Bishop of Manchester, joined the Village Angels volunteers
One of the UK’s most senior clergy has gone on patrol with LGBT Foundation’s Village Angels in Manchester’s world-famous Gay Village.
The Rt Rev Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, joined the Village Angels volunteers on Canal Street on Friday night to see first-hand the vital support the service provides to weekend revellers. During the eventful shift, the Angels supported a man who was feeling suicidal, and prevented another man from jumping into the canal.
The Angels patrol the Village every weekend from 9pm to 3am, providing friendly help, support and advice to people who have got into trouble.
Bishop David said: “The Village Angels are a group of dedicated and committed volunteers who work so hard to keep people safe. I was struck by the respect shown to them by those who visit and work in the Village.
“The Village is an important space for the LGBT community, and whilst on patrol I met many people who are passionate about this place and its wellbeing. It is so much more than just a place to go for a night out.”
Paul Martin OBE, LGBT Foundation Chief Executive, added: “We’re thrilled Bishop David was able to join the Angels out on patrol. He is a true ally of the LGBT community who puts his faith into practice in a way that is both inspirational and deeply human.
“Manchester’s Gay Village is renowned the world over as a place where people are free to be themselves, and for most people a night out in the Village is a fun, safe experience. But for some, a great night out can go wrong and that’s why the Angels are there.
“In their bright pink hi-viz jackets, they’re a visible, friendly face of the Village and an integral part of Manchester’s LGBT community. Most importantly of all, there are people alive today as a result of their vital work.”
Since the service began in 2012, thousands of Village visitors have been touched by an Angel. As well as providing simple support like giving directions, helping people to a taxi, or reconnecting lost friends, Angels regularly carry out life-saving interventions.
The LGBT Foundation project receives funding from Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester’s Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner, and works in close partnership with the emergency services, Village venues and doorstaff. Greater Manchester Police says that the presence of the Angels in the Village significantly reduces demand on policing services, allowing officers to respond more quickly to more incidents over the weekend.
The Village Angels project is just one of a vast array of services on offer from LGBT Foundation, which provides the widest range of services to LGBT people of any charity in the UK.
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