“Our message is crime doesn’t pay.” – How cash taken from criminals’ pockets is being given to communities in need

Money recovered from criminals is being given to communities impacted by crime, thanks to the West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin’s, Safer Communities Fund.

6th January 2023

Money recovered from criminals is being given to communities impacted by crime, thanks to the West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin’s, Safer Communities Fund.

In 2022, over £530,000 of cash previously associated with illegal activities was put to good use by 100 community projects that are making the region safer.

And the fund is set to support more projects in 2023, says West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe OBE, as she kicks off the new year with visits to three organisations that have collectively received over £17,000 from the Mayor’s fund.

Speaking about the fund, Deputy Mayor Lowe said:

“The Mayor and I want to build a safe, just, and inclusive West Yorkshire, and to do so we need the help of everyone, from local authorities, to the police, to grassroots community groups.

“The Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund enables us to support organisations that best know the needs of their areas, all with the aim of making our region safer.

“Our message to criminals is that crime doesn’t pay. Instead, the money recovered from you is doing real good in the communities you’ve harmed.”

The Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund uses money recovered by the police and prosecutors and gives grants of up to £8,000 to projects that are making West Yorkshire safer.

This week, Deputy Mayor Lowe has seen first-hand how communities are benefiting from this funding with visits to Invictus Wellbeing, Evergreen Active, and ESCAYP (Emotional Support for Children And Young People).

Invictus Wellbeing received £6,000 of funding for two specialist workers for vulnerable young people in Calderdale, providing support, advice, and access to activities to improve their wellbeing.

Over £5,000 from the Mayor’s fund has been used by the organisation Evergreen Active to deliver boxercise classes for women and girls in Wakefield, with a focus on building self-esteem and self-confidence.

ESCAYP has used their funding from the Mayor to provide free counselling services for young people experiencing mental health challenges across West Yorkshire.

Danny Hutchinson, CEO of Invictus Wellbeing, said:

"The Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund has been a fantastic help for Invictus Wellbeing and we were delighted to be recipients in 2022.

“It allows charities like ours to expand the work we do and specialise in areas that we may not have been able to before.

“For example, this fund helped us innovate a brand new project that supports young people struggling with their mental health into positive activities like boxing, climbing and more.”

Paula Appleton, Director of Evergreen Active CIC, said:

"We were absolutely delighted to receive funding from the Mayor's Safer Communities Fund last year, which meant that we were able to hold 48 weeks of female-only fitness and self-protection classes in the Eastmoor area of Wakefield.

“Eastmoor has the highest levels of domestic violence and sexual abuse in the Wakefield district, so we knew it was an important area for this project to take place in.

“Since the classes started in May 2021, we have had over 270 attendances by women of all ages, fitness levels and backgrounds and many new friendships have been formed."

Peter Lorimer, Chair of Trustees at ESCAYP, said:

“The money from the Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund has been used by ESCAYP to enable us to continue to deliver our service, mainly to schools across the county.

“As reflected nationally, the need for mental health support for children and young people was greater than ever in 2022.

“We will continue to operate as long as we can in 2023 - without this money, coupled with that received from other generous sources in 2022, we would have had to close.”