I was saddened to learn this week that the UK Chapter of the Guardian Angels is on the brink of disolution (if you can disolve a ‘chapter’).
You remember the Guardian Angels? Set up by one Curtis Sliwa in New York 30 years ago, a citizen volunteer group assisting to keep the streets safe. They came to the UK in 1989, a bit like the Specials only with hipper clothes; they wear a red bomber jacket & beret.
Chief UK Angel, Andreas Schoyen, says that the UK branch which, at one time, had several hundred members, currently has just two. He puts the decline of the Angels down to the fact that the UK is now so dangerous. "It’s hard to get people to volunteer because they see a stream of beatings, knifings & murders. They know they’ll be putting their lives at risk & that’s a big ask." (I thought only sports reporters said things were a ‘big ask’)
He describes the streets of Britain as being worse than 1980s New York. "I’ve seen a dramatic change here in the last few years. The streets have become a very dangerous place & we’ve so few members we can’t patrol at the moment."
I remember the fanfare when they came over here, pretty much the same shock & horror which greeted the advent of PCSOs except without the vigilantiism. To be honest, I had no idea the concept was still alive; I’ve not heard anything about them for about 9 1/2 years, and was quite surprised that they still, just about, exist.
No worry, though because they’ve launched a recruitment drive. Hopefully this will coincide with the time my 200 weeks is finally up, I could do with a new challenge.
If you want to join me, check them out at www.guardianangels.org, say 200weeks sent you!