Volunteer stories: helping to protect the vulnerable



The night time economy

LJMU’s School of Justice Studies have teamed up with Street Pastors to work closely with the most vulnerable members of society in Liverpool, offering night-time support to those most in need and making our streets a safer place after dark. 

Criminal Justice BA student Sarah Newton is one of the valued volunteers on the project helping to make a difference and is preparing to join the Street Pastors team on their late-night patrols. She caught up with us to explain why she feels this volunteering project is so important and how it caught the attention of her and her fellow School of Justice Studies students.

“The Street Pastors programme primarily exists to protect members of the public who may be vulnerable, particularly over the weekend period and at night time. The School of Justice Studies at LJMU often collaborates with local agencies and initiatives that assist the most vulnerable in our society, so this was a great opportunity for the two groups to join together and make a real difference.”

When asked about the challenges she expected from her volunteering role, Sarah said:

“The plan is to patrol the city centre on foot at night and assist anybody who may be alone and intoxicated, therefore vulnerable. I expect that the biggest challenge may be trying to help intoxicated individuals who do not want any assistance but still need it. I feel that it’s really important to be able to safeguard those who need help, even if they don’t recognise it themselves at the time.”

When it comes to preparing for the task ahead, Sarah has worked closely with LJMU academics and the Street Pastors team to help her know what to expect:

“My fellow volunteers and I had the chance to attend a briefing workshop run by one of our lecturers to help us prepare for our evenings on the streets. I’ve also carried out my own research into the important work Street Pastors do and read up on the experiences and advice of others who have helped out in the past. It is an important cause for me because there are many vulnerable people in our city, particularly at night. Without our help, some of these individuals could end up injured or possibly falling victim to a serious crime. I think it’s our duty as citizens to stop that from happening if we’re in a position to do so.”

Although Sarah has never volunteered before, she’s definitely excited about the challenge ahead and keen to make a positive impact.

“I’ve never been involved with any volunteer work before this but it’s something I can’t wait to start. I feel that it will teach me a lot more about others, and give me a greater sense of compassion and understanding for other people’s circumstances. I’d definitely encourage others to grab any volunteering opportunities that come their way during university, as I also think this experience will be helpful when it comes to preparing me for my career after university too."

"It’s one thing to learn academically about helping others, but another altogether when you’re out there in the real world helping people first-hand." 

Why volunteer?

Here are just some of the benefits of volunteering:

  • It helps you build confidence
  • You’ll gain a sense of wellbeing and achievement
  • You can learn new skills
  • You can make new friends
  • It can help enhance your employment prospects
  • It’s fun
  • You’ll be recognised for your hard work
  • It makes a positive impact
  • You’ll gain a better understanding of the challenges that affect people and society
  • You’ll work as part of a team and experience a sense of belonging
  • It can provide a welcome distraction from stressful circumstances in your own life
  • You’ll spend your spare time in a meaningful way

If Sarah’s determination to help others has inspired you to try your hand at volunteering, take a look at the opportunities that we offer at LJMU. Or if you’re interested in studying at the University’s School of Justice Studies, browse our courses today. 

You also can find out more about the Street Pastors organisation and the important work they do throughout the country.



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