SCHOOLCHILDREN, particularly in deprived areas are crying out for fun activities over the summer holidays to help stop them getting in trouble with the law, says Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness, as she launches a new funding opportunity for local communities

Today (Monday 30th May) the Commissioner has re-opened her Operation Payback funding pot with more than £150,000 up for grabs. She is inviting local youth groups and community groups to apply for a share and is wanting to hear new activity ideas that would help curb summer anti-social behaviour across the region.

Operation Payback uses cash criminals have taken from communities in the Northumbria Police Force area and puts it back into projects and initiatives that make a difference to the places that need it most.

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.

PCC Kim McGuinness wants to see positive activities such as sports tournaments, dance classes and DJ-ing workshops fill the summer holidays, especially for those less fortunate in the North-East.

She hopes to get a range of ideas to cover all six local authority areas (Northumberland, Newcastle, Sunderland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Gateshead) and aims to have funding allocated in time for kids breaking up from school for the summer.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “So many families really feel the pressure of the summer holidays and in some cases. especially when money is tight, or mam and dad are working, kids get left to their own devices with little to do. That’s just the way it is. It’s a real help to parents to know there are places their kids can go and things they can do.

“The ‘Cost of Living’ crisis is hitting far too many people, particularly in our region, and not everyone can afford days out at theme parks or to jet off somewhere sunny. So, this is me asking young people and asking communities – what do they want to have on offer, on their doorstep, to help keep them entertained.

“There’s no better use for cash seized from crime than channelling it right back into communities to help prevent more crime. Yes, our police know local ASB hotspots and are busy planning extra patrols and crackdown operations, particularly in our open spaces and on public transport, but if we are going to curb the number of incidents, I want to throw everything at helping young people access the alternative – let’s prevent crime in the first place.

“And this isn’t all about the kids,” she continued. “This helps improve the quality of life for everyone in our communities and reduces the number of victims. People tell me they feel intimidated by groups of youths gathering at the Metro or vandalising their local park. I want to give kids a far more attractive way to spend their time, exploring their talents – boxing, dance, football, music – you tell me.”

Operation Payback is part of a much wider of action happening across the Northumbria Police force area, with further ASB related projects to be announced by Kim McGuinness as chair of the local ASB Board before the summer holidays. Activities planned for later in the year to help curb ASB around Halloween are also welcomed.

The ASB Board was established by the PCC earlier this year and brings together local authorities and public transport operators.

Examples of previously successful bids to Operation Payback include:
Sunderland District Youth Amateur Boxing Club – a new boxing ring to provide diversionary activities.
NewcastleNorth East Dance – dance and theatre as diversionary activities for young people
GatesheadChopwell Community Association – range of diversionary activities
South TynesideEscape Intervention Services – programme of activities to divert young people from ASB
Northumberland Amble Links FC – money to help fund training sessions
North TynesideVenture Zero North East – money to help support local community events


Applications close on Sunday 19th June 2022.

For further information on how to apply visit HERE.