Residents in Speke had the final say in how £26,000 of money seized from criminals will be spent in their community.
Merseyside Police has worked with South Liverpool Homes (SLH) and Onward Homes on a pilot programme which is being funded by the Home Office to address issues in areas affected by serious and organised crime.
Speke is one of just five areas in the country chosen to receive the funding, and on Saturday (9 March) 29 groups in the area got the chance to bid for a share of up to £2,000 of the cash by presenting their case to local residents.
The attendees then casted their votes on how the money would most benefit the local community.
The money, seized as cash and ill-gotten gains from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), is being used to help generate a sustainable environment for the local community by reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.
The programme, locally named as ‘Speke Up’, kick-started with a World Café consultation event, which was attended by more than 70 residents last November.
The consultation gave residents the chance to voice their opinions about community issues and make their own decisions about how best to spend the £26,000 to resolve the issues raised.
Community Inspector Paul Holden: "This is a fantastic idea which is a win-win for all involved. It gives much needed funding to those good people who lead projects in the Speke community and are passionate about improving the area, and it gives the wider community the opportunity to have a say on where exactly they feel that money would be best spent. It has also enabled the groups to network and help each other in all sorts of ways.
“For us as a police force, we have been able to engage with a large number of community groups in Speke with links to people of all ages and backgrounds, which is vital in helping us spread the messages of advice and reassurance around the crimes that people are concerned about.
"It is great that police, via the Home Office, are in a position to support the efforts of these groups and all the more satisfying to think that the money has been taken from those people who cause harm in our communities.”
Julie Marsh, Director of Neighbourhood Management at SLH said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local residents to directly effect change themselves. All bids must have a connection to preventing, reducing or addressing crime in the area. This programme gives people the opportunity to decide how the money seized from criminal activity is re-invested back into the community.
“Delivering this programme has helped build on the positive relationships between the police, partner agencies and local residents; working together to strengthen community cohesion and create a sustainable environment.”