Youth funding packs a punch
A million pounds of crooks' money will be distributed between more than 230 youth projects right across Scotland, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced today.
Mr MacAskill made the announcement at Holyrood Amateur Boxing Club, one of the successful applicants for a share of Round Three CashBack for Communities YouthLink Scotland funding - money seized from organised crime gangs but returned to communities to encourage healthy activities.
Like all the successful projects, the boxing club, which will receive £2,834, provides diversionary activities aimed at channelling young people's energy into productive pursuits.
Mr MacAskill said:
"Organised crime brings misery to individuals and communities. It is only right therefore that their ill-gotten gains are put to use in improving lives.
"Thanks to this funding, more than 230 projects the length and breadth of Scotland have been able to offer a range of healthy opportunities to young people. Whether it be boxing here in Edinburgh, skateboarding in the Highlands, or music projects in North Lanarkshire, these grants offer young people the chance to get off street corners and into enjoyable, healthy activities.
"These projects demonstrate to young people that there is more to life than petty crime and getting out of your head on drink and drugs. The benefits to the young people are clear - and the benefits are felt in the wider community.
"We are committed to CashBack for Communities - investment in our young people and their communities will always be money well spent."
Jim Sweeney, Chief Executive of YouthLink Scotland, which selects the successful projects, said:
"It is particularly heartening at this time of financial cutbacks to be able to help so many local groups and projects via CashBack. We hope it will continue and increase as its impact pound for pound represents tremendous value for money.
"CashBack for Communities has opened doors to programme expansion for so many groups who were operating on a shoe string, the enthusiasm shown by young people and those who work with them who have received funding is infectious and refreshing.
"This round of CashBack has seen so many new groups apply and we are delighted to see the money spread right across the country. We hope this funding stream has more than proved its worth over the past two years."
YouthLink Scotland, through CashBack for Communities, has been tasked with leading a £4 million grants programme, which supports a range of activities for young people. The previous two rounds have distributed £3 million to successful projects, and this third round distributes a further £1 million with the maximum grant capped at £10,000 to maximise the number of projects which can benefit.
CashBack for Communities is a programme of diversionary activities for young people to increase the opportunities they have to develop their interests and skills in an enjoyable, fulfilling and supported way. Using funds recovered from the proceeds of crime, the Scottish Government has committed to investing over £13 million in a range of CashBack projects for young people.
A range of free activities for young people can be found at www.youngscotwow.org