"To protect young adults in the night time economy by way of dynamic and innovative safeguarding, welfare and care solutions." 

Cheltenham Guardians Mission Statement


What we do, why we do it and why we dare to make a difference

We are one of the United Kingdom's most successful third sector specialist care providers delivering dynamic, pioneering and innovative safeguarding and welfare services into Cheltenham's vibrant and award winning night time economy.

Founded in 2014 the Cheltenham Guardians Integrated Urban Safeguarding Team is a private philanthropic initiative in partnership with Gloucestershire Constabulary, Cheltenham Borough Council and Cheltenham Safe.

We operate every Saturday night between 10pm and 5.30am and on special occasions such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival. We may also respond to missing persons or community hardship incidents.

We work closely with our strategic partners Gloucestershire Constabulary, Cheltenham Borough Council and Cheltenham Safe as part of a wider and structured response to Cheltenham's busy night time economy.

The organisation has from the outset maintained a phenomenally high success rate despite our few numbers and low budget. The fact that we deliver such a high level of care and competency across a wide remit of incidents with so few resources has generated interest in our organisation from service providers in the United Kingdom and other countries, a number of which we are providing support and advice to. We are widely recognised as a beacon of excellent practice in our field and a sector leader.

The founder of Cheltenham Guardians

Founded by philanthropist Terry Howard in 2014, Cheltenham Guardians has evolved into an essential component in the policing and care response to Cheltenham's night time economy.

Largely funded by Terry the organisation has become a Cheltenham institution, gaining trust and respect from the emergency services, local authority and the community.

Terry said: "Cheltenham Guardians is neither a private police force or ambulance service but occupies a space that supports both statutory equivalents. We have identified areas where care and compassion may be more practical and beneficial than police or paramedic intervention. Excelling in this specialised area we have saved the emergency services, the wider criminal justice system and the NHS thousands of man hours and over one million pounds. Couple this with dynamic and proactive safeguarding and welfare capabilities as well as a full spectrum response and we are delivering something very special onto the streets of Cheltenham at zero cost to the taxpayer."

Terry was born in Manchester in 1974 and has lived in Cheltenham for 14 years.

You can follow Terry on Twitter here: www.twitter.com/GuardiansChief

Key dates in our history

  • October 2014: Inception of Cheltenham Guardians
  • October 2014 - January 2016: We operate independently outside of the official response to the night time economy. During this time, trial runs were undertaken and talks with statutory authorities ensue
  • January 2016: We are accepted as a partner in the policing and care response to the night time economy
  • March 2016: We return to duty as a partner in the policing and care response to the night time economy and the India Protocol safeguarding system is initiated
  • November 2016: Our interaction with a service user called Emily goes viral and is reported on by media outlets around the world
  • June 2018: Terry Howard wins the Breeze Local Heroes Charity Champion Award, receiving the most votes across all 10 categories
  • April 2019: Senior Guardian Kate Pickering wins the Breeze Local Heroes Outstanding Bravery Award for her actions on the night of the CJ Hall murder
  • July 2019: Official talks commence with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust exploring the possibility of a partnership in Cheltenham's night time economy
  • September 2019: Guardians are trained to administer Naloxone by way of intramuscular injection and introduce opioid overdose reversal capabilities into the night time economy



"Cheltenham Guardians take supporting the community and the police to another level"

Asst. Chief Constable

Gloucestershire Constabulary

"We are very grateful for the actions of your team and are hugely supportive of the work you do week in week out, in the dark hours"

Detective Chief Inspector

Gloucestershire Constabulary

"Your efforts to help those in need every weekend are remarkable. The motivation you have to keep doing this is incredible"


Gloucestershire Constabulary

"I wanted to say a massive thank you for the amazing support of your team. We were super impressed at their positive support, personal touch, warming spirit and amazing help"

Liv Garfield

Chief Executive, Severn Trent Plc

"You made a difference tonight, you do every time you are out. Our crews are thankful you are out there knowing that they can count on your support"

South Western Ambulance Service

"Your teams do a fantastic job in looking after people as well as working with the police and providing crucial evidence in a number of cases"

Detective Inspector

RASSO Team, Crime Command