COMMUNITY centres, sports clubs, youth groups and park projects are among the latest grass root causes set to benefit from a fund that uses cash stripped from criminals across the North East returning it to the heart of the community.
£225K worth of money that crime fighting police officers have seized from drug dealers, human traffickers and thieves is being channelled into a range of community projects thanks to the latest round of Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness’ Operation Payback fund.
Before Christmas, the Commissioner revealed where some of the latest money obtained through the Proceeds of Crime Act had come from. It included cash and assets with a total value of £57,685 that were seized by officers in Sunderland when a man was arrested for drug possession with intent to supply, as well as kidnap. The offender is now serving time in a prison in Belgium.
This money is now being used to fund work Such as Pallion Action Group’s ‘Care To Achieve Project’ that offers support and opportunity to young people caught up in ASB and the criminal justice system.
Operation Payback is part of Kim McGuinness’ plan to get money back into the right hands – the hands of those who are improving lives and preventing crime in their local neighbourhoods.
The latest round of funding sought to help bring game changing ideas to life and give local kids opportunities that would keep them out of trouble both during school holidays and throughout the year.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “We’ve seen lots of successful police activity of late involving raids and arrests where lots of money has been taken out of the wrong hands. Today I am announcing where that money is going to go and how we can use it to improve lives by fighting poverty and fighting crime.
“There’s no better use for cash seized from crime than channelling it right back into our communities – particularly areas that need it most or where we are wanting to clampdown on things like anti-social behaviour. It’s about presenting kids with the chance to do things they want to do, keeping them entertained or even making sure they are fed and feel supported in life.
“From Friday night youth clubs and dance classes to knife crime awareness sessions – I am really pleased with the range of activities that are going to be on offer through this round of funding. And thanks go to the hardworking officers who are disrupting organised crime and seizing the money connected to it so we can invest it back into the organisations who are making a difference right in the heart of the local community.”
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Riley, of Northumbria Police, said: “Taking the money out of the hands of criminals and investing it back into the communities these crimes have impacted – that’s a wonderful feeling.
“This round of funding will be used to fund schemes such as ‘Fit to Fed’, a project that sees free boxing lessons followed by a free meal provided to children in Gateshead. It’s amazing to see something so positive and inspiring come out of this.
“Work will continue on all sides to disrupt and dismantle organised crime and those profiting of their criminal actions, with the money seized being invested back into the amazing communities we serve.”
Operation Payback is part of a much wider of action happening across the Northumbria Police force area as part of plans to tackle issues like ASB and knife crime.
The aim of the fund is to support the work of Northumbria Police and help prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, which will in turn improve lives for local people.
Funded examples by area:
Pallion Action Group Funding will be used for the delivery of the ‘Care To Achieve Project’ to raise the aspirations/skills/knowledge/experience for young people caught up in ASB and/or the criminal justice system.
Leam Lane Amateur Boxing Club Funding will be to run further “Fit to Fed” sessions during the school summer holidays, with the aim to provide free sessions to the youths of the area followed by a hot meal.
Hexham Youth Initiative Funding will be used towards the work of qualified and experienced detached youth workers on the Sele in Hexham. This is a large area of open space in the centre of town which includes play areas, recreation spaces, a bandstand, bowling green and a skate park.
Fenham Association of Residents This grant will be used to create a project around safety for young people. They will focus on knife crime by creating a project aimed at talking to young people about community safety and creating a short film, to raise awareness.
Power Through Sport CIC Funding will go towards targeting diversionary activities at the Friday Night Youth Club, which was initially funded by North Tyneside’s Community Safety Team as part of their Project VITA campaign.
Sea Change South Shields CIC Funding is to host educational workshops to reduce ASB as part of weekly neurodiverse social club, this will prevent antisocial behaviour and also educate members if they ever find themselves in a difficult situation.
A full list of beneficiaries can be found here Operation Payback Round 4 – Full list of confirmed groups
PHOTO: Kim McGuinness and officers from Northumbria Police and Bensham Court Tenants and Residents Association. Funding is to be used towards the costs of running the food bank which assists up to 70 people daily.