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Cash recovered from criminals will support the vulnerable

9 Jul 2019

Cash recovered from criminals will be used to support disadvantaged or troubled families and other vulnerable people across Cambridgeshire. 

Various churches across the county have been awarded £2,000 each thanks to Proceeds of Crime Act funding and a scheme by Cinnamon Network – a registered charity. 

The partnership between the force and the charity allows the churches to start projects addressing community issues. 

As of January 2020, four Cambridge churches will run the Kids Matter project which supports disadvantaged or troubled families through a parenting programme. 

This project also supports work by officers to tackle Serious Street Based Violence (SSBV), a force priority aimed at addressing the county’s knife concerns and preventing young people from carrying weapons or becoming victims of criminal exploitation. 

The Kids Matter project provides early intervention for families with children who are at future risk of engaging in SSBV, as well as families at risk of breakdown or worse. 

The project will be run by St Barnabas Church in Mill Road, St John the Evangelist in Hills Road, St James in Wulfstan Way and St Andrew’s Church in Cherry Hinton. 

Volunteers will deliver six-week courses and work together with local children's centres, schools and GP surgeries, from whom referrals are made to the programme.  

As of 1 August, the Open Door Church in Peterborough will run the Hope into Action project providing housing and community for vulnerable rough sleepers. 

The church has purchased a house and is now working to provide accommodation for prison leavers and those struggling with homelessness, addictions and domestic violence. 

Aside from helping tenants to develop practical life skills, volunteers are trained to provide care, friendship and emotional support.  

The project will work with seven people during the first year and it is hoped will continue beyond that.

In the coming months the Chatteris Parish Church will run the Intentional Health project to improve the health of individuals and communities.  

Volunteers are trained to provide a 10-session programme that helps people address factors impacting their health, together with destructive behaviours such as alcohol and drug abuse. 

The project develops relationships with GP surgeries, family centres, council services and the police, who refer and promote the project.  

Inspector Paul Rogerson said: “Proceeds of Crime Act hearings demonstrate that crime doesn’t pay and furthermore, schemes like this highlight what that money then goes towards. 

“The projects soon to be carried out by these churches across Cambridgeshire support a number of force priorities – from Serious Street Based Violence to child exploitation and Domestic Abuse. 

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with local churches and Cinnamon Network to support vulnerable people within the community and address some of the root causes of crime.” 

Mike Royal, Co-CEO of Cinnamon Network, said: “We are living in a time of great social need and many families and individuals require help and support to avoid crisis and poverty.   

“This partnership seeks to build on the immense contribution that faith groups make to civic society.

"By providing churches with a combination of expert advice and practical support to start projects, we hope to make a lasting difference in the lives of the most marginalised and vulnerable.  

“The prospect of churches, the police and other community stakeholders working together is tremendously exciting, and I look forward to seeing the impact this partnership will have in Cambridgeshire.”  

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