Police fund gives £20k grants to charities

PUBLISHED: 16:01 30 August 2013

Geoff Stevens.

Geoff Stevens.

Archant

MORE than £20,000 is being handed out to North Somerset community and voluntary organisations, thanks to a police fund.

Everything from clubs organising activities for youngsters and support groups for victims of domestic abuse have received financial boosts, it was announced this week.

The community action fund, organised by Police Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens, will help people in Weston, Yatton, Congresbury and on the Bournville estate.

A total of 26 projects across the Avon and Somerset Constabulary district were chosen, with more than £80,000 dished out.

Lighthouse at Weston was awarded £1,750 to provide a safe haven for vulnerable people out in the town at night, as part of its work with the popular Street Pastors.

The town’s YMCA branch, in partnership with its Bridgwater counterpart, will get £5,000 for helping youngsters who have witnessed or experienced domestic abuse.

A pilot project for the Bournville estate, run by Weston Football Club’s Sports Active Seagulls Community Trust, will receive a cheque for the same amount.

The £5,000 will pay for young people, many who do not regularly attend school, to take part in workshops teaching them issues as varied as respect, racism and healthy living.

The trust has been praised for the way it uses football to encourage better behaviour among children and hopes the initiative will continue that theme, ultimately leading to volunteering positions and work experience with local businesses.

Geoff Stevens, the charity’s community manager, said he could not overstate how much the money means to it.

He said: “It’s massive for us. Initially we received money from the conference trust to run the youth club but money is hard to come by.

“We worked for two years with some of these kids and it then got to the stage where we thought what are they going to do now.”

The Coles Shed café, based at Weston Raileay Station, will receive £2,500 towards its effort in supporting disadvantaged young people who have suffered abuse, neglect or homelessness.

Away from Weston, plans for a skate park in Congresbury have also been boosted with a £5,000 grant.

Parish councillor Pete Sewell said progress was being made with turning the Riverside Gardens idea into a reality.

He said a plan was being drafted which will be shown to the parish council ahead of a formal planning application being submitted to North Somerset Council.

An estimated £100,000 will be needed to make the skate park a possibility.

Yatton Youth Club will also receive £400 towards providing activities for youngsters, while the Women’s Project counselling service will get £3,000.

Ms Mountstevens said: “We have received an overwhelming number of applications in the first decision period of this fund and I feel pleased to be able to support such fantastic initiatives. I have been captivated by the variety of the applications and astounded to hear of the wonderful work that is carried out day-to-day in local communities.”

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