TENS OF thousands of pounds in funding from the County’s Police and Crime Commissioner have been allocated to help address key community safety priorities across the region.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), granted just under £168,000 from his Safer Communities Fund to 35 groups tackling important issues such as burglary, road safety and cyber crime.

The grants from the fund, which is financed through money recovered from criminals by West Yorkshire Police and prosecutors under the Proceeds of Crime Act, were distributed at an awards evening in Wakefield last night.

These latest awards mean that Mr Burns-Williamson has now distributed over £2.96m to around 692 projects as part of the Safer Communities Fund.

He said: “I am delighted to be able to continue to distribute these much-needed funds to community safety projects across West Yorkshire.

“Whilst this latest round was open to applications covering any of the priorities in my Police and Crime Plan, I was particularly looking for projects with a focus around road safety, burglary, “honour”-based abuse, cyber crime, human trafficking and modern slavery or missing people. Analysis of the Fund showed that we had slightly fewer applications in these areas so it is something that I am happy to see being addressed.”

“The fund is so close to the £3 million mark now which is a real milestone. It’s also a true testament to the work of West Yorkshire Police and prosecutors in recovering the ill-gotten gains of criminals, ensuring that crime doesn’t pay and allowing the fund to continue which as ever I want to show my appreciation for with a big thank you for all the hard work that goes into achieving such results.”

West Yorkshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson said: “It is really pleasing to see these community based projects receiving the crucial funds they need to make a difference across what are priority areas of policing.

“We cannot address these themes in isolation and it is only by working together that we can deliver a truly effective service for victims and witnesses.

“It should not be underestimated just how far this money goes to changing people’s lives and enhancing their experiences throughout the criminal justice system.”

Among the Bradford projects getting backing was Hope for Justice which received £5,925 for their Care and Support for Victims of Modern Slavery project

Steve Howard, Hubs Manager, said: “We are incredibly grateful for this grant which will help Hope for Justice to support more survivors of modern slavery and to reach more victims through community engagement across West Yorkshire.

“The funding will allow our team to advocate on behalf of survivors so they can access appropriate support and feel safe enough to engage with police and go through the criminal and civil justice processes. Hope for Justice exists to bring an end to modern slavery by preventing exploitation, rescuing victims, restoring lives and reforming society, and this generous grant will help us to do that.”

Impact Gamers received £5,180 which will enable it to hold mentoring sessions. Team leader Adam Syrop said: “It’s fantastic. Back in 2018 we won a Bafta for mentoring. That’s been lacking in 2019 so to restart it is a really valuable thing.”

Other local projects receiving money included Artworks Creative Communities, NSPCC, Mary Magdalene Church and Specialist Autism Services.

The latest round of the Safer Communities Fund is currently open for applications. This time round the fund is asking for groups who want to help tackle crime and anti-social behaviour to apply for a grant of up to £6,000.

Projects seeking funding have up to noon on Friday, March 13, to apply. To find out more visit www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/safer-communities-fund or call the office on 01924 294000.

The local organisations given grants were as follows:

Hope for Justice - Care and Support for Victims of Modern Slavery, £5,925. This project will provide support to the victims and potential victims of modern slavery and engage with at risk communities, specifically among the Slovak, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian and Czech communities, to mobilise against modern slavery.

Artworks Creative Communities - Safer Roads, £5,240. This project will work with pupils from schools along the route of the CityConnect Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway as it leaves Bradford, getting them to meet cyclists, creating public artwork and helping them to feel a sense of ownership of the route.

Bradford Council, Bradford South Area Co-ordinator’s Office, Royds Place partnership – Bradford Support Group, £6,000. The aim of this project is to install a metal knee rail around a large Council owned grassed area on Boltby Lane, Buttershaw, which will protect the area from regular anti-social driving and will help residents and law abiding drivers to feel safer.

Bradford Moor Practice – Bradford Support Group, £6,000. The practice has seen increasing numbers of south Asian women suffering domestic violence (DV) and honour-based violence (HBV) approaching the practice for help. Utilising our existing partnerships within the voluntary sector, the practice will establish a peer support and advocacy group where participants will receive person-centred confidence and capacity building.

Impact Gamers CIC – Mentoring, £5,180. Impact Gamers exists to inspire young people to make positive creations and life choices. They use computer games making/easy coding as a way to encourage, empower and engage young people from disadvantaged areas. They have devised a BAFTA award winning programme to teach game making while giving mentoring to young people and support to their families.

NSPCC – Turn the Page, £5,940. Turn the Page helps children and young people overcome feelings that have made them display harmful sexual behaviour. It aims to help young people: increase their socially acceptable behaviour and refrain from sexually harmful behaviour, improve their psychological functioning, optimism about the future and their sense of wellbeing.

West Yorkshire Police in partnership with Guiseley football club - Prolific burglars, £800. The project is to target prolific offenders who have been convicted and are currently serving a sentence at HMP Leeds for burglary dwelling offences. The project is to restoratively raise the awareness of the impact a burglary has on a victim. In order to engage the offenders, Guiseley Football club will attend the prison to deliver a sports programme alongside the restorative sessions.

Mary Magdalene Church - Offender Community Re-engagement Programme 3, £6,000. Mary Magdalene CIC has been set up with the objective of becoming a community hub; to be inclusive and welcoming to local residents of all faiths, ethnicities and age. Sessions and groups will specifically target young people/adults risk of offending or those released on temporary licence (ROTL), unemployed adults, older people facing isolation and vulnerable families.

Specialist Autism Services - Personal Safety, £5,588.92. Specialist Autism Services is a not-for-profit, Community Interest Company working for and with adults on the Autism Spectrum across West Yorkshire. Its clients are vulnerable young adults with special needs, yet their needs are not catered for by either social services or mental health services.

Yorkshire Lowland Search & Rescue (YorkSAR), £4,987. YorkSAR are a nationally accredited and trained search teams equipped to find and recover vulnerable missing persons. The team has search planners and managers, together with medics and mental health first aiders who can turn out in all weathers to support the Police in searching for those members of our society most at risk.

West Yorkshire Community Chaplaincy Project - Out with WYCCP, £6,000. WYCCP make communities safer by reducing the re-conviction to prison rate of the men they work with. It is recognised that access to accommodation; help with substance misuse and to deal with mental health issues and debts and finance are key factors in reducing offending and in making our communities safer. They provide support in all these areas.