Community groups in North Wales are being urged to bid for a slice of a special £25,000 fund set up to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a crime-fighting charity.
Since being established in 1998 the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) has given more than £2 million towards local initiatives across the region – appropriately, much of it cash seized from criminals and recycled for the public good.
The organisation works closely with North Wales Police’s neighbourhood policing teams, particularly the network of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).
Its main focus is to provide funding to community and voluntary groups for schemes that improve people’s quality of life by reducing crime and the fear of crime.
PACT is now inviting bids for grants up to £2,500, with the window for applications opening on May 29 and it’s open until the final deadline on June 30.
Over the past quarter of a century projects in every single county in North Wales have benefited from funding.
They include the pioneering Justice in a Day drama workshops with schools across the region, giving young people a taste of how the criminal justice system works and the devastating effect crime can have on families and the community.
Also among the recipients were boxing clubs in Bangor, Caernarfon and Llangefni, while the Rhyl Raptors wheelchair basketball team were also cock a hoop with the financial help while Denbigh in Bloom volunteers and the Kind Bay initiative in Colwyn Bay were thrilled with the support they received.
In North East Wales, football clubs like Wrexham Inclusion FC and Coedpoeth United Under-12 Falcons have been helped to achieve their goals, as has the Cobra Life martial arts academy in Shotton.
PACT chair Ashley Rogers said: “We wanted to do something special to mark this momentous milestone in PACT’s history.
“We have supported or co-funded 2,500 projects in the last 25 years, working closely with North Wales Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner and grassroots organisations across the region.
“Our success is very much a testament to all the hard work that takes place at local level in our communities throughout North Wales.
“Given the nature of what we do, it’s very appropriate that a good portion of our funding comes from the ill-gotten gains of criminals seized via the Proceeds of Crime Act.
“In some senses, the benefits are intangible because you never know what might have happened without PACT’s contribution but we can be confident that the communities of North Wales are safer places because of it.
“Two years ago we commissioned an impact study in which the findings were overwhelmingly positive, with 94% of projects reporting improved community relations following PACT support, 98% of projects positively impacting on policing priorities and 92% of respondents believing the wider community had benefitted from the intervention they had delivered through the charity.
“Meanwhile, 75% of those interviewed said their projects would either not have happened or happened on a smaller scale without PACT.
“In a nutshell, we are making a real and positive difference to communities across North Wales and that is a source of great pride to everybody involved in PACT.
“I would urge community groups and organisations across North Wales to get their bids to the silver jubilee fund so that we can kickstart the next 25 years of combating crime and making North Wales an even safer place to live, work and visit.
North Wales Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman took up her post last autumn and is already a big fan of PACT.
She said: “PACT is a critical way of being able to support our local communities and fund initiatives that are a force for good in those communities.
“Catching criminals is an important part of our job at North Wales Police but preventing crime from happening in the first place is also a major priority and PACT makes a significant contribution in this regard.
“The fact that we are working with grassroots groups means we are responding to the wishes and needs of those communities and helps build trust in policing.”
“It’s a fantastic scheme and using the proceeds of crime means we are turning bad money into something good, so long may it continue.”
Project manager Dave Evans has been working with PACT since 2004 and has played a key role in its success.
He said: “Whilst we’re proudly celebrating our past achievements, our eyes are firmly focused on the future and the purpose of the £25,000 anniversary fund is to maintain our momentum as we look forward to what PACT can do for North Wales in the next 25 years.
“The world has changed a lot since PACT was founded with the advent of the internet, mobile phones and the rest of the tech revolution which has probably made it harder to create safer, sustainable communities so there now an even greater need for what we do.
“Many of the projects that we support have an active involvement and engagement with the local neighbourhood policing teams, particularly PCSOs, who are on the front line.
“They’re a vital network in terms of introducing community groups to us and particularly helping groups that help North Wales Police to make our communities better places to live.
“We are encouraging community organisations to apply for funding for projects that will have a positive impact, particularly those which have a long-term vision reflecting the rich diversity of our area and work in collaboration with others to prevent problems occurring.
“We are looking for bids that aim to support, encourage and deliver safe sustainable and inclusive communities across North Wales.”