Almost £100,000 worth of criminal assets have been used to fund a high-tech multi-media bus designed to help steer children away from a life of crime.
Developed by Dundonald Elim Church, the new bus has been transformed into a top-of-the-range studio, complete with music and mixing equipment and computers.
A total of £90,000 for the project came from money recovered from the proceeds of crime, which can include everything from property to cars.
Justice Minister David Ford said it was “fitting that such money is reinvested into communities and to people working on the ground to make Northern Ireland safer”.
“I have been very impressed by this project. It is unique, innovative and clearly appeals to young people,” he added.
“In addition to providing a welcome diversionary activity in local areas such as Tullycarnet and Ballybeen, the young people involved will also have the opportunity to try something new and develop new skills.
“The support my department provided to this project came from the recovery of criminal assets. It is fitting that such money is reinvested into communities and to people working to make Northern Ireland safer.”
Dundonald Elim pastor Phil Hills said the funding having come from the proceeds of crime was a “delightful irony”.
“The whole thing is to help young people who maybe don’t engage with things like sport. This technology isn’t available in every community, so it is fantastic that we can bring this directly to them,” he added.
The minister also backed the recently launched Community Safety Strategy — reflecting the importance of early interventions to divert young people away from crime.
“This is an excellent example of the type of work I want to see across Northern Ireland.”