Magaluf has many problems. It might not seem like it but it is possible to individually make a difference; we don’t all have to just complain about the situation, we can do something to help. The Mallorca Street Angels are already helping young tourists who find themselves in vulnerable situations on holiday. I invited myself along for a shift in the early hours of yesterday morning to find out more.
We met at 4am in a car park in Magalluf. The Street Angel team who are all volunteers, are equipped with radios, extensive details about the local hotels, maps of the area, first aid supplies, and a lot of water. They also have blue wristbands of their own with their website address, “We give these to the people we’ve helped so that when they wake up in the morning they can be reminded of how they got home safely”, says Cameron Springthorpe who is one of the group’s leaders.
After introductions we hit the streets wearing the distinctive yellow jackets bearing the Street Angel logo. It’s immediately obvious that they are recognised as being good guys, partly because of the successful scheme which is in action in many towns. Throughout the night we are constantly approached for help with directions, local knowledge and for first aid as we walk around the resort tracing and retracing our steps, patrolling, keeping our eyes open for people who look like they need help.
It isn't long before we start to find young men and women in trouble: frequently they are very drunk and confused. One man who we help, Carl, can’t remember where he lives in the UK. Another young man has been in a fight and is bleeding. A young Glaswegian woman is very distressed as she cannot remember how she has managed to get so drunk so she is sitting on the side of the pavement alternatively crying and vomiting. Two British women in their late twenties are comforting her, and between us we manage to get this girl safely back to her hotel. Over the four hour shift we seven steer people back to the safety of their hotels and out of danger and reach of potential harm.
At 8am the team sits down and we have a coffee together whilst we debrief. Cameron says that it is unusual that we have not seen anyone who has been robbed or that needs the help of an ambulance. The strange thing I realise is that I have really enjoyed my time with the team, and that I want to do it again, it felt great to be able to help these young people, and know that with our intervention that they were protected and wouldn't become another statistic on a ITV chat show, or another news headline.
The Mallorca Street Angels currently go out on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 4am to 8am. If they had more volunteers then they could extend the hours that they are on patrol and help more people. They need people who can commit to helping. What do you need to be able to volunteer? A commitment to help, a non-judgmental attitude, an understanding of the group’s values, and a basic level of physical fitness as there is a lot of walking involved. There is training as required. You can go on a trial for a night and see how you get on, you might surprise yourself with how great you feel afterwards. You can find more information about them at www.streetangels.es or you can call Cameron on 629 056 193.