The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Waheed Saleem, has announced 32 organisations who have successfully applied for the first tranche of funding, from the £200k Community Initiative Fund.

The successful organisations have been announced after a panel composed of representatives from the PCC’s office, West Midlands Police and Youth Commissioners met to assess the applications.

Among the successful projects named across the West Midlands region, are Wolverhampton Samaritans; Keeping us connected from Walsall; Bearwood Young Persons Design Company in Sandwell; New Heights and Busy Hands both based in Birmingham; Just Straight Talk, Dudley; and the Hebrew congregation in Solihull.

The Community Initiative’s Fund was launched in May to support organisations who offer support to the community during the covid-19 crisis, for example vulnerable, homeless and elderly people who have become extremely isolated and in need of support and help following the lockdown.

This funding comes from items seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Each year, the Police and Crime Commissioner invites local community groups to bid for a grant from the fund. The money must go to community projects and cannot be spent on recruiting officers.

Deputy West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Waheed Saleem, said:

“I am delighted the Community Initiative’s Fund has been established. The money has come from the proceeds of crime and is designated to directly support good causes. I know this money will go a very long way in giving worthwhile projects the extra help they need to continue with the services they are providing.

“I was further delighted that we were able to support a cross section of projects across the West Midlands region, which is a testimony to the amazing work people are doing during this national emergency. Unfortunately we are not through this pandemic and the next few months will bring different challenges as people adjust to the new normal, therefore it is important that we continue to support the community through this recovery phase especially our most vulnerable members of society.
“There is a great symmetry to taking money from criminals and using it for good causes.”

Further examples include Fridays 4-in 1 from Coventry, which is a youth led digital event and a prime example of community action in practice. The organisation supports young people who are feeling isolated and need of support. This is done through the internet. Using a 4-in-1 platform, the organisation offers constructive and expert advice on a variety of issues, including developing confidence and skills to ensure young people are equipped to navigate through life post lockdown.

Fridays 4-in 1 Founder, Tyler Campbell, said:

“The effect that covid-19 is having on our young people who have been separated from their friends and other members of their families has been life changing. I want them to know we are here to help and encourage them to log onto our website: www.fridays.org.uk

“We will also be inviting contributions from anyone from the local community who wishes to engage with young people in a safe and friendly environment. The mixture of content is designed to be punchy, interesting and relevant to keep them interested and involved and help them through what has been one of the most traumatic periods in our history.”

Chief Superintendent, Sally Bourner, West Midlands Police and lead for the Active Citizens, said:

“Every project proposal we considered, and there were many, was inspiring as they reflected the kindness and commitment across our communities to helping people during these most unprecedented and challenging of times. I look forward to seeing how the monies allocated to many different organisations will support the difference volunteers across our region are making in their work to help those most in need’.

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