Recovered proceeds of crime funding helps victims of violent crime (30 July 2019)

The Samaritans in Leeds received a £5000 boost to help support victims of violent crime.

The money came from the Safer Communities Fund which is run by West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson and was donated as part of a grant round specifically targeting serious violent crime.

The funding is helping to pay for the training of 5 cohorts of volunteers.

The volunteers are trained to listen to people who can be victims of a number of violent crimes such as sexual assault, alcohol and drug related violence, domestic violence or hate crime.

Samaritans provide confidential, non-judgemental support 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.

The Leeds branch have a team of around 140 dedicated volunteers answering the phones who are also routinely refresher trained, including listening in to each other's calls to support one and other.

Alwyne Greenbank, Volunteer and Branch Director at Leeds Samaritans said: "We were delighted to receive the grant last September which ensured our training program for new volunteers could enable the branch to grow and increase its availability and outreach work to support the intention to be there for everyone."

Mr Burns-Williamson launched the Safer Communities Fund in 2014 to help local groups make a real difference in their communities.

Since the fund launched it has now delivered across 15 grant rounds totalling over £2.6m with over 610 projects benefiting across West Yorkshire.

The fund is financed through money recovered from criminals by West Yorkshire Police and Prosecutors under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: "Violent crime has been on the rise and we have been working very hard to both tackle it and prevent it from happening in the first place.

"It's so important that we do not neglect the victims of these incidents who are often quite vulnerable. Putting victims first is one of my key commitments and services that I commission in West Yorkshire so I was very pleased to be able to provide some funding to help the Samaritans in their very valuable work in assisting many people.

"It was also a pleasure to visit their premises in person recently and meet and speak to some of the team directly who are all volunteers. They have my thanks and appreciation for all their hard work in supporting those in need throughout our communities."

To find out more about Samaritans in Leeds visit www.samaritans.org/branches/leeds/ or call 0113 245 6789.

Samaritans

Pictured from left to right -  Alwyne Greenbank, Volunteer and Branch Director at Leeds Samaritans, PCC mark Burns-Williamson, and Bob Howe, Volunteer.

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019