On the evening of Thursday 19th January, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin, attended the recruitment event for a new initiative that’s aiming to support vulnerable people in the night-time economies of Rhyl, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno. The Street Angels project is set to launch at Easter, and the event at Antioch Colwyn Bay in Station Road saw around 30 potential volunteers attend an open evening with Street angels Founder Paul Blakey MBE to learn more about the plans and training on offer, ask questions, and to see how they can get involved.
Street Angels are local volunteers who offer support to people on a night out, such as a listening ear, pairs of flip-flops to those unable to walk in uncomfortable shoes, low level first aid and items and advice to help prevent anti-social behaviour. The need for Street Angels in the area was identified at a meeting in Towyn in September 2022 and the project will be organised across the three towns by ROC (Redeeming Our Communities). Funding for the project has come from the Commissioner’s Innovate to Grow initiative, which helps support new and innovative ways of solving the problems that can often lead to criminal behaviour in communities. The money will go towards training, equipping, and administering the Angels as the project gets underway.
Andy Dunbobbin, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales commented: “It was great to hear more about ROC Street Angels’ plans to offer support to people in Rhyl, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno. Hospitality and the night-time economy is vital to our local area, but it’s important that people are able to enjoy themselves in a safe and secure way and I am certain ROC Street Angels will help to keep vulnerable members of the community out of harm’s way on a night out.
“I am determined to help support exciting, innovative and rewarding projects to help tackle crime across the region. To do this, we need to invest in the community-level projects that are thinking and acting in different ways to stop offences happening. ROC Street Angels put forward a strong and ambitious proposal around how they wish to make a difference and support communities in North Wales. A good way to do this is by preventing crimes happening in the first place. Offering support to people on a night out in the way that the Street Angels do can be a way of ensuring they don’t encounter any crime later on while in a vulnerable or distressed state. I would like to congratulate them on their success in obtaining funding through the Innovate to Grow initiative.
“My Police and Crime Plan commits to delivering safer neighbourhoods in North Wales, to supporting victims and communities, and to ensuring a fair and effective criminal justice system for all. I’d encourage any organisation that thinks they fit the criteria of Innovate to Grow to get in touch and apply, so that they can act with us to build on their good work and deliver the safer and more secure North Wales we all wish to see.”
Paul Blakey MBE, the founder of Street Angels, said, "Street Angels started in 2005 in Halifax as a response to needs and issues on Friday and Saturday nights in the town centre. Within twelve months there was a reduction in violent crime of 42% and Street Angels quickly became a model of best practice that has inspired over one hundred local projects working on the streets, inside pubs and clubs, at music festivals, within communities and through chaplaincy. Street Angels is a response to local issues with the church and community working together to offer a practical front-line response."
Chief Inspector Jeff Moses from the Local Policing Senior Management Team at North Wales Police commented: “The Street Angels scheme has clear benefits in keeping our streets safer and also in making people feel safer, which is important. We happen to have one of the lowest crime rates in the UK but every incident of crime or anti-social behaviour on our streets creates victims, and the damaging effects can be significant to those people. The scheme will help us to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and will reduce the number of offenders coming into the criminal justice system. We are grateful to the Police and Crime Commissioner for allocating grant money to enable the set-up of the scheme.”
The Innovate to Grow funding initiative complements the priorities within the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan, as well as his Community Oriented Police Service (COPS) approach to serve all communities across North Wales. Examples of projects eligible for Innovate to Grow support include those covering youth services, early intervention, and adverse childhood experiences; drug, alcohol and substance misuse services; and organisations working to combat domestic abuse, sexual violence, and violence against women and girls. The important thing is that they offer new and innovative ways of solving the problems that can often lead to criminal behaviour.
Andy Dunbobbin has allocated £100,000 to Innovate to Grow to support projects for up to one year, with the main focus being on innovation. A maximum of £5,000 is available for each project; however, should the project be delivered across two or more counties, a maximum of £10,000 will be offered.
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be not-for-profit and must complete a business plan. The plan must align to one of the Commissioner’s policing priorities. All organisations also need to ensure they have a Welsh Language, Equal Opportunities and Social Value policy in place and show how they will be integrating these areas into the delivery of the project.
For further information on the Innovate to Grow project and how to apply, visit the OPCC website.
More information on Street Angels can be found at www.streetangels.org.uk/angylionystryd
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