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OPCC holds panels to allocate 1.6 million pound Grant Fund
Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, and her office have been holding a series of panels over the last fortnight to decide which organisations will be awarded money from her Grant Fund to help victims and reduce crime in Bedfordshire over the next year.

The commissioning team received 85 applications (69 of which were from external organisations and charities) for the 2019/20 Grant Fund totalling more than £3.8 million worth of bids to help victims and increase community safety in the county. Over the last two weeks (4–15 February), applicants have been presenting for an hour each to a panel of experts and residents from across the county who decide if any of the £1.6 million of grant funding will be allocated to them.

The Commissioner and her team were joined by safeguarding experts from local authorities, organisations and charities across Bedfordshire which provide support in domestic violence, sexual violence, education, early intervention and offender rehabilitation. The independent chair of the Police and Crime Panel, Paul Cain, was also present for many of the panels.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will now be reviewing the feedback from the panels and the presentations with the aim of announcing the successful applicants for the 2019/20 Grant Fund in March. As part of the Commissioner’s commitment to working with services to support victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and hate crime, the team will also be looking to support services which aim to reduce offending in areas such as domestic violence by providing education for offenders, child sexual exploitation, modern day slavery and county lines.

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 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 application process for the Grant Fund was officially launched at the end of last year (Tuesday 11 December 2018) and closed on Friday 11 January. This year, the Commissioner has actively encouraged applications which demonstrate joint working across organisations for the benefit of Bedfordshire residents countywide.

The PCC’s Grant Fund is created by combining a grant from the Ministry of Justice and funding from the Bedfordshire Police force budget, producing a flexible and accessible grant opportunity aimed at promoting innovative and collaborative working across Bedfordshire.