£150,000 Available for Gwent Communities

From 9am today, Gwent PCC Ian Johnston's Partnership Fund is open for bids from charities, voluntary organisations and community groups involved in activities that have a positive impact on their communities. The Partnership Fund grant scheme is funded by the proceeds of crime awarded to the police and from the sale of unclaimed found property.

Each group will be able to apply for between £250 and £10,000 from the £150,000 available and will have to demonstrate the positive impact their project would have on their community. Applicants will also have to demonstrate how their projects contribute to delivering the Commissioner's priorities for Gwent which include reducing and preventing crime; taking more effective action to reduce anti-social behaviour and protecting people from serious harm.

Throughout 2013 and 2014 the fund has contributed £332,552.94 to 107 projects across Gwent. The money retrieved has usually been stolen or made through illegal means - such as drug dealing.

Previous applicants to the Commissioner's Partnership Fund have already made a positive difference to the lives of people in their communities thanks to the funding. One of the groups to receive funding last year was the Tillery Combat Mixed Martial Arts group in Blaina, Blaenau Gwent. Using sport, fitness, discipline and self-defence, the Tillery Combat MMA Academy helps to divert the most disaffected and disengaged people in the community away from a life of crime and substance abuse. Their award of £5,000 was used to kit out the gym with new equipment and also to cover the travels costs to and from local competitions for those who can't afford it.

Funding was also awarded to develop a hard hitting, educational film which highlights the dangers of new psychoactive substances. Supported with a £5,000 contribution from the Partnership Fund, the 60 minute film, The Good Drug Dealer, focuses on the devastating impact of drugs such as mephedrone.

Other organisations which have benefited in the past include the Torfaen Warriors Boxing Club, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, the Eden Gate charity in Newport and the Lylac Ridge Animal Learning Centre in Risca.

Urging community projects to bid for the funding, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Ian Johnston, said: "Over the last two years more than £300,000 has been retrieved from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act and put back into local community projects. It's fitting to see money recovered from criminals going back to benefit local communities and many projects in Gwent have already made a positive difference to their communities thanks to this funding scheme.

We recognise the vital role these projects can play in complementing the work of Gwent Police and other local partners in the community. My message is simple - if anyone has a great idea for a project which can make a positive difference to their community - we want to hear from them."

The electronically downloadable application form and accompanying guidance notes for applicants will go live on the Gwent PCC website www.gwent.pcc.police.uk/commissioning/commissioners-partnership-fund/ from 9am today (Monday February 2nd 2015).

Hard copies can also be obtained from that date by emailing the Commissioner's office directly on pccpartnershipfund@gwent.pnn.police.uk or calling 01633 642 200. The closing date for receipt of the application form is 4pm on 6th March 2015.