Funds helps to keep communities safer during Covid-19 pandemic

Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane has responded to communities in need during the pandemic by setting up a Covid-19 Keeping Communities Safer Fund.

Through the Fund, the Commissioner has awarded grants to initiatives across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton ranging from tech and subscriptions to enable online counselling and support to the vulnerable, to security systems for buildings currently standing empty, to materials for a social distancing poster project with young people.

To date the Commissioner has awarded 36 grants under his Covid-19 Keeping Communities Safer Fund totalling over £12,300, with a further 24 applications in the pipeline which are expected to take the total invested close to the current fund limit of £25k.

Michael Lane said: “I have been overwhelmed by the number of applications received from organisations across Hampshire the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton, and have been delighted with the enthusiasm and initiative people across all our communities are showing during this time.

“Having the right resources at the right time to enable those people supporting our communities to do so is essential. The Covid-19 Keeping Communities Safer Fund aimed to do exactly that – provide funding quickly to help to support communities as they work together to be safer during this time.”

Projects on the Isle of Wight include:

  • ·Suicide Prevention and Intervention IOW The loss of income and a down turn in businesses along with the loneliness that people are experiencing as a result of the pandemic could cause increases in depression, addictions and suicide. A £500 grant has been awarded to pay for a new laptop to ensure another member of the team is available to answer online chats and help people cope with the impact of the pandemic and on their mental health.
  • Federation of Shalfleet & Yarmouth CE Primary Schools £500 to enable the most vulnerable children to access online learning from home, using fit for purpose, protected equipment to embed their previous learning from class and aid future learning.
  • Network Ryde (Virtual Youth Club) has put together a ‘Virtual Youth Club’ programme aiming to keep young people engaged and involved in daily activities. Their grant will pay for materials for street art project which requires the young people to create posters or artwork about social distancing. By providing this activity it will give the young people something positive to do at home whilst in lockdown and also help them to understand the importance of why we are socially distancing.

· Citizens Advice Isle of Wight has seen an increase in the numbers of people needing their support since the pandemic. A grant of £348 has been awarded for two mobile phones and contracts, to enable their volunteer Advisers to work from home to be able to give advice and support to those who need it most

The fund is part of a wider package of support for communities and service providers that the Commissioner has developed to help protect the vulnerable, support victims and reduce offending during the pandemic and beyond.