Home Community and neighbourhoods Organisations given thousands to crackdown on organised crime in Knowsley

Organisations given thousands to crackdown on organised crime in Knowsley

by Jonathan Kearney

Twenty organisations have been given thousands of pounds in funding to help crackdown on serious and organised crime in parts of Liverpool and Knowsley.

More than 45 clubs and groups with initiatives to support people living and working in the EVOLVE areas of Dovecot, Longview, Yew Tree, Huyton and immediate surrounding areas applied for a share of the £100,000 funding pot at a participatory budget event at Croxteth Hall on Saturday (June 24, 2023).

Following a selection process, 30 organisations attended the ‘Live Now’ participatory budget event, which was opened by Chief Constable Serena Kennedy, and pitched for funding in a Dragon’s Den style to residents who voted for projects they felt would have the biggest impact in their community.

Projects had to benefit the EVOLVE Liverpool-Knowsley area and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Reduce or address crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Protect vulnerable people from becoming victims of crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Support victims of crime or anti-social behaviour
  • Tackle County Lines

The £100,000 funding pot was provided by Mersey Care, Liverpool City Council, Knowsley Council, One Knowsley, the Steve Morgan Foundation, Riverside Housing and Merseyside Police’s Community Cashback Fund, which helps fund community projects across Merseyside using cash seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Sergeant Nicola Parsons, who is from the EVOLVE policing team and helped organise the event, said: “It was wonderful to have seen such enthusiasm from everyone involved in ‘Live Now’ and to be able to give money that has been partly seized from criminals to organisations that want to help reduce crime and rebuild communities that have suffered at the hands of gangs.

“The event falls within one of the main objectives of EVOLVE which is to see police, councils, the health service, fire service, housing associations, schools, community organisations and charitable groups working together with residents to improve areas where gangs and their reckless activities have ruined lives and to give people living in those communities hope for the future.

“‘Live Now’ has helped to support local groups to provide activities and resources that will ultimately assist to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, tackle County Lines, protect vulnerable people and help reduce recruitment to gangs.

“I also want to give special thanks to the Rapid Relief Team who donated and provided delicious food at the event.”

Live Now is one of many initiatives taking place in the Dovecot, Longview, Yew Tree and Huyton areas following the launch of EVOLVE to disrupt and deter gangs from operating and to make the areas places people love to live, work and visit.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, added: “People should not have to live with the fear of organised crime disrupting their lives.

“This funding will help empower local organisations to make a difference in their communities.  It is so important that it is the local community who have decided how the funding will be used because we want the successful projects to deliver a legacy that will benefit everyone, particularly more vulnerable members of society.

“The resources available and the activities that will be delivered will assist in reducing organised crime, help create stronger, more resilient communities and ultimately improve the lives of people living in our communities.”

There are currently three EVOLVE projects in Merseyside – one in parts of Liverpool and Knowsley, one in Birkenhead and the other in Netherton.

Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “It’s so encouraging to see how residents and community groups in Liverpool and Knowsley are coming together to make their communities safer and better places to live.

“This participatory budget event really involves and inspires residents to help to establish what their local priorities are, as well as shaping and delivering the initiatives they want to invest in to build a brighter future.

“By working in tandem with Merseyside Police and partners, EVOLVE is demonstrating how communities are refusing to be intimidated by the heartless criminal that would seek to blight their areas.

“By strengthening community resilience and empowering residents, we will help make these areas places that people love to live.”

Programme Manager at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust Zoran Blackie, who compered the event, said: “It was my privilege to share the excitement of all the great projects pitching to their peers at the Live Now event.

“While the funding will help local groups to make a difference in the short term, the relationships and connections made on the day will support community action for this area into the future.

“Even those who may not have got their projects funded are invited to work together with all the successful groups to share resources, collaborate on bids and open up opportunities, especially for some who have felt forgotten. These passionate people deserve all the support in building communities.”

The runners-up on the day all also received £500 in seed funding to help them grow their projects.

Racheal Jones, CEO of One Knowsley, added: “The level of commitment by local community organisations has been reflected in the attendance at the community cafés that took place in local venues across the area in the build up to participatory budget event on Saturday.

“The cafés provided great opportunities for rich local discussions and connections to take place which has clearly resulted in the quality of proposals that we saw at the event.

“It is our hope that this process delivers projects that meet the needs of the local community, fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility among the community, and creates a lasting and meaningful impact.”

The organisations that were chosen to win their bids were as follows:

  • 1913 Squadron Air Cadets
  • Act for Action
  • Activate
  • Apollo Sports Club
  • Aurtistic
  • Deysbrook Village Centre
  • Dylan’s Skate Park
  • Evolving Mindset
  • Friends of Jubilee Park
  • KABS
  • M-Crew
  • Make Dovecot Clean Again
  • Molly McStein’s Dovecot Boxing
  • See You See Me
  • Smarty’s
  • St Luke and St Judes
  • The Drive
  • Together We’re Stronger
  • Wellness Arts
  • YPAS North