Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has received applications for her 2019/20 Grant Fund totalling over £3.7 million worth of bids to help victims and reduce crime in Bedfordshire.
The application process for the Grant Fund was officially launched at the end of the year (Tuesday 11 December 2018) and closed on Friday 11 January. Some 69 applications have been received. The Grant Fund is created by combining a grant from the Ministry of Justice and funding from the Bedfordshire Police budget producing a flexible grant opportunity aimed at promoting innovative and collaborative working across Bedfordshire.
“What I’m particularly delighted about is that the word about my grant funding is getting out to more people than ever before as I’ve made it clear that I don’t just want all the usual suspects to apply but people with fantastic ideas to help victims or make their communities safer but who may never have applied for a public sector grant in their lives!
“I’d like to assure this group that this will be taken into account by me and my panels hearing the applications and that we will give help to develop some of the best ideas,” said the Commissioner.
“More than £1m more in bids have been submitted this year than last - £3.7m now as opposed to £2.6m in 2018-19. This does, of course, mean that with only a total of £1.6m to distribute, a lot of people are not going to be successful but I intend, as always, to make this money go as far as possible and to favour projects which are funded from more than one source so partners are genuinely invested and working together,” she added.
Last year, the Commissioner funded an enhanced new service for all victims of crime in Bedfordshire, called Signpost. The free and confidential service is a one-stop-shop for all the information a victim of crime needs to know. Signpost consists of a call centre of specialist Victim Care Coordinators, available on Freephone 0800 0282 887, running six days a week (Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm). Signpost also has an online directory of all support services for those affected by different crimes (and a section telling them what will happen next if they report these crimes to the police) at signpostforbedfordshire.com.
In the coming year, PCC Holloway intends to provide a similar service for former offenders to also draw together contact information for all services available to support them in Bedfordshire into one online home, backed by a call c entre of specialists. The new service will launch in April and will be called Direction.
In the last round of grants, the PCC also commissioned multiple organisations supporting victims of Domestic Abuse and Child Sexual Exploitation and other crimes against women and children such as Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage. Organisations such as the Anne Frank Trust received funds to work in schools across the county to combat prejudice and prevent Hate Crime through the story of Anne Frank and the PCC established Bedfordshire’s first dedicated counselling service to help male victims of sexual and domestic abuse.
The process is still ongoing, with the Commissioning team currently assessing bids. A selection of the 69 applicants will then be invited over the next two months to present to the PCC and a panel of members from across Bedfordshire who will then decide if any of the £1.6m of grant funding will be allocated to them.
“It’s important that the process is seen to be fair, open and transparent. The politically independent Chair of the Police and Crime Panel, Paul Cain, will join me and there will be representation from young people in the criminal justice system for applications relating to them as well as from minorities in our communities,” said Commissioner Holloway.
More information on the commissioning process can be found at www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk in the Campaigns & Initiatives section under Funding Opportunities. Anyone with any questions should contact the OPCC on 01234 842064 or email PCC-Commissioning@Bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.