This week the Police and Crime Commissioner brought together a variety of organisations to put funding for services that support young victims, and those that help prevent young people from entering the criminal justice system, under the spotlight.
Michael Lane, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “With funding for public services having been greatly reduced as part of the necessary austerity measures, there has inevitably been an impact on the organisations that rely on grant funding to deliver their objectives. Through my commissioning strategy I want to ensure that the funding I am able to provide is not just filling gaps left by other statutory bodies making cutbacks, but is adding real value and being used to cultivate innovative new ways of working that will help keep people safer.
“By bringing together those partners who work with young people and those who provide funding a number of core issues could be explored that will enable us to work better together to make the most of the limited resources available.
“The feedback from this event will help give a clear focus for future funding for projects and services that support young people in key areas such as mental health and child sexual exploitation.
The session on future funding was part of a wider event jointly run with Artswork, Arts Council England’s South East Bridge Organisation, to celebrate the achievements of 16 projects that the Commissioner had funded and Artswork had previously co-invested in. The £100,000 programme aimed to help reduce offending through high quality arts and cultural activities. A number of projects were showcased at the event showing how art and cultural activities such as graffiti designs that create wildlife habitats, film production and learning video game animation can have a positive impact on those identified as at risk of being involved in or affected by crime.
Jane Bryant, Artswork Chief Executive, said: “At Artswork we see first-hand the positive impact arts and cultural activities can have on young people and particularly those at risk. The projects we have co-invested in with the Police and Crime Commissioner have involved both victims of crime as well as perpetrators. They have enabled these young people to engage with a range of creative activities including film-making, poetry and animation, as well as working towards an Arts Award qualification.
“These 16 projects have allowed the young people participating to take ownership of their work and develop confidence, aspiration, leadership skills and ambition. We hope that the success of these will be able to be used in future to inform further programmes.”