INVERCLYDE'S street pastors are celebrating their 10th anniversary with plans to expand their service.

An initial group of 12 people supported by Inverclyde Christian Initiative started patrols back in October 2010.

Under the banner 'Caring, Listening, Helping', the volunteers have been out on the streets of Greenock and Gourock between 10pm to 4am most weekends since then.

Alistair McAlees, from Hope Community Church in Greenock, has been the co-ordinator from the beginning and says it has changed his life.

He said: "Being a street pastor has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

"It is one thing being in church, which I love, but quite another being out on the streets helping the public in a number of practical ways.

"We have received so many thanks over the years from those out and about, and also from our police colleagues.

"It is a privilege being part of people’s lives even for these short times at the weekends."

The group work hard at keeping people safe, including dishing out flip flops to women with sore feet who have taken their shoes off, providing thermal blankets for those who are cold, administering first aid and simply chatting to people who may be vulnerable.

Since 2010, the Street Pastors have given out over 2,500 pairs of flip flops, nearly 1,300 blankets, removed over 1,500 glasses and bottles from the street, and received several thousand spontaneous thank-you messages from those they meet.

Volunteers extended their remit by going aboard trains three years ago with the introduction of a rail pastors scheme.

Due to the pandemic, late evening patrols have temporarily stopped but Inverclyde Street Pastors are now looking to expand their service to day-time patrols.

Alistair said: "The pandemic has brought with it so many uncertainties, from those who have lost loved ones, to jobs disappearing, anxiety about exams and the experience of being locked away from so much and so many friends.

"Our Street Pastors lend a caring and listening ear and our experience is that we are now a valued service across the wider community.

"We are about to experiment with day and early evening patrols in Inverclyde and expect to find the same landscape here."

*To sign up to be a street pastor you must be aged 18 or over, a regular churchgoer for at least a year and have a passion to help people. Training is provided and anyone interested should call 07740201853 or email

Pictured from left are Chris Jewell, Alistair McAlees, and Julie Webster.