VERU Funding 2020 - 2021
Main VERU Fund
Bedfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, opened her second fund (22 May) for community projects aimed at tackling gang crime and knife carrying, after the Home Office agreed to pay for the county’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) once more.
More than £40,000 is to be invested in programmes to help parents and young people as a landmark new partnership continues its work to drive down serious youth violence in Bedfordshire.
Work in schools, parental classes and outreach projects are among those being supported by Bedfordshire’s Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) over the coming months.
It is part of a comprehensive package of measures being rolled out by the VERU, which is governed by Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway.
The latest projects backed with VERU funding include a weekly drop-in session for young people in Luton run by radio station Diverse FM, as well as presentations at the Oakbank school in Leighton Buzzard by offenders who have turned their lives around. Work with parents is also a major part of the latest funding. Three separate programmes have been funded to ensure coverage across Bedfordshire, with a particular focus on helping parents who had difficult upbringings themselves.
The VERU is also backing a number of other projects, with town councils and mayors being able to award funding to local groups who wish to provide spaces for young people such as youth clubs.
A specific project will be carrying out education and skills training in prisons, while further funding has been allocated to the county’s Community Safety Partnerships and youth offending services.
The VERU will also be funding training for hospital staff to recognise the signs of vulnerable and exploited young people when they attend with injuries or trauma relating to serious violence. Serious youth violence fell by 9 per cent in the VERU’s first year, equivalent to around 200 fewer victims of such offences in the county.
Details of the allocated fund are as follows:
Pathways to Success – Diverse FM - £10,000
Run by Diverse FM’s community team, this Luton-based outreach project will involve a weekly drop in session offering young people access to information, support and peer mentoring. As part of the development of this service, Diverse FM will offer employability skills, media skills development and recreational activities, with a view to building skills and encouraging positive life choices by the young people that take part.
Uprising – One Stop Advice - £10,000
This project will offer parental classes which build skills and resilience. Its focus will be to provide a service whereby parents, guardians and carers are mentored to increase their ability to put measures in place to manage boundaries and protect their children from exploitation. This project will particularly focus on building resilience within parents who, due to a lack of confidence and knowledge, would benefit from support.
Challenging behaviour parenting workshops - Counselling Wellbeing Foundation - £10,000
The foundation will work with parents whose own lives have been impacted by social environmental factors, leasing to issues such as substance abuse or criminal offending. This project will work to improve family relationships and long-term outcomes for the children.
Baby Faces - FACES - £10,000
The project will support people in the transitional stages of becoming parents and offer them tools and coping strategies to prevent and heal adverse childhood experiences (ACES).
Prison Me No Way - Oakbank School - £1,500
This coeducational special school in Leighton Buzzard will run presentations to more than 100 students by Prison Me No Way, an agency which helps students via presentations from ex-prisoners who have turned their lives around. Workshops will be specifically tailored to cover county lines, gangs, drugs and violence. This programme will reach those students who are already involved in gang related behaviour and act as an early intervention for those who are vulnerable to being groomed to become involved in this type of lifestyle.
Town and Parish Council Fund
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has launched a project to improve certain locations for young people. The OPCC has won a small amount of funding from Central Government that can be used for suitable projects.
Earlier this year, Shefford Town Council opened a Youth Hub. Over the last couple of years, Shefford have seen the needs of their young people change. As well as a safe place to meet, a facility was needed to encourage such activities as electronic gaming sessions and more importantly, a secure place for young people to meet Youth Involvement Officers who were carrying out mentoring programs.
The Police and Crime Commissioner supported Shefford by funding them which allowed the to refurbish a changing pavilion to create a Youth Hub. The funding was used to remodel the building; installing doors and racking, upgrading lighting and kitchen/toilet facilities, and redecorating internally. The Hub now has a general meeting area, a “private space” office, storage area, toilet and small kitchenette area. It is used by the Youth Team and is liked by the young people.
The OPCC has a small pot of £29k to fund similar projects throughout Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton. This is part of the money that was ‘won’ by the Commissioner from Central Government for the establishment of a Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU).
The funding can be used by Town and Parish councils for a wide range of projects that would improve locations for young people with the ambition of deterring them from unsafe spaces or by investing in areas where young people can socialise in safety. Grant fund applications will be no more than £5k per bid and can be share funded.
The OPCC is keen to get projects underway, just as soon as the current crisis is past.
The OPCC would like to see Town Councils/ Parish Councils to submit ideas in terms of improving locations for young people with the ambition of deterring them from unsafe spaces. Or the opposite where they invest in areas they would support young people in socialising in.
Some examples of possible bids:
- Improving the security gates of a car park where suspected drug dealing occurs or improving lighting or amenities in a social area a Town Council would be supportive of young people frequenting.
- Refurbishing outdoor park toilets.
|Bid Opens||22nd May 2020|
|Bid Closes||10th June 2020 - 11:00am|
|Decisions||w/c 22nd June 2020|
|Contracts to be sent||w/c 22nd June 2020|
VERU Funding Application Form
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Twitter Account: @BedsVeru