Small grants awarded to deliver community projects

A total of 34 local projects will receive funding to deliver community safety activities in their communities after a series of events staged recently.

The groups all applied for grants from the EVOLVE Wirral fund and had to present their bids to fellow residents and ask for their vote at one of the events, which took place in Woodchurch, Noctorum and Beechwood – the three areas covered by the EVOLVE Wirral crime prevention initiative.

More than 400 people cast their votes for their preferred project over the duration of the three events and with the overall funding pot standing at more than £66,000, EVOLVE Wirral was able to support every successful bidding group with grant funding of up to £2,000. £25,000 of the fund was made possible due to the Proceeds of Crime Act, which is designed to re-direct money and assets seized from convicted criminals into community initiatives.

The events took place at the Carrbridge Community Centre, Woodchurch on Saturday, 20 January, at Crea8ing Community in Noctorum on Saturday, 27 January, and at Beechwood Recreation Centre, on Saturday, 3 February.

The successful projects had to focus on one or more themes of community resilience, environmental issues, health and wellbeing, reducing or preventing crime and/or anti-social behaviour, and youth engagement/intervention. 

Among the successful groups receiving funding were schools, churches, local junior football clubs, other sports clubs, charities and local Community Interest Companies amongst others.

Cllr Helen Cameron, Chair of the Tourism, Communities, Culture and Leisure Committee for Wirral Council, said, “The council’s focus within EVOLVE Wirral is to support and strengthen these communities, building confidence amongst residents that agencies like Merseyside Police, Wirral Council and partners are committed to taking action against the kind of organised crime that is causing serious harm to their quality of life.

“The majority of residents are honest, law-abiding people and they deserve to be able to live in an area that is safe and not overshadowed by serious organised crime.

“The funding being provided under this small grants scheme will enable groups who are committed to doing good in their local area to deliver a project or event which makes a difference and demonstrates that, together, the community is stronger.”

EVOLVE Wirral is part of a multi-agency partnership to address issues in areas of Merseyside most affected by incidents of serious and organised crime. EVOLVE uses a combination of targeted policing tactics alongside activity from partners and input from residents to protect communities and ultimately prevent organised crime groups from operating.

Ally Hodgson, ‘Evolve – Tackling the Impact of Substance Misuse’, which was one of the successful projects, said, “We were grateful for the opportunity to participate in this fantastic event. The networking was invaluable, the scoring system fair, the inclusion great, and the outcomes excellent. With this funding, we will make significant strides towards creating a stronger, safer, and more positive environment within our community.”

Insp Sharon Robinson, Neighbourhood Inspector – Merseyside Police, said, “The three participatory budget (PB) events have been a fantastic way to be able to give money that has been partly seized from criminals to organisations that want to help reduce crime and rebuild communities that have suffered at the hands of gangs.

“The funding will help empower local groups to make a difference in their communities by providing activities and resources that will ultimately assist to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, tackle County Lines, protect vulnerable people and help reduce recruitment to gangs.

“The PB events represent one of the principal objectives of EVOLVE which is to see partners working together with community groups and residents to improve areas that have been severely affected by serious and organised crime and to ensure the Beechwood, Woodchurch and Noctorum areas become safer, stronger communities that are more resilient against serious criminality for generations to come.”

Image: Wirral Council

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