Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has announced a funding bonanza for projects which bring communities together and improve them for future generations.
The Commissioner has ring-fenced income derived from criminal acts in 2016-17 under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and will be offering charitable groups and community organisations the opportunity of applying for a cash grant to fund capital projects.
The NICE (Neighbourhoods Investing Criminal Earnings) Fund will come on top of the £275,000 he has pledged annually to support grassroots crime prevention work through his Community Action Grant.
From 1st January 2018, organisations will be able to apply for grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 from the NICE fund.
The Commissioner is keen to fund organisations which can deliver innovative projects that leave a lasting legacy for their communities. He also plans to fund at least one project in each policing area to achieve geographical coverage.
Announcing the fund, Mr Dhindsa said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for voluntary and non-profit making organisations to secure vital funding to enhance community spirit and bring people together as well as improve life for local people.
"We want to hear from organisations which are committed to putting something back into their neighbourhoods and increasing quality of life and wellbeing for those who live there.
"This fund continues to deliver a positive message that crime doesn't pay in Derbyshire. The criminal fraternity should be aware that their ill-gotten gains won't be in their hands for long and that our dedicated POCA officers will be ready to act to recover their illegal profits for the benefit of Derbyshire's law-abiding citizens."
Previously, the fund has supported organisations such as Wilmorton Residents' Association which received £19,500 to purchase and fit metal fencing and metal gates to secure a community garden project created by local volunteers. Friends of New Mills Parks, meanwhile, secured funding for the redevelopment of Bowden Crescent Park in Ollersett, New Mills, to establish a community park for the local community to enjoy.
The Proceeds of Crime Act provides officers with the powers to seize cash and recover the valuable assets that have been bought by criminals through their illegal profits including property, cars and jewellery.
POCA investigations can be complex and lengthy, involving a host of experts from specialist police officers and criminal lawyers to tax investigators. Any income retrieved from criminals is split between the Home Office and the different agencies involved in recovering the money.
Applicants are asked to provide clear evidence of need for the project alongside evidential support from the community set to benefit from it. Organisations bidding for funding must also provide examples of proposed community involvement in the delivery of the project.
The application process will run in three stages. Initially, applicants are invited to complete a detailed proposal form covering evidence of need, costs and timescales. Successful proposals will be shortlisted and invited to submit a full application. Finally, these applications will be reviewed by the Commissioner's officers before Mr Dhindsa makes a final decision on the successful projects at the end of April 2018.
For more information or to apply visit: www.derbyshire-pcc.gov.uk