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Funding for local programmes announced to tackle causes of crime

14 February 2023

Funding for local programmes announced to tackle causes of crime

A total of 18 community projects have received more than £135,000 of funding from an independent co-operative which is supporting community organisations to tackle the causes of crime.

This is the second round of funding to help combat crime made by Southern Co-op, which has retail, funeral and coffee branches across the south of England.

An initial investment of £100,000 in 2020 has led to more than 1,300 people being supported including offenders and/or those at risk of offending.

According to four of the projects working with offenders, their estimated reoffending rates were between 0% and 4.2% - a significant reduction from the national average of 24%*.

Gemma Lacey, Director Sustainability & Communications at Southern Co-op, said: "We have tried our best to support as many community projects as possible in this latest round of funding and are pleased to see such a passionate group of organisations all doing their best to help people in need.

"Projects include healthcare and accommodation for the homeless,skillsbuilding for offenders, help for young people at risk or already involved in crime, and much more.

"The majority of people don't choose a life of crime so we hope these programmes will give them the chance they need to break out of the vicious circle which so often has a tragic ending."

The Safer Neighbourhood Fund has been co-ordinated with the help of Neighbourly, a giving platform that helps businesses make a positive impact in their communities by donating volunteer time, money, and surplus products.

InBournemouth and Poole,STARRecovery is a network of churches and other partner organisations which deliver appropriate support for those affected by addiction/poor mental health/compulsive behaviours. Following a two year pilot, the charity will be moving to the next step of training and equipping early adopters (e.g. church groups) to expand their reach as far as possible to help those, and their family, in recovery.

Emma Heath, Project Director at STAR Recovery, said: "We are so very grateful for the funding from Southern Co-op's Safer Neighbourhood Fund. We at STAR are committed to seeing people trapped in the grips of addiction to find hope and freedom.

"We see the positive impact in upskilling churches and communities with knowledge of how to tackle this growing crisis of addiction in our locality, and this vital funding has enabled our staff team to increase hours that they can dedicate to the expansion of STAR locally.

"This will in turn provide volunteer teams with heightened confidence in this often misunderstood area of need and will help many more people to access life changing support. Already this funding is making a difference to how we operate and we are expectant to see how this will help us more in the coming year."

The HealthBus Trust is a charity that provides accessible and appropriate healthcare to people experiencing homelessness inBournemouthand the surrounding areas. The Trust operates a mobile GP-led service, in close collaboration with a multidisciplinary NHS team, the local authority and third-sector providers of homeless services.

Deano Pickering, Head of Fundraising and Marketing, said: "The Trust's vision is to reduce health inequalities and develop world-class expertise in homeless health through multidisciplinary partnership working.

"The incredible donation made by Southern Co-op - Safer Neighbourhoods Fund 2022-23 is greatly appreciated as the need for essential healthcare and well-being continues to increase for those who are experiencing homelessness in our community.

"This funding will enable the Trust to continue its essential care and support to patients with complex health needs. The Trust's mobile clinic and drop-in clinics have seen a dramatic positive impact on the health and well-being of the homeless population.

"Many people with underlying health conditions are not accessing treatment until their condition becomes acute. The Trust is helping individuals to maintain their condition and aiding their recovery, in partnership with other agencies."

A HealthBus patient in 2022 said: "After lots of encouragement from visiting health professionals, I have found hope and compassion from those involved with the HealthBus. This service is a lifeline! A much-needed refuge for those who are vulnerable. The staff and team involved with the HealthBus have saved and are saving lives!"

OtherBournemouth and Pooleprojects to receive funding include:

  • Hope Housing Support & Training which provides a safe comfortable home, tailored support and training to help vulnerable homeless clients to rebuild their lives and become independent. The funding will extend their engagement work to break the cycle of poverty, homelessness, loneliness, drug and alcohol abuse, re-offending and poor lifestyle choices with individuals that have previously offended.
  • Dorset Reclaim which is a busy hands-on furniture reuse charity. Funding will enable the charity to optimise its support for individuals who have the opportunity to become a part of their team, helping to change behaviours and improve their future employability.
  • SAFEmpowerment which is run by two ex-police officers who hold sessions in senior schools for those young people identified as being on the ‘wrong path' and already committing low level crime. The funding will subsidise the schools, meaning more children can be referred for either group work or one to one.
  • BearFace Theatre which inspires positive change to help women offenders through ‘Creating Change' - an arts intervention. The funding will support two eight-week programmes delivered to two groups in Southampton, positively influencing up to 24 vulnerable, at-risk women on probation. Creating Change is interactive, primarily using drama and theatre techniques to help offenders to identify, moderate and manage their attitudes, thinking and behaviours in order to make positive changes in their own lives.

