Cruising back to autumn business

Lancaster Park WI

WITH no formal August meeting, the 2012 summer outing of members of Morpeth Lancaster Park Women’s Institute spent an enjoyable afternoon cruising on the River Tyne.

They sailed in the opposite direction to Tynemouth and the open sea, having done this journey two or three years ago.

Arriving back on the Quayside, the members made their way to the Copthorne Hotel, where an excellent afternoon tea awaited them prior to their journey home.

The September and October meetings have each given members much food for thought, being a local insight into the NSPCC (September) and the work of the Street Pastors (October).

Last year, there were around 90,000 children in care out of a population of around 11million, mainly because of abuse or neglect.

This can cover physical and emotional neglect, bullying and sexual abuse.

One case highlighted, though by no means the worst, involved a child being put out of his home at 6am and not being allowed back in until 6pm.

In another case, a young girl was sent out on the streets by her father, who then took her earnings.

Neglected children are vulnerable and often too scared to speak out. Failure to meet a child’s most basic needs, such as food, shelter, love and support, is tragically happening every day in our towns and cities, with the NSPCC working tirelessly to make a difference.

The invited speaker at the October meeting was Dom Appleby, a volunteer Street Pastor for the Ascension Trust.

The aim primarily is to raise community and church awareness of anti-social behaviour, gang warfare and the fast growing gun culture.

The street pastors are volunteers who walk the streets at night, talking to and helping people.

They walk around eight to nine miles over the period from 10pm to 2am, distributing water and assistance.

When it was first set up, Dom started in 2003, there were only 18 volunteers, made up of 12 ladies and six men.

The pastors will look after girls whose drinks may have been spiked, making sure they stay safe.

This work is done alongside the police and ambulance services.

Dom, who is one of 700-plus nationwide, told us of several incidents, some harrowing and some amusing.

By talking to the street sleepers, this often diffuses an angry situation.

The next meeting will take place on Saturday, November 3, at Morpeth All Saints’ First School, Pinewood Drive, at 7.30pm.

New members and visitors are always welcome.

Contact Carol Wilkinson on 01670 510933 for further information.