Youth Diversion Fund boosts Halloween and Bonfire Night safety

More than 4,000 young people will be able to enjoy safe, engaging activities this Halloween and Bonfire Night, thanks to the Merseyside Police Commissioner’s Youth Diversion Fund.

Local charities, organisations and community groups were invited to apply for a share of £50,000 to go towards projects to help keep young people active and engaged around the autumn half-term, a time when emergency services typically report a spike in incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.

In total, 24 grassroots initiatives will each receive grants towards diverting young people away from crime and ASB, helping to ease the pressure on our emergency services and helping to maintain safety and security in the community.

Among the successful recipients are The Opening Doors Project in Walton who are holding aHalloween craft and food and fancy-dress event including a zombie walk for 600 young people.

Powered by Hip Hop CIC will be helping to keep more than 100 young people off the streets in St Helens with graffiti sessions and break-dancing workshops as well as a Halloween BMXing, scooting, skateboarding and parkour event while Shy Lowen in Netherton will be providing an animal experience with horses designed to look like skeletons using chalk as well as scary scarecrow activities for 250 young people.

In Knowsley, Evolving Mindset CIC will be delivering a DJing course designed to empower and engage young people who are identified as being at risk of getting involved in ASB or crime in Prescot across Halloween, and Bonfire Night.

All the funded projects will complement Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s annual operation focused on preventing and reducing ASB during the school break.

It is the fifth round of grants since the Commissioner launched her Youth Diversion Fund in August 2021, meaning 125 projects have now shared more than £350,000 to deliver projects benefiting a total of nearly 21,500 young people across Merseyside.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Halloween and Bonfire Night are times when families and communities across Merseyside come together, with the vast majority enjoying fun and exciting times together. Sadly, though there will always be a minority who take things too far and see this period as an opportunity to engage in types of behaviour that can have a negative impact on our communities.

“Tackling anti-social behaviour is a priority for me and I’m very proud that through my Youth Diversion Fund, these fantastic organisations and initiatives can provide a variety of supervised activities and opportunities to a diverse range of young people with the aim of preventing ASB and crime.

“Historically, it is also a particularly busy time for the police and the fire service. Through these grants, I want to help alleviate some of this extra pressure that our blue light services experience at this time of year, as well as supporting the excellent diversionary work already being carried out by Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

“Our voluntary and third sector organisations are embedded in our communities, and they already know how to make the most of such grants to benefit their local areas. I’m excited to see the positive impact the vast array of imaginative and creative projects they have proposed benefits our young people and keeps our communities safe and secure.“

The Youth Diversion Fund takes money raised through the Police Property Act which sees money from the sale of unclaimed stolen goods or property recovered by the police which cannot be returned and diverts it towards worthwhile causes that benefit our communities and the people who live in them.

A total of 61 applications were considered by the panel, with a combined value of more than £157,438.

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 (CFM), who manage the fund on the PCC’s behalf. CFM holds funds from individuals and organisations as donors who wish to support deserving causes in Merseyside.

As a result, 8 organisations in Liverpool were awarded funding, with 5 projects running on the Wirral, 5 in Sefton, 2 in St Helens and 4 in Knowsley.

James Proctor from Community Foundation for Merseyside said, “The Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth Diversion Fund is a fantastic funding programme that supports our local grassroots community organisations and their engagement work.

“Halloween and Bonfire evenings are fun events for children and young people though they are also traditionally times when anti-social behaviour can increase.

Community organisations offer the chance for children and young people to get involved in organised events such as Halloween parties, sports and cultural activities delivered in a supporting environment which keeps them safe.”

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