Seized criminal assets could help Hull communities

Hull North MP Diana Johnson today encouraged Hull community groups to bid for their share of a quarter of a million pound fund, made up with assets seized from criminals.

The latest round of the Connected Fund has been launched by Home Office Minister Hazel Blears to support local projects tackling gun and knife crime in the areas worst affected by these problems.

The scheme is part of the Government's drive to channel the proceeds of crime back into communities. It will kick-start new initiatives and support ongoing local schemes, such as sport and music activities, to help young people break away from gang culture, as well as supporting victims and mentoring projects.

Under the first round of the Connected Fund, Hull's Thoresby Centre received assistance to run play and learning workshops for 8-13 year olds about the negative impact of guns.

Applications for grants of up to £5,000 are invited under the latest round of the Connected Fund. The closing date for bids is 16 December 2005.

Diana Johnson MP said: "I would urge community groups in Hull to bid for this money to help them with their work in fighting the scourge of knives and guns."

Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said: "Communities are at the heart of the fight against gun and knife crime. The Connected Fund is a unique, simple source of funding targeted at the areas suffering particular problems with gun and knife crime, which groups can access with the minimum of bureaucracy. It means that small community groups are not prevented from doing valuable work for the want of a small amount of funding.

"It supports the vital work of local projects that are helping to tackle gun and knife crime, such as working with young people at risk of being drawn into gun crime and gangs, working with schools and providing support for victims. Seizing criminals' ill-gotten gains and ploughing the proceeds straight back into communities and crime-busting local projects is part of the Government's drive to rebalance the criminal justice system in favour of victims and communities, and to refocus the system on its basic purpose - to cut crime."