The ill-gotten gains of criminals will be used to boost the safety of schoolchildren.
Cash seized by the police has been handed over to a Huddersfield-based social enterprise Freedom Personal Safety for its work teaching pupils the dangers of sexual exploitation, grooming, relationship abuse and ‘sexting’.
The group has received £6,000, one of only three Kirklees organisations to be awarded a grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) this August.
The cheque was presented to the charity by commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson and will be used to run safety awareness programmes for girls and boys in high schools across Kirklees.
Director of freedom personal safety Julie Tweedale said: “This funding will enable us to deliver a series of ‘Respect Me Too’ programmes which will reach more young people and help them make safe choices.
“This will build on our previous successful partnership with West Yorkshire Police on the ‘Stay Safe Girls!’ programme, which came about thanks to the Examiner.”
Julie made contact with Pc Sally Baines, following an article in the Examiner about children’s safety, and they realised by working together they could have more impact.
Following the success of their initial programme in Shelley College, Scissett Middle and Kirkburton Middle Schools, awareness of sexual exploitation and relationship abuse increased by 43% and knowledge of where to get help and support increased by 50%.
Julie said she was working with the police to select five schools for the new programme, which will see 20 pupils involved in workshops for six weeks.
Julie added: “At the end of the half-term the children will create an assembly to present to the whole school, using creative skills such as music, drama, photography and film.
“That way they can pass on the messages to all the other pupils.”
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “I am delighted to be able to provide these groups with the money that will allow them to provide an invaluable service to our local communities as funding cuts continue to impact on charities and voluntary groups.
“I am really looking forward to working closely with the groups who are key partners in making our communities safer and feeling safer.
“Every approved application was also looked at by an Independent Advisory Board made up of community safety representatives and those from the voluntary sector whilst meeting a strict criteria to deliver against my Police and Crime Plan.”
The Safer Communities Fund is now accepting applications for the next round of funding and details at www.westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/safer-communities-fund/about-the-fund.aspx