Commissioner's safety fund boost for community groups in St Helens


Last week, local clubs and groups that support the community of St Helens came together and discovered which of them had successfully won their bids in a participatory budget project called Saint Safe.

Community groups in the St Helens area have had a few weeks to get their applications in, bidding for up to £2,000 to support their local projects.

The £35,000 funding pot was filled with contributions from St Helens Borough Council via the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Safety funding, and Merseyside Police via funds seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Each applicant faced an audience made up of members of the community and presented their ideas, with the community deciding who was successful.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “I’m delighted St Helens Borough Council are using my Community Safety funding to improve the quality of life for people living, working, and visiting the town and surrounding areas by helping to create stronger and safer neighbourhoods.

“Local people know their areas better than anybody and these participatory budget events encourage them to get involved in their community by working together to decide what the key priorities are for them and how vital funding should be invested.

“I look forward to seeing how the successful bids enhance these areas, strengthening community resilience and empowering local people to help build brighter futures.”

Sergeant Dael Bennison of the St Helens Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “It has been great to see local groups in St Helens coming together, wanting to make their community a safer and better place to live, work and visit.

“It is particularly satisfying seeing the success of the project, knowing that some of the funding has come from money that has been seized from criminals, and is now being put back into the community.

”The participatory budgeting process is an effective method of empowering members of the community – involving them in shaping local priorities and delivering local services and initiatives. The whole project has been supported by community partners and we are very grateful to St Helens Borough Council and Torus for their assistance.”

Councillor Mancyia Uddin, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities and Chair of the Safer St Helens Executive, said: “We’re pleased once more to support Merseyside Police and other partners with this locality-focused funding programme, having contributed £10,000 to the pot from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Safety funding.

“Local groups and volunteers often have the best understanding of the challenges facing their communities and see many great opportunities to increase their resilience against crime and anti-social behaviour. I’d like to thank all entrants for their excellent presentations and congratulate the recipients."

Jan Calland, Housing Services Director at Torus, said: “Building strong and safe communities is a priority for Torus and the Saint Safe project goes a long way to support this, by offering community and voluntary groups much needed funding to support crime prevention, promote diversionary activities and have a positive impact upon anti-social behaviour.

“Both Torus and our charitable arm, Torus Foundation, are pleased to again support another great Merseyside Police initiative and look forward to seeing the amazing fund-winning projects the groups have planned come to life and a difference across our neighbourhoods.”

The winning bids, as decided by the audience last night, are:

1. £2000 - Domestic Abuse WA12 support victims and survivors of domestic abuse to heal and recover. Domestic Abuse WA12 will use the funding to set up additional workshops accommodating up to 20 attendees at any one time.

2. £1950 - Friends – Play for Disabled Children based at the TUNZA Centre, Boundary Road, St Helens, is a community group hosting various activities for children and young people up to 25 years of age with a disability or additional needs. They will use the funding for room hire and to continue activities in the long term.

3. £2000 - Think Fast Academy formed in 2021 to work with young people at risk of losing their school place and/or at risk of criminal exploitation. The group will run a boxing programme for pupils from Cowley High School, raising self-esteem and working with local partners to raise awareness on the topics of anti-social behaviour, knife crime, drugs, County Lines, alcohol, and mental health.

4. £2000 - People Empowered is based in the St Helens area and delivers aspirational and motivational weekly one-to-one mentoring and small group workshops to hard-to-reach children and young people from disadvantaged areas. They will set up a programme of one-to-one sessions with young people and 12 workshops for over 50 participants.

5. £2000 - No Duff was formed in 2019 focusing on counselling, support, learning and mentoring with a focus on preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. The group will run bespoke courses for teens and young adults, targeting those at risk of violent crime by training in conflict resolution, self-defence and realistic first aid.

6. £2000 - Rockets Community Centre is a community club diverting children away from anti-social behaviour and related offences by engaging them in football on a regular basis. The group will hold football on a Sunday with qualified coaches and a free meal for the participants, 5 to 11 years of age, and purchase new kit and accessories.

7. £2000 – Come Together Hub is a voluntary organisation based in St Helens that provides a safe space for people who are looking to improve their lives, with services such as outreach for the homeless, food provision and essentials, reducing risk and pathways to recovery. They will use their funding to continue providing support for victims of trauma, who often become addicts, homeless or hospitalised as a result of poor mental health.

8. £1936 – Connect is a group based in St Helens seeking to set up a toy library and group sessions for young people with disabilities, supporting some of the most vulnerable young people at risk of exposure to serious violence who have diagnosis of ADHD and autism. The funding will help with venue hire and staff costs to ensure up to 44 weeks per year to offer their toy and leisure exchange service.

9. £2000 – Wildcard ABC is based in Parr, St Helens, with many young people from across St Helens taking part in their boxing club. The club will use the funding to expand its subsidised fees of £2.50 per child session including some free sessions and continue to provide young people with disciplined and structured fitness sessions.

10. £1940 – St Helens Bees Netball Club is a completely volunteer-led community grassroots club for girls aged 3 to 9 years. The group will engage in a recruitment campaign targeting younger children to embed the values of sport and being part of a team, and provide specialist training to the coaches on autism, ADHD and sensory processing.

11. £2000 – St Helens Pedal Power covers the whole of St Helens as a volunteer-led community cycling group and operating from four separate hubs within the borough, provided by St Helens Council. This group will use the funding to run three separate events, offering 6 hours of bike mechanics, gazebo hire, free merchandise, promotion material and the upkeep of existing bicycles.

12. £2000 – Teardrops Supporting Your Community formed in 2016 and has a main hub based within the town centre area providing services such as a night café and multi-agency drop-in service offering and advice and support. They will support the most vulnerable families with children educated at three local primary schools with food baskets over a three-month period.

13. £2000 – St Helens Darts Academy is a group based in St Helens with young people attending regularly between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. This group will conduct an advertising campaign, purchase new dartboards, scorers, surrounds and lighting systems, and accessories for players who unfortunately cannot afford their own.

14. £2000 – IMPETRO CIC is a group based in Thatto Heath, seeking to provide care packages containing essential personal items such as sanitary products, toothpaste, shower gel, deodorant, and clothing to assist those in most need across St Helens town centre locations. The group will continue its work alongside the Salvation Army to identify and support victims of crime and abuse.

15. £2000 - HAMMA Gym based in St Helens delivers martial arts classes of all disciplines from boxing, kickboxing, jujutsu to different age groups. The funding will support its partnership work to promote awareness and health and well-being through sport, with 20 participants ranging from ages 11 to 17 years from early March 2024.

16. £2000 - Café Laziz is based in St Helens as an asylum seeker / refugee volunteer kitchen that cooks authentic recipes for the people of St Helens. Assisting with integration into the community, seeking to reduce racially motivated offending and breaking down barriers. Café Laziz will use the funding to purchase a gazebo, new digital prints, tables, tablecloths, branded hoodies and other equipment.

17. £2000 - Sexton Avenue Allotments based in Parr, St Helens is a community allotment working alongside St Helens Youth Justice and on their own project called Restorative Justice Taster Sessions. The group hosts sessions for young people, offering a chance to change direction in life, caring and nurturing their own community allotment patch. The funding will purchase new equipment, tools and accessories.

18. £274 - FC St Helens Under 15’s is based near to Queens Park, St Helens, offering football coaching and providing a safe environment for youths to play sport and socialise. The funding will help with the purchase of new equipment and training tops and pay for a diversionary activity outside the regular training pattern.