LGBT Foundation’s Village Angels are returning to the Gay Village!
Published: 03 September 2020 Tags: By Emma Meehan
After a difficult and challenging time due to Covid-19 we are esctatic to announce that your friendly Village Angels are back where they belong, out on the streets of Manchester’s Gay Village!
Patrols will re-commence on Saturday 12th September, and then every Friday and Saturday going forward whilst it remains safe to do so.It’s been a real challenge for us to step back from delivering this service, having never missed a shift since we launched back in 2011.
However, no one foresaw a pandemic and a far-reaching lockdown, so we reluctantly hung up our pink high vis vests and downed tools for a few months. The safety and wellbeing of our fabulous team of volunteers and staff is always our number one priority.If you’ve been wondering what we’ve been up to in the interim, we’ve been hard at work assessing how to bring the team back safely and in line with current guidance. Some of our volunteers have been using their skills to support LGBT Foundations’s helpline, an invaluable lifeline for many during the pandemic, and we’ve carried out a number of risk assessments with members of our dedicated team, including those with expertise in infection control. These have given us lots of considerations, and we now feel confident to safely resume this invaluable service.
If you’ve never heard of the Angels before, let us tell you a bit about what we do. We’re a big team of skilled, compassionate and committed volunteers and staff who patrol the Gay Village at the weekends. We provide a safety net for people while socialising, and act as a bridge supporting emergency services in Manchester city centre. The help we give could be as simple as giving their phone a quick charge or helping them find their mates, but it could also be providing mental health support or first aid to those in need. In the project’s last 12 months of operation, we engaged with a staggering 11,600 people while out on patrol, including 1,080 people who were experiencing a major crisis.
Initially when we return, we will be offering a street based patrol, but in the coming weeks we hope to be able to support people indoors in our Village Haven once more, dependent on Covid-19 restrictions. On Saturday 12th September, we will be out and about from 8pm to 2am, moving back to 3am-5am finishes as soon as is possible.
We want to give a huge thank you to the shift leads and volunteers who’ve continued to stay by our side throughout these past months, as well as our funder Greater Manchester Combined Authority, our partners Greater Manchester Police, North West Ambulance Service, Serenity Security, and all the village venues. Most of all we want to thank our communites for your patience and continued support for our programme.
Here at LGBT Foundation, we are so proud of our Village Angels – the amazing volunteers and shift leads, who’ve been so keen to get back to supporting our communities when they need it most, and we look forward to seeing you from next weekend.
Your Village Angels Team.