Cash seized from criminals pays off for Leeds charities

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Charities and community groups in Leeds have been awarded more than £50,000 from a fund set up to put criminals’ cash to good use.

Twelve organisations in the city were given money in the latest round of grants from the Safer Community’s Fund managed by West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

Women’s Health Matters, which helps disadvantaged women, got £5,152 for a programme of events including trips out and a picnic.

Director Beverley Fearnley said: “Grants like these are absolutely essential because it’s really difficult to fundraise at a local level. It’s vital to help us invest in the women we work with.”

The charity Genesis received £5,250 to pay for awareness-raising sessions in schools on child sexual exploitation.

The Blast project, which works with boys and young men who are groomed, was given a similar amount to fund a worker to expand its services.

Phil Mitchell, from the charity, said: “It would be good if we got statutory funding, but that’s not the world we live in unfortunately, so we rely on grants like this.”

Other groups that were given funding were Carers Leeds, the Chapeltown Youth Development Centre, Stop Hate UK, Barca, Karma Nirvana, Safe T, Safer Leeds, Tempusnovo and Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation.

More than £550,000, has now been awarded from the Safer Communities Fund.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: “The sheer volume of applicants demonstrates just how crucial this fund is.”

West Yorkshire Police temporary Deputy Chief Constable John Robins said: “It is pleasing that cash seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act is being put back into local communities which may have been affected by crime.”

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