Newry’s yellow vested Knights to disappear

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Friday, April 15th, 2016
The familiar sight of the Salvation Army Newry Knight street teams will, by this weekend become a thing of the past. knights1Since 2014 volunteers from The Salvation Army working as Newry Knights have been out on the streets, in what has become the familiar blue coats, caps and yellow hi-visibility vests. This week will see the yellow jackets of the dedicated teams, being hung up for the last time. Manager of the project, and local church minister, Major John Parrott, explained the rationale behind the change. “We have always maintained a distinct practical separation from other agencies, inclusive of the P.S.N.I. and the recent return of the Community Street Wardens of Newry, Mourne and Down Council. “Since the reintroduction of the street wardens, there is a degree of confusion among the night time revellers. To re-enforce the distinct difference and our volunteers, it is important to our work that people instantly recognise our volunteers, as being independent, confidential and ready to respond when people are vulnerable.” “However, it is important to note that Newry Knights continue in the supportive, compassionate response to people in need. Newry Knights are getting stronger and stronger in their commitment to give back to the community. He added, “From this weekend our teams will be evident in a new format, and the yellow vests have been replaced with blue reflective vests.”  
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Mid April 2016The new jackets to be introduced this weekend will clearly indicate the teams as being Salvation Army Newry Knights on front and reverse of the vests. Photo ID will be visible to the front of the vests to avoid confusion, and all trained volunteers will wear a small red shield badge on an eye level pocket. The first quarterly statistics for 2016 show an encouraging increase in the use of the teams by the public, licensed premises and others. Further developments will also include a new street team mobile number which can be used by members of the public, bar security and others to contact the street teams directly. The mobile will operate only on Saturday evenings and links directly to the team leaders. Anyone requiring assistance for themselves or others can contact the team on 0772 465 3037 but is not intended and should not be used as a short cut to obtaining taxi services, although the teams can provide you with numbers. The team will also be able to provide hot drinks from their base at the McGrath Centre, around the corner from Cobbles Night Club, for which donations would be appreciated.
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