Nearly 8,000 young people to benefit from PCC’s Youth Diversion Fund

Nearly 8,000 young people will benefit from safe, supervised activities during Halloween and Bonfire Night, thanks to the Police Commissioner’s new Youth Diversion Fund.

Emily Spurrell announced in August that she was releasing the first round of funding from her new 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 supporting communities to prevent crime across Merseyside.

Opening the Youth Diversion Fund for the first time, the Commissioner invited community organisations, charities and groups to apply for a vital cash boost of up to £3,000 grants for grassroots initiatives working to divert young people away from anti-social behaviour and crime during the busy autumn half term, when it traditionally spikes.

Today, she has announced 28 projects across Merseyside will share more than £48,000 from the fund to run safe and engaging activities for a total of 7,960 young people. The projects will complement Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s annual Operation Banger.

Emily said: "I’m delighted to announce that nearly 8,000 young people across Merseyside will have the opportunity to join safe, supervised activities over Halloween and Bonfire Night, thanks to funding from my Youth Diversion Fund.

“Many communities across Merseyside traditionally see a rise in criminal and anti-social during the autumn half term. Historically, it is also a particularly busy time for the police and the fire service. Through these grants, I am keen to help relieve the pressure on them, while ensuring young people can enjoy the festivities at organised and well-managed events.

“While each of these individual grants are only relatively small, our fantastic voluntary and third sector really know how to make the most of it 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 their young people safe.”

A total of 90 applications were received for the fund, with a combined value of more than £200,000. 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, 10 organisations in Liverpool were awarded funding, with six projects running on the Wirral, five in Sefton, four in St Helens and three in Knowsley.

Among the successful recipient were L14 Community House in Knowsley which received £1,500 to set up a haunted house in an area of high ASB for 1,200 young people during the autumn break, while the Wirral Youth Zone was awarded £1,600 to once again run its hugely popular Hiveageddon project for 1,250 young people, offering diversionary activity including arts, football, drama, dance and music.

In Liverpool, the Deysbrook Village Centre will provide diversionary activities for up to 1,300 young people, while The Florrie in Toxteth will once again be able to run its Haunted House project for 100 children.

In Sefton, the Brunswick Youth Club will run Halloween parties aimed at keeping 120 young people safe in an area of high levels of ASB, while in St Helens the Under Construction Crew will use a £3,000 grant to offer a range of classes including hip hop and dance to ensure young people can enjoy the celebrations safely.

Other projects that have been funded across Merseyside include movie nights, fitness and boxing sessions, hip hop and dance classes, a roller-skating disco and after-school activities.

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.

“This new 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.”

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