Close to half of Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend’s Community Safety Fund will be used to protect children and young people from harm as she sets her office’s budget for the first time.
The Commissioner has ringfenced £275,000 of the Fund to enable more children and young people to engage with the police and other agencies, avoid or leave harmful situations and receive specialist help and advice when they need it. It complements additional funding that will continue to be provided by the Commissioner to support victims of crime and reduce repeat offending in Surrey.
The specific allocation of a Children and Young People’s Fund follows a £100,000 project with Catch22 to reduce the criminal exploitation of young people established in January, accompanied by longer term investments by the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner to increase the support available to children and young people at risk of, or affected by, sexual violence.
It comes after the Commissioner marked the anniversary of her first year in office in May with a vow to remain focused on the public’s priorities that are included in her Police and Crime Plan for Surrey. They include reducing violence against women and girls, ensuring safer Surrey roads and improving the relationships between Surrey residents and Surrey Police.
Money from the new Children and Young People’s Fund has already been awarded to support the first Surrey Police ‘Kick about in the Community’ football event that aimed to break down the barriers between Surrey Police officers and young people in the county. The event in Woking was held as part of the Force’s focus on children and young people and was supported and attended by representatives from Chelsea Football Club, local youth services and partners including Fearless, Catch 22 and MIND charity.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Ellie Vesey-Thompson, who is leading the Office’s focus on children and young people, said: “I’m passionate about ensuring our impact in Surrey includes hearing the voices of children and young people, who have a unique experience of safety and policing in our communities.
“Together with the Commissioner, I’m proud that allocating this specific funding will help more local organisations to enhance the opportunities for young people to thrive, and to access tailored support that works to address the barriers we know prevent young people from speaking up or asking for help.
“It could be something as simple as having a safe place to go to spend their free time. Or it could be having someone they trust who can spot the signs and offer advice when something doesn’t feel right.
“Ensuring these services can reach more young people is important both to support individuals who are at risk or who experience harm, but also to strengthen the long-term impact on their future decisions, and on their relationships with the people and environments around them as they grow up.”
The Children and Young people’s Fund is available to organisations that work to enhance the lives of children and young people in Surrey. It is open to local activities and groups that have a positive impact on children and young people’s wellbeing, provide a safe space or route away from potential harm or that encourage increased engagement between the police and other agencies that prevent crime, reduce vulnerability and invest in health. Interested organisations can find out more and apply via the Commissioner’s dedicated ‘Funding Hub’ pages at https://www.funding.surrey-pcc.gov.uk
Anyone who is concerned about a young person or child is encouraged to contact the Surrey Children’s Single Point of Access on 0300 470 9100 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) or at firstname.lastname@example.org. The service is available out of hours on 01483 517898.
You can contact Surrey Police by calling 101, via Surrey Police social media pages or at www.surrey.police.uk. Always dial 999 in an emergency.