The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) aimed to support bids in the following areas:
1. Early Intervention - for young people with a focus on drivers of crime such as drugs. The Commissioner was looking for multiple bids of up to £15,000 per project and the bid was either to be co-funded or jointly bid for with other contributing organisations.
2. Domestic Abuse - for both male and female victims as well as covering all of Bedfordshire.
The 2020/2021 grant fund consisted of joint funding from multiple organisations including; the Community Safety Fund, Ministry of Justice Fund and funds acquired from the Police Property Regulations 1975 - giving a total of £1,646,972. From this, £310,000 had been set aside for a new PCC to allocate. However, with the change in legislation adopted only two weeks ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our PCC, Kathryn Holloway, has accepted that it is her responsibility to remain in post given that the election is delayed for a full year. PCC Holloway has announced she will re-open this fund with a purpose of furthering Domestic Abuse support and early intervention programmes for 10-13 year olds that can be conducted during this difficult time i.e. remotely, since projects requiring face to face interaction are not possible to deliver.
Overall, the OPCC received 42 applications for funding, totalling £1,734,889, which is significantly in excess of the total fund available.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has now announced the successful applicants as follows:
- Bedfordshire Police Projects – including such areas as trap vans, neighbourhood watch, mental health demand reduction, stalking and sexual harassment prevention orders: total funding allocated: £140,000
- Offender Management Projects including Youth Offending Services, Direction and the Family Drug and Alcohol Courts - total funding allocated: £245,393
- Early Intervention Projects – including some truly inspirational projects that are practically supporting and educating our young people: total funding allocated: £92,609
- Victim Services Projects – including Signpost, and tailored support for young people through Embrace: total funding allocated: £406,086
- Domestic Abuse/ Domestic Focus Projects – including outbound support, programmes, offender management programmes and further training for professionals: total funding allocated: £232,323
- Counselling and Counselling based Early Intervention Projects - total funding allocated: £95,133
In 2020, the OPCC has chosen to fund several organisations to deliver Early Intervention programmes. One example is Youth Voices CIC who have been supporting young people in Bedford, addressing youth Anti-Social Behaviour. With the help of the PCC's funding, they are hoping to expand the project including a set up in Biggleswade. This organisation has cleverly used locations young people already feel comfortable in (such as McDonalds branches) securing meeting spaces to take the opportunity to engage and guide.
Jenny Raine, Head of Service Delivery for Embrace, said “Embrace Child Victims of Crime is delighted to be supported through the provision of a grant awarded from the Bedfordshire PCC to deliver our tailored emotional, practical, holistic and wellbeing support services to young people harmed by crime across Bedfordshire. Our aim is to help children and young people traumatised through the effects of serious crime cope, recover and move on with their lives in a way most suited to them.”
Allan Myatt, Chief Executive at Ormiston Families, said “We are very grateful for the ongoing support that Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner has given our Breaking Barriers project in Bedfordshire. Thanks to their ongoing support we have been able to expand provision to reach children with a parent in prison across Bedfordshire, including Luton. This most recent grant will enable us to continue supporting an additional 35 children and young people impacted by parental imprisonment over the next 12 months.”
The OPCC also aim to see a more joined-up approach in supporting male and female victims of Domestic Abuse in 2020. The OPCC want to see services working in partnership to provide not only group therapy support, but also increasing face to face support for victims once the pandemic has passed. The support provided to victims will include accessing court, applying for protective orders and having a dedicated Outreach Worker to support them.
Michelle Crook, Director of Reactiv8, said “We are delighted to have received funds from the OPCC that enable us to deliver our ‘Reach for The Stars’ programme, a high impact and practical mind-set empowerment programme using proven educational material and British Military coaching techniques to those who have been involved in drugs, violence and criminal activity. This will be followed by one-to-one bespoke mentoring sessions that provide enhanced advice, guidance and support to empower participants to achieve a life away from drugs, violence and crime. We are always grateful to the PCC for supporting us to support the community across Bedfordshire.”
The PCC’s required joint commissioning - and joint funding - approach has also been developed with the NHS and Bedfordshire Police to recruit more Independent Sexual Violence Advisors who will be supporting victims in the community, court and the Sexual Abuse and Rape Clinic.
“I hope anyone reviewing my grant funded projects for the year will see some key themes; I am not prepared to fund projects which operate in silos but those which are jointly paid for with a series of commissioners to ensure greater sustainability as we cannot help children, victims of Domestic Abuse and prisoners wanting to turn their lives around for a last year with me as PCC, only to drop them suddenly in future.
“I favour common sense, practical and innovative solutions to problems but must now look to distribute the last £240,000 of my fund to projects which can offer diversionary activities online to young people in hotspot areas and help to those suffering abuse at home which is anticipated to rise during this enforced period of self-isolation,” said the PCC.
For further information regarding applying for a grant for such projects, please contact PCC-Commissioning@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk