The Saturday nights of autumn and winter 2017 were spent with the Street Pastors of Pontypridd. A small group of volunteers from different churches which patrol the town centre. They give out bottles of water, flip flops and offer lollipops to raise blood sugar and diffuse situations. They are often first on the scene in medical situations and are available to listen to people who are in distress.
Using photographers such as the classic photo-journalist Weegee and Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama as inspiration, I set out to create a visual record of the work of the street pastors and how they serve the community of Pontypridd. While Pontypridd is small town in South Wales with a population of around 33,000 at the foot of the Rhondda valley. Each weekend up to and over a 1000 people go to the few town centre pubs creating a small but intense nightlife complete with all the problems associated with British binge drinking culture. Over the past decade there have been huge cuts to public services, reducing the number of police and ambulance crews available. If one person is arrested in Pontypridd on Saturday night it often leaves the busy town centre unpoliced, the street pastors provide a valuable service in preventing violent crime and sexual assaults.