InBristol,Help Bristol's Homeless is another local organisation benefitting from the funding and its mission is to change the face of homelessness in Bristol. It provides temporary accommodation in micro flats which are converted shipping containers for more than 15 residents until they can each move on to a more permanent home.

Catherine Raspail, from Help Bristol's Homeless (HBH), said: "Residents are offered multiple services as well as access to some therapeutic care via the support of a holistic therapist and a nurse based in our Well-Being centre.

"Most residents at HBH have been badly affected by traumas and often have difficulty discussing their mental health needs with a GP or access the relevant services due to their homeless status.

"We aim to bridge that gap by offering them a ‘caring space' where they can be heard and seen. By offering one to one support and a person-centred approach, we want to encourage the residents to take ownership of their physical, emotional and mental health, helping them to move on from criminal behaviour, addiction and homelessness.

"The funding will bring some additional support to residents who attend the Well-Being centre and allow for the offerings to be more diverse, from group gym training sessions, therapeutic touch, mindfulness and compassionate enquiries workshops and more."

Step Together Volunteering provides 1-2-1 and peer support sessions to young people inBristol. Its support is non-time bound, this means it can support young people through all life's ups and downs. The funding from Southern Co-op's Safer Neighbourhood Fund will contribute to the continuation of its ‘Get Growing' allotment project and will allow the group to extend access to the site meaning a greater number of young clients can benefit from support in a nurturing and non-threatening space. 

Claire, allotment volunteer, said: "It is a relaxed environment with lovely and understanding people. I like that we are given the chance to have input in things, like what we grow and what we would like to do throughout our session... I like knowing that if I'm not having such a great day, I can still get out down to the allotment with the understanding that I may have to take things easier."

OtherBristolprojects to receive funding include:

  • Sixty One which runs community-based meeting spaces (Hubs) for ex-prisoners as well as mentoring services. The funding will support four Hubs in central Bristol. One of these Hubs provides support for women ex-prisoners, one is led by a leader from the black community and one is jointly run by ex-prisoners. They are exploring further Hubs, including one with a gardening focus.
  • Innovating Mind which trains facilitators nationally to deliver the trauma informed Healing Together Programme to children and young people. It builds school capacity to deliver training for facilitators to support children traumatised by domestic abuse and the funding will help it build this provision across schools in Bristol and train up facilitators to deliver its trauma informed programme.
  • Young Bristol which runs positive change programmes for vulnerable people aged 12-15 to stop them being drawn into crime and anti social behaviour. This includes week-night youth club sessions and school holiday programmes for young people including vital support, creative activities and sports. The funding will help run two 'Positive Changes' programmes in Ashton Vale and Sea Mills.

InPortsmouth,Portsmouth Mediation Service provides family mediation services and has a mission to help strengthen neighbourhood relationships and build community cohesion through restorative approaches.

The funding will enable them to provide an extra meeting with each family where communication issues are both extremely challenging and are having a significant effect on children.

Hilary Keogh, who along with Chloe Evans helps lead the Portsmouth Mediation Family Service, said: "It's fantastic! This additional funding will help us go the extra mile with hurting and fractured families. Most parents want to do what's right for their children but can get locked in a vicious cycle of poor communication that can quickly escalate. 

"We believe that by drawing on our restorative skills and experience across all types of conflict, we can work with parents to build strategies to vastly improve communication and benefit their children in the short and longer term. We are passionate that these newly funded additional sessions in our family mediation service will help reduce parental conflict and enable our children to thrive."

The other successfulPortsmouthprogramme is Home Start Portsmouth which supports parents through challenging times to build a safe, nurturing and stimulating family life to ensure children have the best start in life. The funding will help to address and take steps to overcome the barriers Home Start Portsmouth faces with recruiting a new and diverse volunteer base, to support the families it already provides services for and families in communities they are yet to reach. It is also planning to provide creche facilities during its volunteer training programme to expand the volunteers opportunities to those with young children.

