A weekend “safe haven” in Manchester’s gay village and a Prestwich church overnight sleeping accommodation, food and clothing for refugees and asylum seekers sleeping rough on the streets in Manchester are just two of the projects that will benefit from Greater Manchester’s Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd’s £900,000 community chest. 

More than 100 projects have been awarded a pot of money to build strong neighbourhoods, boost volunteering and empower the region’s young people.

A weekend “safe haven” will be installed in Manchester’s gay village to provide a refuge for people who need help in the early hours, thanks to a £5,000 cash boost from Greater Manchester’s Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd.
The haven is just one of more than 100 projects being funded across Greater Manchester from a £900,000 “community chest” Tony has set up.

The “Village Haven” will be piloted for 10 weeks, staffed by a security guard and volunteers. For those people in need of it, staff at the haven will refer them to more long-term support services, such as drug, alcohol or counselling services. The service will be provided by the LGBT Foundation, working in partnership with Serenity Security, an award-winning Manchester-based firm.

Tony said: “Providing this safe space will massively help to reduce the likelihood of people becoming victims – and in some cases perpetrators – of crime. And, rather than simply patching people up and sending them on their way, it will help those people that need it find more long-term support for their issues.”

Paul Martin, Chief Executive, LGBT Foundation: “For most LGBT people, and their friends and allies, the Village is a safe and supportive environment. Unfortunately, as in any night time economy area there are rare occasions in which things may go wrong. In these cases the Village Haven pilot will allow us to provide support to people who have found themselves in a vulnerable position. LGBT Foundation’s team of volunteers will be able to assist people to get home safely, and direct people to more long term support. The Village Haven will help people feel safer on nights out in the Village, and to know where to go if they need support. We are grateful to be able to work with Serenity Security and the Police and Crime Commissioner to help to build a safer, more supportive village environment.”

Open from midnight till 6am, the haven will complement the work being already being done by the Village Angels – a group of volunteers who provide aid and support to people partying in and around the gay village.

Claire Richter from Serenity Security said: “Serenity Security’s primary purpose is to create and maintain safe spaces for people to relax and socialise with their friends while on a night out in Manchester. We are passionate about public safety and strongly believe in treating people with compassion, particularly if they unexpectedly find themselves in a challenging and potentially dangerous situation. Every weekend we see far too many people at serious risk of becoming a victim of crime as a result of their vulnerability. I believed that a Safe Haven was desperately needed to help the amazing Village Angels assist as many vulnerable customers as possible. Together we can do all we can, as a community, to ensure everyone gets home safely from their night out, as well as signposting them with any long term support they may benefit from.”
Heaton Park Methodist Church in Prestwich works with other churches to provide overnight sleeping accommodation, food and clothing for refugees and asylum seekers sleeping rough on the streets in Manchester. It’s to receive £1550 to help transport people from the city centre to the shelter in Bury, providing food, drink, clothing and bedding.

Heaton Park Methodist Church Youth and Community Worker Veronica Earp said: “We know rough sleeping and offending often go hand-in-hand. What the statistics overlook, however, is the crime committed against rough sleepers, which is significant. Rough sleepers are frequently the victims of violence and theft.

“Our team of volunteers are incredibly passionate and dedicated, and work tirelessly to ensure that the funding and support is in place for our work to continue.”

Resolutions provides free mediation services to families in conflict across Wigan and Leigh. They plan to use their grant of £4,980 to provide a mentoring and befriending services to the adults and young people involved, helping them to overcome issues that cannot be solved by mediation alone.

Project Manager Tracey Sheppard said: “This service will help families live happier, healthier and safer lives. People who are happier and more engaged in their communities will be less likely to engage in criminal behaviour. It will reduce people’s isolation and make them less likely targets for certain types of crime.”

Amongst other projects 

Volunteer and Learn (Time2Communities, Bolton) – £4,929 – Funding for volunteers running a helpdesk at Bolton Magistrates Court – a service that provides advice and guidance to vulnerable people passing through the criminal justice system, helping people turn their lives around and reduce repeat offending.

· Empower (Jigsaw, Bury) – £4,835 – Helping disabled people to recognise, report and get help if they are a victim of hate crime.

· What Is Radicalisation? (Local Safeguarding Board, Oldham) – £15,000 – Helping schools engage with young people around ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalisation’ using non-confrontational, age-appropriate tools to broach a difficult topic and encourage discussion.

· Supporting families of sexually exploited children (PACE, Rochdale) – £27,000 – Strengthening the protective resources of families affected by child sexual exploitation, helping parents and carers to counter the influence of abusers over their child, and helping them to leave unhealthy, abusive relationships.

· Youth Leaders’ Programme (Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Salford) – £26,411 – Using sport and dance to engage with young people at risk from offending and provide them with positive alternatives to anti-social behaviour and criminal activity; providing personal development support and career advice to develop their life skills; and encouraging community participation and volunteering activities to help them work towards a youth leader award.

· Loving Heaton Norris (Love Heaton Norris, Stockport) – £4,860 – Helping local people to clean up their community, re-ignite a sense of civic pride and make the area a safer, better place to live.

· Time-2-Talk (Off The Record, Tameside) – £28,000 – Counselling services for children and young people aged 10 to 25 who have been victims of sexual abuse or exploitation. The project will help survivors of abuse to cope and recover from what has happened in a safe, supporting, non-judgmental environment.

· TDAS Women’s Group (TDAS, Trafford) – £4,742 – Supporting vulnerable women from hard-to-reach communities who are escaping domestic violence and abuse.

· Volunteer Mentoring/Befriending Service (Resolutions, Wigan) – £4980 – Supporting families in conflict who are taking part in mediation services, by providing mentoring/befriending services to the adults and young people involved.


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