Over £330,000 in cash, confiscated from criminals, is poised to benefit victims of crime in West Yorkshire, courtesy of funding provided by the Mayor of West Yorkshire.

The Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund redirects money seized from criminal activities by the police and prosecutors back into organisations that enhance safety in their local areas.

At the awards ceremony held yesterday (12/09), 49 organisations were granted a total of £331,621 for their community-based projects aimed at supporting victims and witnesses.

West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin, said; “We’re working to create a safer, fairer West Yorkshire, free from crime.

“From healthy relationship workshops for young people, to therapeutic support for victims of knife crime, we’re supporting organisations that are making a real difference.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the tireless efforts of those who work to make our communities safer and stronger.”

Each organisation received a funding boost of up to £8,000. The projects include:

Bradford-based organisation Hollings Youth Association Community Interest Company (CIC) will be working with young people to educate them about the dangers of Nitro-Oxide and other recreational drugs.

Invictus Wellbeing is running a programme supporting people back into employment in Calderdale.

In Kirklees, Northorpe Hall Child and Family Trust will be providing support and therapy to children and young people up to the age of 18 who are victims of or witness to criminal activity and incidents such as knife crime, which impacts their emotional well-being.

Leeds Rhinos Foundation will use its funding to provide support for victims of domestic abuse and their families and run a rehabilitation programme aiming to reduce re-offending.

With their grant, Learnest CIC, through Our House, is offering support to LGBTQIA+ victims of hate crime across Wakefield and providing a hate incident reporting centre.

This will bring the fund’s total since 2021 to £1,372,006. Shared between 222 projects, the fund has benefitted 177,475 people across West Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable John Robins QPM DL said; “I’m pleased that such worthy causes based in communities across the whole of West Yorkshire can be helped to thrive and provide vital support for the victims and witnesses of crime.

“This funding has been obtained from the efforts of West Yorkshire Police’s officers and financial investigators who have worked diligently to ensure the seizure of ill-gotten cash, luxury assets and goods from criminals.

“It’s satisfying to know they are no longer profiting from their criminal activities and that the money is now being put to good use.”

The Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund supports community projects that support the priorities of the region’s Police and Crime Plan. Find out more about the fund and the projects it supports.

Arshad Shah, Director of Hollings Youth Association said; “The Youth focus project is to educate young people about the legal and illegal highs, particularly Nitro-Oxide. The project hopes to curb their usage, which has been associated with increased anti-social behaviour and road traffic incidents.

“By tackling this problem head-on, the project aims to create a safer and more harmonious community.

“The project provides young people with early intervention opportunities, putting them on a path to better health and a brighter future.”

Danny Hutchinson, CEO of Invictus Wellbeing in Calderdale said; “We are delighted to secure funding which allows our existing work to go further.

“We will be partnering with local organisations to ensure young adults struggling with their mental health have access to professional employment support.

“Many of our clients have told us they love our service but wish they could get further support in boosting their confidence and ability to find work.

“We are so grateful and excited to see the impact over the next year.”

Ben Berry, Partnership and Project Manager at Leeds Rhinos Foundation said; “Leeds Rhinos Foundation will use Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund to provide support for victims of domestic abuse and their families and run a rehabilitation programme aiming to reduce re-offending.

“Using sport as a tool, perpetrators will engage in a 6-week block of tailored educational lessons, addressing issues such as abuse, reoffending, crime, substance misuse, unemployment and health. Positive behaviours learned will also be reinforced upon release through a mentoring programme.

“We will also offer crucial support to victims and their families, collaborating with local agencies and domestic violence units.”

Dipika Kaushal, CEO of Northorpe Hall Child and Family Trust said; “We are extremely grateful to be awarded the Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund which will help us to provide a rapid response to young victims and witnesses who are struggling with their emotional health following violence or crime.

“This fund will help children and young people access support quickly, providing a safe space to explore their experiences, and the impact this has had upon them and to look at what might be helpful to support their emotional well-being moving forward.

“Thanks to the award we will be able to make a real difference to children and young people’s lives and futures by responding early and ensuring they can move forward from the experience.”

Louie Stafford, Founder and Managing Director of Learnest Community Interest Company in Wakefield said; “This grant will enable us to do more vital groundwork and work with partners to tackle hate crime and ensure Wakefield is a safer place for LGBTQIA+ people to live, work, grow and thrive.”