de Rivaz, Broxbourne coordinator of Street Pastors, day patrolling has so far been about fighting Covid-19 sceptics.
“Two weeks ago, there were a lot of Covid deniers about and shops don't want to act as policemen. But we thought that if we go out wearing a visor together in uniform, we make a bit of an impact going through the town.”
Rev Isaacs encourages people to pray for those in positions of responsibility, as well as other social issues the pandemic has highlighted.
“Pray for politicians, pray for police officers, pray for families, domestic abuse…There's so many things Covid-19 has thrown up….[the] mental health of young people, suicide, all of these things…It´s about [asking] God “Please pour out your grace and your Spirit upon this nation at this time.”