A cinema which is back in an Anglesey town after over 40 years to help keep local youngsters out trouble has received a boost – thanks to cash confiscated from crooks.
Since it was set up last autumn Grwp Cymunedol #caruamlwch has attracted over 1,000 film fans to its regular screenings at the Memorial Hall in Amlwch.
This includes many young people for whom the pop-up movie sessions have proved a big boredom buster and as a result there’s been a decline in youth-related anti-social behaviour.
Now the popular family film shows are aiming for even bigger audiences with the help of a £2,500 grant from a special fund distributed by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.
The Your Community, Your Choice initiative is also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018.
It is the fifth year of the awards scheme and much of over £160,000 handed out to deserving causes in that time has been recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash seized from offenders with the rest coming from the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The scheme is aimed at organisations who pledge to run projects to tackle anti-social behaviour and combat crime and disorder in line with the priorities in Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan.
This year there are 14 grants totalling almost £40,000 given to support schemes by community organisations with an online vote deciding the successful applicants from among 35 projects submitted and almost 10,000 votes cast.
During the Your Community, Your Choice presentation ceremony at North Wales Police headquarters in Colwyn Bay, Llinos Wyn Williams, chair of the voluntary and not-for-profit Grwp Cymunedol, said: “We’ve had some really good audience figures since was started and welcomed 190 to a showing just before last Christmas.
“The cinema is the first in Amlwch since the local picture house closed over 40 years ago and the phenomenal local response includes many young people.
“We’re seeing a decline in youth-related anti-social behaviour and we’re keen to continue this momentum with our partners in North Wales Police.
“The aim is to show films for all ages including film clubs for young people who can volunteer with marketing and advertising and help during events by selling tickets and refreshments.
“We’re certain the cinema project will work two ways – as a fun and affordable thing to do and to improve their skills, knowledge and confidence.”
Llinos added: “We’ll be using the grant to buy a digital content distributor system through FilmBank at a cost of £1,200 so we can show new films and this will support families who are unable to afford going to cinemas in Llandudno and Holyhead.
“The rest of the money we’ll spend on training our young volunteers in health and safety and safeguarding.”
The other successful group from the county is Anglesey Sports Development which has received £2,500 for its Friday Fitness Scheme.
This aims to involve young people in weekly sports sessions staged at both the David Hughes Leisure Centre in Menai Bridge and Amlwch Leisure Centre where they can take part in activities ranging from football and badminton to circuit training and dance/zumba.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, who jointly presented the awards with Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki, said: “I am delighted that my Your Community Your Choice fund continues to support community projects across north Wales for a sixth consecutive year.
“I recently launched my Social Value Policy which seeks to expand our support to local communities and ‘Your Community Your Choice’ provides me with an opportunity to do just that.
“This unique fund allows our communities to decide which projects should get financial support and the response showed that communities can work together to make our public places safer.
“I have visited a number of last year’s successful projects and have been extremely impressed with the work done to ensure that our communities continue to be some of the safest places to live, work and visit in the UK.
“Delivering Safer Neighbourhoods is one of my key priorities in my Police and Crime Plan and I am delighted that your organisations have developed projects that support this Plan.”
Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki 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.
“This is the fifth year of Your Community Your Choice funding and during this time North Wales Police has recovered £2.3 million of cash and assets with £627,000 coming back to North Wales from the Home Office to support schemes such as this.
“It sends a really positive message that money taken from the pockets of criminals is being recycled. This is turning bad money into good.”
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.”