12:00 Wednesday 18 December 2013

Drop-in centre receives funding from crime pot

Written byJENNY MOODY

Matthew Ellis Matthew Ellis

A UTTOXETER group offering a drop in facility for the town’s young folk has received a welcome boost.

The Uttoxeter Youth Drop-in Centre, which is held at the Pentecostal Church in High Street, has received funding the Staffordshire’s police and crime commissioner’s Proceeds of Crime Fund, which was formally known as the Local Policing Fund.

The facility opened in May last year to offer youngsters aged between 12 and 16 years old a safe environment to socialise with friends after school.

However, since opening its doors the centre has desperately been appealing for volunteers to get involved and even had to close over the summer holidays as there was not enough people offering their time and support.

Commissioner Matthew Ellis has been inviting community groups across East Staffordshire, as well as the rest of the county, to apply for money from the fund.

The scheme is a new initiative by Mr Ellis to support local projects in conjunction with local policing teams and local authorities.

It is made up of assets and money seized from criminals in Staffordshire under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Applications for the £250,000 fund have been received so far from 129 groups or organisations across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Of these applications 59 have been successful in securing full or part of the money they need to fund their project.

The Burton Albion Community Trust, which also runs sessions in Uttoxeter, will also receive money from the funding pot.

The project aims to cut anti-social behaviour and engaging youngsters in green activities run by Growing Straight.

Mr Ellis said to receive funding, the bids had to demonstrate a clear connection with reducing crime and fit into one of his four priority areas.

These include intervening early, putting the victims first, preventing the offender from re-offending and improving members of the public confidence.

He said: “I am delighted with the response to asking communities for ideas to make places safer and reduce crime.

“Shifting more money to local areas is what I said we’d do and it’s what we’ve done.

“The vast majority of ideas showed very clearly how they might counter wrong doing and make places safer.

“Even taking out those that didn’t, we were still slightly over subscribed – despite the fact the level of funding has increased.

“But there was also a significant number where the connection between reducing crime and what was being proposed was not as clear.”

Mr Ellis added that he would like to be able to help every cause that applied for some funding but this was just the start of the project and helping the good causes set up across Staffordshire.

He said: “I would love to be able to fund everything but it’s just not practical.

“We’re going further than ever before to provide funding for people and I would hope that the majority of people will celebrate that.

“This is just the start of making more money available for local areas.”

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