Belfast Telegraph

Community groups lauded for taking safety message to heart

By Rebecca Petticrew

Community groups from across the city united at City Hall last week to celebrate projects which are helping reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in their areas, and are helping people feel safer.

The projects have been funded by the Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) and its four district partnerships. This year to date over £200k has been allocated to groups through the PCSP's small grants scheme.

Among those receiving funding are the Belfast Street Pastors, a midnight boxing programme, Halloween and half term street soccer projects, and a project to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Councillor John Hussey, chairman of the Belfast PCSP, said: "It's great to be able to fund such a wide range of projects which all have a significant impact at a local level, and contribute to communities feeling safer.

"It's particularly important that we continue to support projects that are designed to keep our children and young people safe, and to confront such evils such as human trafficking. There are few more noble objectives than these."

Frank Mulhern, Belfast PCSP vice chair, said: "It is vitally important that PCSPs support front line service delivery in a way which gets to the most hard to reach and vulnerable people in Belfast. The PCSP small grants scheme allows us to do this in a very effective way."

Other projects which have received funding include:

• Streetbeat Youth Mentoring - aimed at engaging high risk young people in a dedicated mentoring programme to divert them from antisocial behaviour, crime and interface violence.

• Fortwilliam & Duncairn Community Garden - intergenerational gardening project which works with Youth Justice Agency and Probation Board.

• East Belfast homework club.

• Drive to Succeed - aimed at teaching young people the importance of road safety and the implications of driving illegally and so-called 'joyriding'.

Applications for projects taking place between April and September 2014 will go live in November. Keep an eye on www.belfastcity.gov.uk/funding for funding opportunities.

The Belfast PCSP is also holding a number of public events throughout September. Visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/pcsp for more info.

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