Safe, engaging activities funded for 6,000 young people this Halloween and Bonfire Night

More than 6,000 young people will be able to enjoy safe, engaging activities this Halloween and Bonfire Night, thanks to funding from 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, funding has been awarded 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, six organisations in Wirral were awarded funding for various projects. These include:

  • Byrne Avenue Trust – £961 to provide football sessions for 120 young people, split into age groups. Food and refreshments will be provided. On Halloween, a drop in event will be hosted to allow children to participate in games and activities.
  • Creating Community – £1,800 to provide diversionary activities for 120 children and young people over the Halloween half term in the Birkenhead area.          
  • Gautby Rd Play and Community Centre – £1750 to be used to provide art, cooking, alternative sports, and a Halloween Fest for 500 children and young people.  
  • Leasowe Play and Youth Association  £1,680 to provide activities for 40 young people to divert them from anti-social behaviour during key times.
  • The Heart of Egremont – £2,000 to provide a Halloween disco, movie nights and also a circus for 60 young people in the Liscard area.
  • Wirral Youth Zone – £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.       

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.”

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