Fund aimed at helping grassroots projects has now donated £3.4 million to good causes
10th July 2020
Currently in its 7th year, the Safer Communities Fund (SCF), set up by West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) as a key pledge has given £3.4m to more than 750 groups and projects throughout West Yorkshire directly helping the communities they live in through many varied initiatives.
Now a further 34 projects have been awarded more than £180,000 in the 18th grant round of SCF to help their communities tackle crime, anti-social behaviour and address wider community safety themes.
The SCF monies come from cash and assets taken under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) by the Police and prosecutors from criminals and then ploughed back into many of the communities affected by crime in the first place.
PCC Mark Burns-Williamson said: “I created this fund in 2014 as a key commitment to help ensure we were doing all we could during times of austerity to help our communities and grassroots projects, who undertake really valuable local work and building links to knowing what needs to done in the areas they are based and work in.
“Time and again I have been humbled and blown away by some of the fantastic work being undertaken by people who care passionately about their communities and want to make a real difference on the ground and to people’s lives. With this funding they can make that vital difference ensuring people are safe and feel safe and hope that in many cases it’s literally provided a lifeline for many organisations and communities.
“The SCF Fund has now helped 758 projects over 6 years, from tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, to a range of specific crimes and community safety issues including domestic abuse, human trafficking and community cohesion, as well as providing therapeutic care for young people to name but a few.
“This means money taken back from criminality going exactly where it needs to go, back to those very places affected by such crime. A big thank you to everyone who is doing such incredible work within their communities tackling issues that really matter, which are improving the life chances for everyone accessing these projects at a time of huge ongoing challenge on the COVID impact, and of course to the excellent work of our police investigation teams and my own office for helping secure these funds. I am very proud of all this work and what has been achieved.”
Projects had to show how they tackled crime and anti-social behaviour in particular projects that support community based solutions, identify innovative ways to prevent crime and ASB, support and resource community initiatives which divert people from criminal behaviour and support crime prevention initiatives.
They included giving opportunities to disenfranchised and vulnerable young people at risk of drugs and alcohol, Child Criminal Exploitation, key diversionary and early intervention projects, empowering local people into becoming community champions.
Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, John Robins, said: “Every day, across West Yorkshire, individuals, groups and organisations make a tangible difference in supporting communities, tackling complex issues around crime and offering invaluable support to victims.
“Their stories are inspiring. I welcome this latest round of funding awards provided through The Safer Communities Fund. I recognise the vital role these projects play in preventing crime, reassuring communities and protecting the vulnerable. I hope people are heartened to know that funds gained through the successful disruption of criminal behaviour by West Yorkshire Police are reinvested into such valuable community projects.”
Quotes from projects across the county
Cullingworth Youth Café, Bradford (young people involved in landscape gardening) CYC was developed 6 months ago through partnership working with the village hall management committee, a local café owner and the advice and support of the Neighbourhood Policing Officer, the concept of providing a safe space where recreational and leisure time activity was developed. It will develop young people through being involved in: Design, Procurement, Work Programme, Health and Safety, Operational delivery, Planting and maintenance schedule and Records and recognition.
Angela McIntyre, trustee of the Cullingworth Youth Cafe said: “We are delighted that with the support of the Police and Crime Commissioner we can work with a number of local youngsters on a local landscaping project that will showcase how positive our young people are. This will allow them to develop real practical skills that could assist them over many years to come.”
Shaun Walker, of Parkside Secondary School, said: “We believe that all of our students should take pride in the community in which they live and socialise. This project will help them to continue developing their social skills whilst being part of a fantastic community.”
Halifax Boxing, Calderdale Halifax Boxing Club was set up to help tackle social issues in Halifax. They have groups each week that include young people with special educational needs, young people who are not in education, employment and training, people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, women and girls sessions and boxing training for children, young people and adults. The Box Clever programme will work with partner agencies and offer personal development courses based around the sport of boxing, designed to help young people develop essential life skills which will help them reduce their likelihood of being involved in crime or anti-social behaviour. The project will deliver two x 2 hour sessions each week, one that caters for 10-14-year olds and one that caters for 14-18-year olds.
Mick Rowe, Head Coach at Halifax Boxing Club, said: “Halifax Boxing Sports & Fitness Club would like to thank the Safer Communities Fund for funding the Box Clever project. It enables the club to offer children and young people in Calderdale the opportunity to take part in positive activities and fitness sessions to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. The project will also allow young children and special groups recovering from drug and alcohol addiction to take part in team-based activities which build confidence and raise fitness levels in a safe and structured environment. The Halifax Boxing Sports & Fitness club could not run these courses without the funding from the PCC. They are a great support for our community and clubs like ourselves. The groups enjoy the sessions and many stay involved with the club long after the projects end."
Legacy Sport, Kirklees (activities in the holidays to divert young people away from ASB, in Liversidge and Gomersal) Legacy Sport is a social enterprise whose aim is to promote healthy, active lifestyles by delivering PE, sport & health programmes in school and community settings. They will run a structured programme of holiday activities for children who attend schools within the Liversedge & Gomersal Ward aged between 8 and 12 years old, but there will be an element of flexibility if it is established that siblings would benefit from attending.
Chief executive Shaun Fox said: “Legacy Sport works with some of the young people most in need in areas of deprivation in North Kirklees. Over the last few years we have seen real inequalities develop within the communities that we serve. “The SCF funding will be instrumental in helping us to keep these vulnerable young people fed, active and developing healthy habits during key school holiday periods when holiday hunger is a real issue.”
Odd Arts, Leeds (drama work with female ex-offenders) Odd Arts work within four main sectors; Criminal Justice, Education, Community and Mental Health. This grant will allow Odd Arts to partner with Ripon House to work with female ex-offenders to deliver weekly drama sessions over a 12-month period. They aim to reduce risk of offending and increase healthy relationships.
Emily Smith, Drama Lead, at Odd Arts said: "Odd Arts is thrilled to be able to offer a drama programme focusing on healthy relationships at Ripon House. Vitally, the work will support women to build confidence, self-worth, communication skills. It will also give the chance for participants to reflect on the tools needed to nourish positive relations and increase their support network; and also importantly the time to consider the impact of unhealthy relationships.”
Spectrum People, Wakefield (art psychotherapy for young people) The project involves therapeutic art service as well as targeted psychological support for vulnerable clients. In particular, delivering 1:1 Art Psychotherapy for young people. Through providing intervention at the earliest possible stage it is hoped that young people will be able to forge a stronger sense of self, which may prevent them from seeking a sense of belonging and identity through criminal activity.
Leanne Warren, Creative Therapist, Spectrum People, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded the Safer Communities funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner. The funding will enable Spectrum People to work in partnership with the Families Achieving Change team in Wakefield and will ensure that we can provide essential therapeutic support to vulnerable young people through the use of the Creative Arts.”