PCC launches summer Youth Diversion Fund to help ease holiday hardship

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'Youth Diversion Fund' with group of young dancers behind words

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner is marking her first year in office by announcing the launch of her summer Youth Diversion Fund to offer safe, engaging activities for thousands of young people and help ease holiday hardship across the region.

Emily Spurrell, who started in post a year ago today (Friday 13th May 2022), warned that the school holidays can be a particularly hard time for young people from families who are struggling.

The six week’s holiday is also a time when communities across Merseyside often see a spike in anti-social behaviour, causing concern and distress for local families and acting as a drain on police resources

To help ease the pressure, the PCC is extending her successful Youth Diversion Fund to run over the summer months and is inviting community and grassroot organisations to bid for funds to run projects which will provide positive diversionary activities, such as sports, arts, or cultural activities, for young people right across Merseyside.

A total of £100,00 is available from the fund and organisations can bid for a one-off cash boost of up to £5,000 to provide safe, supervised summer activities for young people and help reduce ASB in their communities during the six week’s holiday.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “People across Merseyside have told me that ASB can be a blight on their communities during the summer months, particularly during the six week’s holidays when young people are not in school and there are long light nights with very little for them to do.

“Many young people who get involved with behaviour which becomes anti-social don’t have access to positive activities and opportunities to keep them safe and engaged. They feel have nowhere to go and nothing to do.

“Families who were already struggling and are now facing a huge rise in the cost of living, simply don’t have the money to pay for holidays or organised clubs during the six week’s school break. They are striving to make ends meet and are focused on paying for food and rent.

“Community-based activities can provide a lifeline for these kids. By releasing a new round of my Youth Diversion Fund for projects running over the summer holidays, my goal is to ensure there are safe, fun, enjoyable activities for young people right across Merseyside.

“ASB is sometimes, wrongly, viewed as ‘low-level’, but for victims it can have a hugely damaging effect, causing fear, distress and anxiety.

“The more we can offer exciting, safe opportunities for young people which keep them occupied and engaged, the fewer victims there will be and the safer our communities will feel. This gives young people a brighter future, while helping to create nicer, better places to live, and reducing the burden on the police during a particularly busy time of the year.”

Emily added: “There are lots of brilliant community and grassroots organisations across our region which are committed to giving to young people the best start in life, offering them positive activities, and improving their future prospects and I’m proud to be able to support their work through this fund.”

It is the second round of funding from the PCC’s Youth Diversion Fund, using money raised through the Police Property Act which sees money from the sale of unclaimed stolen goods or property recovered by the police which cannot be returned to be diverted into worthwhile causes supporting communities.

Nearly 6,500 young people enjoyed activities during Halloween and Bonfire Night, thanks to the last round of funding which was released to fund projects running over the busy autumn half term.

One of the successful projects was The Brunswick Youth and Community Centre, known as ‘The Brunny’ which received £2,000 to run Halloween parties and activities aimed at keeping 120 young people safe in an area of high levels of ASB,

The Brunny’s Centre Manager Keith Lloyd said: “The Police Commissioner’s fund enabled us to target young people who are quite vulnerable in our community.

“It’s really difficult to engage young people, but this fund allowed us to do something different, to make a difference and to encourage young people back into this facility. We did a whole range of things - trips out, we had an outreach team out engaging young people and bringing them into the organisation and making sure they had a safe place to go to.

“It was a great success and if it wasn’t for the Police Commissioner’s fund we’d have really struggled and there would be a lot more young people experiencing difficulties.”

The Youth Diversion Fund is administered by the Community Foundation for Merseyside, (CFM) on behalf of the Commissioner. CFM holds funds from individuals and organisations as donors who wish to support deserving causes in Merseyside.

CFM’s Programmes Director James Proctor said: “The Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth Diversion Fund is a fantastic funding opportunity to support our local grassroots community organisations and their engagement work with young people.

“It is so important to recognise the valuable community projects on offer over the summer school holidays which allow young people to get involved in sporting, cultural, educational and crucially, fun activities which keeps them safe and helps to reduce instances of anti-social behaviour.”  

All applications must be submitted online via the Community Foundation for Merseyside by 4pm on 10th June on 2022.

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Find out more about how the PCC's Youth Diversion Fund has benefitted young people in Sefton: