PCC calls on community groups as Proceeds of Crime funding gives back to Garston

Poster with words 'Giving back to Garston - apply for a share of £25,ooo funding' and a graphic of several people. Also featuring an 'applications now open' button

Emily Spurrell is calling on community groups, charities and organisations in Garston to apply for a share of £25,000 funding, made available using money seized from criminals.

From today (Monday 4 December), community groups operating in Garston, or intending to use the funding within this area, can apply for grants of up to £5,000 to deliver a project focused on youth engagement and intervention.

The funding has been made available using funds seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

With the focus on projects which aim to reduce and prevent crime and antisocial behaviour through youth engagement and interventions, bidding groups will have to go back to the classroom and pitch their ideas to a group of schoolchildren from primary and secondary schools.

They will decide who receives a share of the £25,000 funding pot at the Giving Back to Garston participatory budget event in February 2024. It will take place at The Academy of St Nicholas and bring together students from the Academy and five local primary schools to take part in the voting – St Austin’s, Garston CE, Banks Road, Gilmour Juniors and Holy Trinity.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for those organisations in Garston, who contribute so positively to their communities, to benefit from the ill-gotten gains of criminals.

“By taking the money out of the pockets of criminals and putting it back where it belongs, we can channel it towards the areas that need it most, helping to grow local groups, increase opportunities for our young people and create safer, stronger places to live for us all.

“Merseyside Police will never give up in its pursuit of criminal gangs and we are determined to prevent those who inflict misery on our communities from benefitting financially from their illegal activities.

“The money we seize from those who seek to harm our communities, will instead now be used for good - enhancing the vital work our brilliant third sector organisations do within their communities and I look forward to hearing their pitches at the event in February, and seeing who the schoolchildren choose to be beneficiaries of this funding.

“I would encourage all local groups to apply for a share of this funding focused on making our communities better places to live, work and play in the months and years to come.”

Inspector Nicola Hamilton, from the local policing team said: “Using funds seized from criminals, we can now offer grants to community groups operating in Garston, or intending to work within this local area, to engage and work with our local youths.

“Alongside our ongoing proactive work to tackle criminality, we are passionate about working with partners and local community members to amplify their initiatives.

“The Giving Back to Garston event will give the young people living in the area the opportunity to vote for the projects they want to see happen. We are giving young people a voice as to where they want the funding to be spent to directly impact them and the area they live in. We are excited to have them involved and reward funding to worthwhile youth initiatives.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for any voluntary or grassroots organisation to benefit from a funding boost. The money can be used to develop existing projects or start something new. I would urge anyone who thinks they have an idea to get in touch so we can support you with your application.”

Mr Gary Lloyd, Headteacher at The Academy of St Nicholas said: “As an Academy, we are delighted to be both hosting and participating in this exciting initiative which brings together many different elements of the Garston community to give the young people of our community a voice in shaping the direction of the community projects.

“We are looking forward to hearing the proposals and providing students with an opportunity to exercise their democratic vote in deciding the winners.”

Those applying for the fund can be from a Garston based voluntary or community group or intend to use the funding to benefit residents in this specific area.

All applications for funding must demonstrate how they will contribute to the key theme of ‘Youth engagement and intervention’. 

Applications are now open, and groups can apply for a maximum of £5,000. To obtain the application criteria, request an application form, or receive further information, email [email protected].

The closing date for entries is 4pm on Monday 8 January 2024. Successful applicants will be announced at the Giving Back to Garston event in February 2024.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The maximum bid allowed is £5,000.
  • Multiple bids from a single organisation/group/applicant will not be accepted.
  • Those bidding must be from a community group operating or intending to use funding within Garston area (see map provided).
  • Constituted and Non-constituted groups can apply.
  • Minimum voting age is 8 years old.
  • The voting process is to be done via tokens.
  • Children will vote on bids presented on the day of the event.
  • A representative from the community group must provide a 2-minute pitch on the day of the Participatory Budget event outlining their proposed bid.
  • If electronic media is to be used to support the 2-minute pitch these will be included in the 2-minute allocated time slot. PDF versions must be shared with the group organisers 48 hours prior to the event.
  • The event will be attended by representative pupils from each of the schools within Garston. Each pupil will receive one vote.
  • Bidders will not be allowed to vote.
  • Basic Vetting will be completed by Merseyside prior to the event and applications may be subject to a shortlisting process dependent upon the number of bids received.
  • If you would like to complete an application form, please email [email protected] requesting a copy of the form.