Charities based in Trowbridge and Melksham are among 12 organisations benefitting from grants worth over £300,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon.
Angus Macpherson has used his Innovation Fund to commission community and voluntary projects which seek to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and support victims and vulnerable people in innovative ways.
He said: “The Innovation Fund is a one-off fund I set up after I took office. It was a way of putting £1m from my reserves to very good use supporting new and exciting projects in line with my six main priorities.
“I have been keen to encourage organisations that are doing similar work to see if they can work together and provide greater resilience as well as covering a wider geographic area.
“Across the three funding rounds we have been able to support a total of 35 schemes.
“Now we must start to look at the early results of the schemes which we funded in 2013, so we will be asking them to feed back their experiences so far and the impact their projects are making in their area.
“We are drawing a line now under the Innovation Fund, but if any of the projects we have funded demonstrably reduce crime there is no reason why they should not be considered for mainstream funding.”
In the third and final Innovation Fund round, grants were awarded to west Wiltshire organisations as follows:
- £20,228 to avoid vulnerable young people staying in police stations
Wiltshire Child Protection Unit reports delays in finding accommodation for young people picked up by the police who are unable to return home immediately. This can result in them spending an excessive and stressful time at a police station, as well as the time and cost implications for the police.
Alabaré proposes to use its existing accommodation in Salisbury and Trowbridge to provide out-of-hours access of up to seven days accommodation for a vulnerable young person. Two beds are permanently available.
DASH (Discovering Autistic Spectrum Happiness)
- £11,500 to help protect vulnerable people
DASH seeks to employ a part time worker who can help to protect vulnerable people and hopefully prevent their involvement in offending.
Frontline workers would be trained and supported to be more aware of the condition and how to adapt working practices for a better outcome.
National Ugly Mugs
- £5,000 to improve safety and access to justice for sex workers
National Ugly Mugs (NUM) aims to reduce crime and protect vulnerable people by improving the safety of sex workers and their access to justice.
This project will provide for a training event and support for Wiltshire Police officers and further support for the project to reach sex workers across Wiltshire and Swindon.
- £35,000 to tackle date abuse among young people
SPLITZ wishes to address the issue of dating abuse (physical, emotional, verbal and sexual) among young people. The project aims to run a programme in four schools in Wiltshire, culminating in a conference to share the learning.
Through the project young people will gain a greater understanding of what is respectful behaviour in a relationship and be given strategies to challenge abusive behaviour.
Wiltshire Mind counselling project
- £28,405 for counselling for people at risk of offending
Wiltshire Mind, working with Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Targets for Change (SWITCH) has identified the need for a non-clinical intervention, in this case a counselling service.
The aim of the project is to enable individuals to manage their lives better, moving away from dangerous and harmful lifestyles and offending.
The project will be a six month pilot providing a counselling service for 36 adults with mental problems who are at risk of offending or re-offending. The counselling will take place in Melksham, Swindon and Salisbury.
Three part-time counsellors will be employed, together with a part-time project manager.
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
- £58,149 for training and work experience for long-term unemployed young people.
The project will provide training and work experience to long-term unemployed and NEET young people, particularly those at risk of offending.
The training will consist of the refurbishment and recycling of white goods and furniture, much of which will then be provided at low cost to low-income families and those in crisis.
Recipients of the refurbished goods will also benefit.
Wiltshire Council ZeeTee campaign
- £11,775 to counter homophobic bullying
The ZeeTee campaign will deliver a special 18-minute assembly into ten secondary and primary schools, benefiting an estimated 10 to 20,000 pupils.
The session will include a film made by LGBT young people from Trowbridge who talk about the issues that affect them.
The presentation also includes the story of a young man who took his own life after an incident on social media.
Pre and post campaign surveys will be carried out and there will also be the opportunity for a follow-up survey after four to six months.