COMMUNITY GROUPS and voluntary sector organisations have the opportunity to apply for a grant, thanks to a Community Safety Fund launched today.

For the fifth year Ron Hogg, Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC), is continuing his partnership with local grant-making charity County Durham Community Foundation. Under this partnership, the PCVC contributes £100,000 to the Fund and a further £50,000 comes from grant funds managed by the Foundation.

Funding is available for projects and initiatives, which help to keep communities safe and contribute towards inspiring public confidence.

Ron said: “I am delighted that we are able to make the Community Safety Fund available again this year.  The scheme has been very popular in the past and has made a real difference in many communities.   I am grateful to the Foundation for their continued support, and together we can make a real difference at a local level.”

Preference will be given to projects that can show they are embedded in a community, and focus on a specific locality, as opposed to projects with a wider but lighter touch approach. An example would be creating activities for young people in a specific community as opposed to a county wide publicity campaign for public safety.

Durham based charity Handcrafted Projects (pictured) received just over £7,000 from last year’s fund.  Their project, “Good Neighbours”, works to divert people away from chaotic and harmful lifestyles by providing the opportunity to develop skills in woodwork and house renovation.  

“In our workshop trainees receive practical training in the use of woodwork machinery and tools. From their very first day of attendance, they complete their own project which they take away with them. For those who have, for so long, felt that they have been unable to achieve anything of value or worth, this is a major step.   Their soft skills such as self-confidence improve over time, and all the skills they learn are invaluable as they seek to move forward into employment.”

Michelle Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of County Durham Community Foundation, said: “It is wonderful that we are able to continue this important programme in partnership with the PCVC for a fifth year.   We are looking forward to receiving exciting, innovative bids from groups that look to keep our area safe and inspire confidence within our communities.”

The closing date for applications is noon on Friday 26th April.