Flipflop gift for stilletto revellers in Southend

The shoes will be handed to women, who have spent an evening dancing in stillettos, as they leave Southend nightclubs.

There will be 11 street pastors handing out the green flipflops, emblazoned with white stars to mark the festive season.

David Ince, who co-ordinates the street pastors, said they had been carrying out the initiative for the past two years, but it was especially well-received at Christmas.

Mr Ince said: “The women are coming out in all their Christmas attire and some of the costumes must be freezing for them. But drink masks it.”

The project is funded by local churches under the banner of Love Southend and the flipflops were handed out from Saturday, December 13.

Revellers will also be given a Christian poem, called Footprints, but the pastors do not talk to people about religion unless asked.

Mr Ince said they were usually well received, although some revellers feared they were getting flipflops in exchange for their expensive shoes.

The street pastors have helped about 7,500 people since the scheme was set up in May 2005. They aim to demonstrate care for other members of the community.

Mr Ince, who has been with the Southend scheme since it began, is moving on to a national training project at the end of the month to share his expertise with the many street pastor projects being launched worldwide.

Would you like to join the Love Southend Street Pastors? Please contact David Ince via the email link above right for more info.

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