Natasha Solanki, Fundraising and Communications Manager at Home Start Portsmouth, said: "We are really pleased that we are able receive the funding. It really will make a difference, not only a difference to us as an organisation but to other people to give them opportunities.

"The rise in people needing our help is astronomical with everything that has been happening in the past four years. The need for support for all services like ours is really sad. But we have and want to reach as many families as possible which is why we need to recruit more volunteers to make a difference in children's lives."

InSouthampton, Saints Foundation is using the power of Southampton Football Club to connect with the local community and help people lead happier, healthier and more empowered lives. The funding will support the Saints Switching Play programme, a youth intervention and diversion programme focusing on breaking the cycle of youth violence, whilst providing those aged 14-17 with the tools to thrive within the community and overcome life challenges. The programme is delivered in partnership with the Youth Justice Service and Missing, Exploited and Trafficked team in Southampton.

Fraser Ford, Interventions Coordinator at Saints Foundation, said: "We're delighted to receive funding from the Safer Neighbourhood Fund that supports our work to make the streets of Southampton a safer place for all.

"This funding will allow us to work with young people with complex needs over a greater period of time, reinforcing the positive changes they are making to their lives to break the cycle of youth violence. It's incredibly important that we provide equal opportunities for our young people and find them a safe space in their community with trusted adults."

City Life inSouthamptonsupports vulnerable people, including the homeless, through provision of supported housing, advocacy, befriending, training and development. The funding will help to increase staff time to provide additional dedicated tenant contact time to specifically work on improving wellbeing, mental health and motivation for change, all of which require additional support following the challenges and isolation presented through covid and the current cost of living crisis.

Dan Pooley, Church Leader (Homelessness) at City Life Church, said: "Moving on from homelessness involves more than being given a home to live in.  Relationships and positive community support are vital in helping people develop resilience and to give people a platform for lasting change. 

"We're really grateful for this Safer Neighbourhood Fund grant which will help us increase the amount of face-to-face tenant support we can provide through both staff and volunteers to build community around our tenants and help them leave homelessness behind for good."

OtherSouthamptonprojects to receive funding include:

  • Southampton Street Pastors which provides regular community patrols and pastoral support. Uniformed and trained volunteers offer reassurance, safety and support through listening, caring and helping. The funding will enable the provision of additional patrols supported by relevant training including conflict resolution. They work together with other partners in the night-time economy, schools and communities to make the city safer.
  • Youth Options which delivers a variety of youth-led activities to support children and young people to improve their life opportunities for a better future. It received one of the first Safer Neighbourhood Fund grants and, since then, it has continued to run open access sessions due to its popularity and impact. The current funding is ending in March 2023 so further funding will enable it to continue weekly four-hour sessions over the summer months. 

Whilst the majority of the projects are tackling the causes of crime, inSouth London, the charity stood out for a different reason - supporting those who had been a victim of crime. TRIBE Freedom Foundation works to equip financial institutions and survivor support organisations with the tools needed to empower survivors of modern slavery so that no survivor is barred from essential banking services or re-traumatised as a result of their experiences. With funding from Southern Co-op, the charity can continue to drive improvements in provisions for survivors, ensure that banks across the financial industry are taking steps to support survivor financial well-being and ultimately help empower greater numbers of survivors to thrive.

Laragh O'Malley, Head of Impact and Partnerships at TRIBE Freedom Foundation, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have received funding from Southern Co-op to support the development of the TRIBE Survivor Financial Empowerment Programme - a digital learning platform (online microsite) and industry outreach programme designed to address the gap in financial provisions for survivors of modern slavery as they re-integrate into society.

"Now more than ever, survivors need our support. The number of survivors being rescued and identified in the UK is growing every year. In 2021, a total of 12,727 potential victims of modern slavery were referred to the UK mechanism for identifying and supporting potential victims of modern slavery, representing a 20% increase compared to 2020 and this is just the tip of the iceberg."

To find out more about Southern Co-op and other ways it is tackling crime and supporting local communities, visit

* The overall proven reoffending rate was 24.3% for January to March 2021: