Youth Footballers to get new changing rooms with cut of cash seized from North Wales criminals

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Denbighshire Free)

Criminal activity has helped to fund a project to upgrade junior football facilities in a Denbighshire town – but it’s all above board.

Corwen Youth Football Club has won a £2,500 grant from a special fund drawn from cash confiscated from the area’s criminals.

The money was jointly presented by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner and football fan Arfon Jones and Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard.

The Your Community, Your Choice initiative - otherwise known as the Participatory Budgeting Scheme – is also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT).

Much of the money was recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash seized from offenders with the rest coming from the Police and Crime Commissioner.

It is one of 15 grants totalling over £40,000 given to support schemes by community organisations with an online vote deciding the successful applicants and almost 10,000 votes cast.

In Corwen, volunteers plan to upgrade the two old portable cabins which act as changing rooms, storage and tea-making facilities but are badly in need of a refit.

They intend to turn one into proper changing rooms by insulating, lighting and heating it, installing seating and painting it inside and out while the second will be split into a storage area and a kitchen for serving refreshments.

Their ambitious scheme also involves providing a hard standing car park, dugouts at pitchside and a sheltered seating area for spectators.

Paul Anyon, vice-chairman of Corwen Community Council, said: “We have over 140 young people aged from five to 16 playing every week and two of our Under-16 girls are in the Welsh squad.

“This grant is very important to us as we’re attracting children from beyond Corwen and we have lots of parents supporting them and this money will help us really improve the facilities for them.”

Denbighshire County’s other successful project was submitted by Prestatyn High School who have been given £2,500 to introduce a team of Young Rangers to work in the community after school hours.

Their work will help young people gain valuable skills, give something back into the community and keep them positively active to help tackle the risk of Anti-social behaviour, becoming Excluded or NEET and Offending.

The Young Rangers will be managed and run by the Student Liaison Officers at Prestatyn High School and adult volunteers to help build a network within the community as the project develops. There will be a maximum of six young people to one adult leader and will be in various areas around Prestatyn and the local community of Denbighshire.

The project will be able to teach the young people new skills as well as develop confidence and self-esteem and will give them real life transferable skills and an accreditation that will last beyond the project.

The Young Rangers will also receive achievement certificates for volunteering and their time given will lead to rewards such as high street vouchers and school equipment.

This will show that hard work and determination pays off underpinning a working ethos that will be needed when they leave school and gain employment.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, who jointly presented the awards with Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard, said: “I was delighted when I took office this year that I was able to continue the good work of the Your Community, Your Choice fund and support community projects across North Wales.

“This unique fund allows our communities to decide which projects should get financial support, and I would like to thank all of this year applicants who submitted innovative and interesting projects, and for the public for taking part in the decision-making through our on-line voting system.

“This year 29 projects went forward to the public vote and almost 10,000 votes were cast and that response demonstrated to me that communities can work together to make our public places safer.

“Community groups such as yours are vital to the citizens of north Wales and in helping to ensure that our communities continue to be some of the safest places to live, work and visit in the UK.”

Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard said: “The funding which you have received has been made available by the Police and Crime Commissioner and through assets seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

“This is a particularly vital message as, through the professionalism of North Wales Police Officers and with the support of the Courts, we are able to hit the criminals where it hurts – in their pockets.

“Operation Scorpion aims to target all types of serious crime and to date it has recovered £1.3m worth of cash and assets and almost £300,000 worth of illegal drugs and ensured that 87 criminals are spending over 350 years behind bars.

“Money confiscated from these criminals is now helping to support communities such as yours.

“Every day our work involves working closely with communities and organisations across the whole of North Wales, and it is vital that these strong ties and links continue so that we can continue to make North Wales a safer place.”

See full story in the Free Press

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