OBE for Street Pastors founder Rev Les Isaac
Street Pastors founder Rev Les Isaac has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for his work fostering community cohesion ...
Rev Les Isaac has been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honour List and will be awarded an OBE for his work fostering community cohesion in his role as Head of the Ascension Trust, the umbrella organisation that oversees the work of Street Pastors.
Street Pastors was launched in 2003, as a response to gun and knife crime in Britain’s urban areas. The concept of sending trained pastors out onto the streets between 10pm and 4am every Friday and Saturday caught the attention of Christians across the country, who saw it as an effective way in which to engage with their local communities.
There are now 250 street pastors teams across the UK, overseeing 10,000 trained individuals who provide more than 600,000 volunteer patrol hours every year. Street Pastors has also been established in Trinidad, Antigua and Northern Ireland with enquiries being received all the time from individuals in the UK and abroad interested in establishing teams.
Such has been the impact of Street Pastors it has inspired the launch of School Pastors and College Pastors initiatives where trained volunteers provide support for students in educational establishments. There are currently 10 School and College Pastors teams across the UK, with teams due to launch in Tavistock, Isle of Wight, Ilfracombe, Northern Ireland, Torbay, Cheshire West and Ellesmere Port.
Commenting on his award Rev Isaac said: “This is a great honour and is really recognition of the work that our amazing team of volunteer pastors carry out every weekend, providing a much needed listening ear for people on our streets, as well as for school pupils and college students across the country during the week.
"I am particularly thankful for people who have worked alongside me in a joint effort to build peaceful and strong communities.”
Ascension Trust is also the umbrella organisation for Word for Weapons, which provides specially made bins where people can leave their knives and weapons. Since it was launched in 2007, more than 4000 weapons have been collected and destroyed.
When Rev Isaac was growing up, he never envisaged that he would become a church leader, let alone receive an OBE.
Born in Antigua, Rev Isaac came to the UK to join his parents who lived in north London as a young child. Thrown into London life, Les experienced gangs and street violence during his teens, and in his search for hope first became a Rastafarian.
He later converted to Christianity and inspired by the radical life change brought by his new found faith, he became committed to make people aware of the spiritual and practical relevance of the gospel message, and sharing it with everyone – both within the black community and beyond.
The story of Rev Isaac’s early life is told in his debut book Dreadlocks, and continued in Relevant Church. The inspirational growth of Street Pastors is told in the best seller, Street Pastors.
Find out more at www.streetpastors.co.uk
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