Thousand of young people to enjoy safe activities this half-term through Youth Diversion Fund
2 months ago
More than 6,000 young people will be able to enjoy safe, engaging activities this Halloween and Bonfire Night, thanks to Merseyside’s Police Commissioner.
Emily Spurrell has invested more than £55,000 from her Youth Diversion Fund for projects aimed at preventing crime and engaging young people over the autumn half term.
It is the third round of grants released by the Commissioner from the Fund, which diverts money raised from the sale of unclaimed stolen goods or recovered property, which cannot be returned to its owners, to worthwhile causes.
The Commissioner launched the fund to help prevent crime and anti-social behaviour at times when it often spikes, while giving young people across the region better opportunities to get involved in safe, supervised, engaging activities.
To help ease the pressure on communities this autumn, the Commissioner has awarded funding to 27 grassroots initiatives which will use the money to divert more than 6,000 young people away from crime and ASB, while complementing Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s annual Operation Banger.
This year saw an increase in the number of grassroots organisations bidding to keep young people fed during the school break. There was also an increase in community groups applying to heat centres during the extra opening hours as utility costs soar.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said:
“Halloween and Bonfire Night are a time of great fun and excitement for many people across Merseyside, but sometimes it can go too far and sadly we know some communities still see an increase in criminal and anti-social behaviour. This often makes it a particularly busy time for the police and the fire service.
“I’m hoping to help reduce the pressure on local people and our blue light services by awarding grants to 27 fantastic grassroots initiatives with the aim of preventing crime and providing engaging, safe and supervised activities for nearly 6,000 young people across Merseyside.
“While each of these individual grants are only relatively small, our fantastic voluntary and third sector really know how to make the most of such a cash boost to benefit their local communities. They have proposed a host of imaginative and creative projects which will support the excellent diversionary work carried out by the police and fire service and will make a huge difference in keeping young people safe.
“By using these grants to fund a wide range of well-organised community activities, my goal is to ensure young people can enjoy the autumn festivities in a safe and enjoyable way, without getting drawn into any activities which could become intimidating, anti-social or even dangerous to other members of the community.”
A total of 102 applications were received for the fund, with a combined value of more than £224,000. To avoid any duplication, bids were shared with partners before being reviewed by a panel from the Commissioner’s team and the Community Foundation for Merseyside, who manage the fund on the PCC’s behalf.
As a result, 11 organisations in Liverpool were awarded funding, with six projects running on the Wirral, two in Sefton, four in St Helens and four in Knowsley.
Among the successful recipient were Kids Activities and Bootcamps in Knowsley, who will provide outreach work in the Kirkby area for up to 300 young people and hold Halloween discos on key nights. On the Wirral, the Hive Youth Zone have been awarded £2,000 to run a Halloween-themed maze event on the 30th and 31st aimed at 350 young people aged 8-19. There are specific time slots designated for those with additional needs to ensure the entire community can participate.
In Liverpool, Dovecot and Princess Drive Community Association received nearly £3,000 to run a wide range of diversionary activities. This will include crafts, a community mural, movie nights and a Halloween disco. One-to-one support will be offered for those suffering because of recent tragic incidents in the area. The Woolton Centre received £2,000 for Halloween events for 40 young people to divert them away from ASB.
In Sefton, Rampworx Youth Village 2000 will get £3,000 to provide extended park opening times at key times when ASB has risen in the past, providing activities for up to 600 young people at risk in the South Sefton area.
St Helens Hamma Academy of Sports and Martial Arts will use their £2,000 to run a mixed martial arts course over the half term, with prizes on offer as a further incentive for 150 young people to attend. Other projects that have been funded across Merseyside include movie nights, fitness and boxing sessions and Zombie Walks.
The Youth Diversion Fund is administered by the Community Foundation for Merseyside, (CFM) on behalf of the Commissioner. CFM holds funds from philanthropic individuals and organisations who wish to support deserving causes in Merseyside and Lancashire.
Rae Brooke, Chief Executive for the Community Foundation for Merseyside, said:
“For many years our partnership with the Police & Crime Commissioner for Merseyside has enabled us to distribute funding to a broad range of local community projects making a positive difference to people’s lives.
“The Youth Diversion Fund provides a valuable opportunity for charitable groups in Merseyside focused upon steering young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour to apply for a share of the available funding.”