THE Department of Justice has announced the allocation of over £1.8 million of funding under the Assets Recovery Community Scheme (ARCS) to projects aimed at tackling crime and the fear of crime across Northern Ireland.
This takes the total funding support through ARCS to over £5 million since the scheme began in 2012.
The ARCS budget comes from the payment of criminal confiscation orders collected by the courts.
For the first time bids could be made for longer term initiatives up to 31 March 2021. The £1.8 million allocation runs from Dec 2018 to March 2021.
Anthony Harbinson, Director of Safer Communities Department of Justice, said: “I am delighted to announce funding for 50 projects. ARCS funding underpins the Department’s commitment to keeping communities safe, to reducing crime and the fear of crime, and to addressing the underlying causes of offending behaviour.
“The support available through this scheme is the result of the successful prosecution and convictions of criminals. This money will make a real difference in supporting people who want to work for the good of their community.”
Public sector bodies and voluntary and community sector organisations were invited to bid for a share of the fund.
Applicants were required to demonstrate how their proposals would meet the essential ARCS criteria of preventing crime or reducing the fear of crime and how they would directly benefit victims, communities or the environment.
The 50 ARCS projects will help to address a range of issues in support of individuals, families, young people, older people and wider communities across Northern Ireland.
Projects include educating older people about scams, support for offenders, training and mentoring programmes for young people and people with addictions, interventions and diversionary activities for young people and support for law enforcement to deliver community safety awareness and help people feel safer in their homes.
There were 187 applications received for the limited pot of funding.
Some of the groups which were successful included:
- Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership (MEAAP) MEAAP Friends Against Scams
Campaign – Create local business SCAM champions and identify and support
older people at risk of falling victim to scams. £21,844.
- Vineyard Compassion Link to Work Supervised work placements and mentoring for NI Prison Service and Probation Board NI referrals. £93,188.
- The ConservationVolunteers Probation Men’s Shed in Coleraine Training and practical conservation work for Probation Board clients, where other work placements are not suitable – prevent re-offending by offering skills development, sense of being valued and increasing confidence. £4,400.