A network of volunteers in Wrexham have helped thousands of people while on nights out in the town, according to recent figures.

Two volunteer based charities, The British Red Cross and Wrexham’s Street Pastors, have provided a wide range of interventions to vulnerable party-goers within the town, including first aid, handing out flip-flops, water and condoms.

The British Red Cross, who are based at the Hafan Y Dref Welfare Centre, which is located at the bottom of Town Hill in Wrexham, say that volunteers at the centre have helped a total of 4,839 people in just three months, between January 1 and March 31 this year, while recent figures show Wrexham Street Pastors had 2,596 ‘contacts’ while providing 1,571 patrol hours throughout 2018.

The project has been operating from the Hafan Y Dref building since December 2015 and is funded by Wrexham Council, Nightsafe, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the Welsh Ambulance Service.

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Red Cross staff at the centre offer a triage-service and first aid for anyone who is injured or distressed or has had too much to drink.

Volunteers are neutral and impartial and offer advice, reassurance and emotional support as well as signposting to other agencies and facilities. They can make telephone calls, charge phones, and supply water, flipflops and other items that can help someone get home safely.

They work in partnership with many different organisations including Wrexham Street Pastors, local businesses, the police and health services to ensure those experiencing the nightlife of Wrexham have a safe and enjoyable night out.

Michelle McBurnie, support officer with the British Red Cross who volunteers in the centre, said: “Our reports show that between 1st January and 31st March 2019, the Red Cross volunteers at the centre helped a total of 4,839 people. This included 44 first aid interventions, 432 welfare interventions and thousands of other interventions such as advice and information.

“More recently, over two nights of the Easter bank holiday, we supported 875 people.

“By working in collaboration with our partners, our volunteers have been able to make a fantastic positive impact. Each week they are helping hundreds of people in Wrexham, and in doing so, reducing the pressures on local NHS services and ensuring young people are safe and supported.”

The Street Pastors, which is a Christian based charity, patrols the town centre every second and fourth Friday of the month, as well as every Saturday night.

The volunteers aim to help those in need, either by simply listening to them, caring for their wellbeing and safety.

South African born, Laurie Searle, 65, who is the co-ordinator at Wrexham’s Street Pastors, expressed his delight at how helping party-goers stay safe brings him closer to his faith.

He said: “I came over here to manage the Fairhaven Congregation Church, which is located on Hope Mountain.

“I have been doing this for a few years now, and it not only allows me but also the other volunteers to be able to live out our faith and see our beliefs be put into action.”

Wrexham’s Street Pastors was founded in 2006, and was the eighth initiative of its kind to be set up within the UK and its first in Wales.

When asked what motivates him to continue to offer these services to strangers, especially in situations when the weather is extremely bad or the town is busy due to bank holidays, Mr Searle simply added: “We enjoy helping people. We are not paid to do this service and we only talk about our faith if asked too.

“We just want to ensure that people are kept safe whilst out enjoying themselves, even if that means we just pick up empty bottles or anything else that could be used to potentially cause harm or by simply handing out flip-flops to ladies who are walking around the town bare-foot.”

Mr Searle highlighted four simple steps people can take in order to keep not only themselves safe but others too.

He said: “Always ensure that you are out with real friends, not ones who leave you when you are extremely vulnerable.

“Ensure that you always carry your ID with you, as this could be helpful in situations when we are trying to get you home safely.

“Ladies, always keep your drink safe, never leave it unattended and finally, if you need help let someone know. I have seen all situations over my years volunteering, never feel embarrassed when asking for help.”

When questioned whether operating these kind of projects decreases the demand on the use of emergency services, Mr Searle said: “They have very limited resources and are very stretched in what they can do.

“I believe we can and will continue to take off a certain amount pressure these services deal with. For instance, out of the 2,596 individuals we dealt with, the emergency services were only called out 12 times.”

Vic Powell, a Wrexham Town Inspector, said: “The street pastors provide a fantastic and valuable service in the town centre come rain or shine.

“This admirable group of volunteers works tirelessly to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable night out and provides support to those who end up in medical distress or crisis on a night out.

“The pastors deliver this valuable intervention in collaboration with Hafan Y Dref (Welfare Centre) , Red Cross, NightSafe (night time businesses), health workers and the police.

“I am particularly proud to be associated with the good work carried out by the Street Pastors each weekend and I would like to thank them for their team work in helping to make Wrexham a safe place to enjoy a great night out.”

Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham, said: “Wrexham’s Street Pastors do wonderful work and are a great credit to our town.

“Having a welcoming and friendly town centre environment is important for our night-time economy and the Street Pastors help ensure this is possible by providing a reassuring, helpful presence to the public.

“Their efforts will continue to have my full support and admiration.”

Ian Bancroft, chief executive at Wrexham Council said: “The Street Pastors are a familiar and welcome sight on the streets of Wrexham during the evenings and play a huge part in ensuring that visitors to the town centre have an enjoyable and safe night out.”