A team of young volunteers from Prestatyn High School has been set up to carry out community work thanks to cash seized from North Wales’s criminals.
Staff at the school have reported a fantastic response from students keen to get involved with the Young Rangers who have been backed by a £2,500 grant from a special fund drawn from cash confiscated from the area’s crooks.
The money was jointly presented by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones and Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard.
The Your Community, Your Choice initiative 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.
The Young Rangers will get involved in community work outside school hours and will be managed and run by the school’s student liaison officers.
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.
Student Liaison Officer James Williams said: “We want to strengthen the links with the community so that people can see the positive of what our young people can do.
“When we spoke to Year Seven about it we had 30 pupils keen to get involved and that’s happened throughout the school up to Year 12 so the response has been fantastic.
“The money will be to provide materials they need for community projects and to provide them with a uniform.
“The project will teach them new skills as well as develop confidence and self-esteem and will give them an accreditation that will last beyond the project as well as achievement certificates for volunteering.”
Sean Maher, 15, from Prestatyn, is one of the pupils to have signed up and he said: “Sometimes my behaviour hasn’t been too good but Mr Williams has helped me and I think that getting involved with this project will work for me and help others too.”
Denbighshire County’s other successful project was submitted by Corwen Youth Football Club who received £2,500 to upgrade their changing rooms and refreshments area provide a hard standing car park, dugouts at pitchside and a sheltered seating area for spectators.
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.”
PACT chairman David Williams added: “We are delighted that we can assist in the administration of this fund.
“I think the breadth of our grant giving right across North Wales, from the tip of the west to the furthest part of the east, really sends a strong message to communities to access this money, it’s there for them.
“Very appropriately, one of the conditions is that the people who apply for this money have to be doing something that combats anti-social behaviour or addresses crime and disorder in some way.
“The aims Your Community, Your Choice scheme also coincide with the objectives of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan so it creates a virtuous circle.”