Twelve projects aiming to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and support victims are being awarded grants totalling nearly £400,000 in the first round of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s £1 million Innovation Fund.
Projects being funded include outreach support for teenage abuse victims, community restorative justice, a boxing referral initiative, mentoring for those leaving prison after short term sentences, a Swindon mobile youth van and a scheme to create safe places for vulnerable people.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus Macpherson said: “I am delighted to be announcing the successful applicants in this first funding round.
“We awarded grants to projects that we felt were the most innovative and were in line with my six main priorities. I am also particularly pleased that, by providing these grants, we are unlocking £163,000 of other funding now available to the successful applicants.
“Projects I would particularly like to note are a new Wiltshire Police Outbox scheme which will see young people referred to boxing clubs and being mentored; the extension of the current Swindon Neighbourhood Justice Panel pilot to Wiltshire, giving communities the chance to get involved with restorative justice; and a mentoring scheme for prisoners on short term sentences returning to Wiltshire, which aims to break cycles of offending.”
Twenty-six applications requesting grants totalling more than £1 million were submitted for this first funding round. The applications were carefully considered by the Commissioner and an advisory panel, made up of the Wiltshire Chief Constable, Pat Geenty, and representatives from Wiltshire Council and The Community Foundation for Wiltshire and Swindon. A Swindon Borough Council representative was unable to attend.
Innovation Fund grants were awarded as follows (in alphabetical order):
BIOS – Settings for Life – £63,500 towards a mobile youth club van in Swindon
BIOS is a sub-project of youth work charity, Swindon Youth for Christ, which runs youth clubs in parks and open spaces, meeting young people where they are gathering.
The vehicle, a converted supermarket delivery van, will be used to meet young people out and about 12 times a week and be staffed by a trained youth worker and community volunteers. It will include internet access, a mobile graffiti wall and sporting activities. Its focus will be on providing safe spaces for young people to be positively engaged, make positive life choices and help to reduce reports of anti-social behaviour in the areas it targets.
Chris Priddy the charities director said, “it is an incredible privilege to have been awarded this innovation funding and for PCC Angus Macpherson to have recognized the impact this van will make in Swindon and the surrounding areas. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us to get the vehicle kitted out and on the road, but having spent 5 years dreaming about this idea we are more than ready to get started. The young people we are already working with are extremely excited about this ‘pimped supermarket truck’ and all the opportunities it will afford them in the future. We are committed to supporting young people to make choices that will have a positive effect on their lives both now and in their future’s and this van will enable us to take this work to at least 350 young people every week.”
The project is also looking to raise the support of the Swindon Business Community to sustain it into the future and is actively looking for companies to partner with the project in sponsoring the vehicle in a variety of ways.