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Building safer communities from the grassroots

In her latest blog, Alison discusses the launch of the small grant scheme and how the best solutions are locally led.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have written many times about fostering safe, resilient and connected communities – it is the absolute focus of my Police and Crime Plan.

The Office of Police and Crime Commissioner provides funding each year to a range of organisations beyond the police to support the delivery of initiatives and programmes to keep people safe, prevent crime from occurring and to help support victims of crime.

Last year we gave over £2.7 million to organisations working in Devon and Cornwall – including over £1.6 million to the nine community safety partnerships that work in their local areas to address the issues facing their communities.
This funding helps them to provide a number of key services such as domestic violence advocacy services, therapeutic provision for children and young people affected by sexual abuse and/or exploitation, refuge provision, healthy relationship programmes for children and young people, substance misuse treatment services, street wardens and street pastors to support the evening and night time economy.

This funding is hugely important and there is commitment to maintaining this funding stream over my term of office. However, this year we wanted to do something different and see what we could do to help a wider range of communities tackle an issue that is very important to them - antisocial behaviour (ASB). 

When out and about engaging with our communities, I regularly hear that ASB is something that affects people’s day-to-day lives. While for some people this may not be a big concern, for many it affects their quality of life each and every day and I want everyone in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to feel safe in the areas where they live, work and play.

My office is already working closely with partners across the two counties on a range of projects which have tackling ASB at their heart. An example of this is supporting the excellent work being done in towns such as Penzance and St Austell through providing additional seed funding of £50,000 to support the launch of the Cornwall Safer Towns Programme. 

We have also provided £5,000 of funding to One Ilfracombe to help create the Business Crime Partnership and to support a multi-agency approach to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the town.

But we can do more and, in particular, help smaller communities get initiatives and schemes off the ground that will tackle the ASB problems they are experiencing. For this reason my office is launching a new small grants scheme this week which is focused specifically on ASB. 

Throughout my time as police and crime commissioner, I have worked alongside local councillors and have been inspired by their level of commitment and effort to help their communities tackle crime and ASB.

The focus of this new grant scheme will be around helping communities to help themselves. The best solutions are locally led and you know your community best.

This year there is £80,000 available for community groups and local organisations to tackle ASB through this new Small Grants Fund. Grants are available from £250 to £2,500. 

To be considered for a grant you need to be specific. You need to identify what you see as the problem and have a clear idea or project that can help to tackle it. The focus of the fund is on those incidents of ASB which link closely to community safety, crime and affect the community as a whole. It is not intended to be used for individual or neighbour disputes, noise complaints or issues like littering or dog fouling.  You will also need to be able to demonstrate support for your bid from within the local community. 

Problem solving in our communities is what local councillors do best and I am asking local ward, town and parish councillors to get behind this new scheme. Therefore every bid will also need to have support from a local councillor.

I am excited to hear about all the fantastic work already being done in our communities to tackle ASB and am looking forward to the opportunity to support these projects and organisations grow and further tackle issues in their area.

The full details of the scheme, how it will operate and how to apply are available on my website. The scheme will launch on May 22 and the deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 23rd July 2018.

To download an application form and for more information about the small grant scheme please go to the commissioning section on the OPCC website.

If you have any questions please email: smallgrantscheme@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk

Alison Hernandez