Last week I began to invite community and voluntary groups across Devon and Cornwall to apply for funding from my latest round of community grants.
Organised community groups are critical to a crime-free society. Those living in areas most affected by crime need greater opportunities to strengthen their ability to play their part in helping us all stay safe.
There are community groups, initiatives and programmes driven by committed local people, who understand the challenges and opportunities in our neighbourhoods better than anyone else. They can do a lot with a relatively small amount of money, and that’s where my community grants come in.
In last year’s round of community grants we funded, or part funded nine projects in Cornwall, to a total value of £26,087, and 13 projects in Devon to a total of £50,929.
In Cornwall we helped the Dracaena Centre in Falmouth hire a youth justice worker, we helped Whole Again Community Garden in Penzance deliver horticultural workshops to young people at risk of offending, we helped St Columb Major Boxing Club purchase core equipment which helps to keep young people off the streets, and we helped West Cornwall Women’s’ Aid provide additional support to victims of domestic abuse.
In Devon the Youth Genesis Trust in Paignton were able to offer weekly sports sessions and activities for young people, Landworks in Dartington were able to offer more training workshops for people leaving prison, AHIMSA in Plymouth worked with perpetrators of stalking to modify their behaviour and Beer Alston football club installed a new security system after they were the repeat victim of criminal behaviour.
For this round of grants all applications must show a commitment to raising awareness of the risks around drug use. This is one of my four priorities in the Police and Crime Plan where I want to see a step change by us all, not just the police. From cannabis to cocaine, I want those who use drugs to be reminded that our communities won’t tolerate it on our streets or as a neighbour.
Projects should focus on stopping young people and adults from becoming involved in illegal drug activity.
Drugs can have a devastating social impact on community life and on those who are dependent upon them. They have an adverse impact on individuals, families and businesses right across our communities and contribute to violence, crime, financial problems and homelessness.
To tackle drugs effectively we must address both the supply of drugs into our communities and the level of demand for those drugs.
In my Police and Crime Plan I have made a commitment to help communities come together to break the cycle of addiction and reduce the demand for drugs.
Examples of activity that may be funded by this grant include:
- Workshops with children and young people to inform them of the risks associated with illegal drug use and help them to make positive choices;
- Activities that build relationships within communities and new opportunities for people at risk;
- Counselling, advice and support for those involved in illegal drug use who finding it hard to manage their situation;
- Provision of safe spaces;
- Work that informs young people and protects them from drug dealers, whether online or in person.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and I very much look forward to receiving applications describing a range of activities that meet the aims of this grant scheme.
In Cornwall the scheme will be administered by Cornwall Community Foundation and grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 are available.
Application forms and eligibility criteria can be found here: Commissioner Community Grant Scheme Round 2 - Cornwall Community Foundation
In Devon, the scheme is being administered by Devon Community Foundation and applications are invited for grants between £1,000 and £10,000.
Application forms and eligibility criteria can be found here: OPCC Community Grants - Devon Community Foundation (devoncf.com)
Applications will be accepted until 15 June with successful awards being made in March, May and July.
And don’t forget, if you see drug dealing happening where you live, you can report it anonymously via Crimestoppers by calling freephone 0800 555 111. Let’s all play our part to rid Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly of the sale and use of illegal drugs.
If you have been a victim of crime please report it to police, in an emergency call 999 or in a non emergency call 101, webchat or email the police via devon-cornwall.police.uk. Alternatively, to stay 100% anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or call Freephone 0800 555 111.
Victims of Crime can get free expert advice 24 hours a day from Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111 or via victimsupport.org.uk.