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Justice Minister announces £315,000 for community projects

Justice Minister David Ford today joined a number of young people for a walk in the Mournes as he announced funding for community projects.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Minister of Justice David Ford MLA

Mourne Mountain Adventure (MMA) is just one of the 28 projects benefiting from the latest round of funding from the Asset Recovery Community Scheme.

The project helps emergency services to develop and build the capacity of young people, often from hard to reach areas, during a day of challenging outdoor pursuits in the Mournes. MMA received £7,500 to purchase GPS tracker equipment in order to increase the number of teams who can take part – allowing up to 600 young people from across Northern Ireland to participate.

Another Newry and Mourne Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) supported project, the Derrybeg Community Association, were also in attendance.

The Association received over £5,800 for their Mountain Bike project which aims to engage youth.

David Ford said: “It gives me great pleasure to visit projects such as this. Mourne Mountain Adventure provides young people, from a range of backgrounds, with the opportunity to take part in a day of fun, adventure and challenge in the beautiful setting of the Mournes. The day is intentionally taxing, presenting young people with stimulating challenges to build their resilience, leadership and team building skills.

“Importantly, the project provides a unique way for emergency services to engage at risk or hard to reach youth or those who have been involved in anti-social behaviour and criminal damage. Feedback from the PSNI and the Fire and Rescue Service shows the project is proving to be extremely helpful in building relationships and respect between the emergency services and young people, ultimately leading to a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour.

“I welcomed the opportunity to put on my walking boots and join Mourne Mountain Adventure and get a taster of the experience they offer to many young people.”

The Asset Recovery Community Scheme is funding that comes from assets seized from criminals. It is distributed by the Department of Justice to projects which aim to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime.

David Ford continued: “This tranche of funding represents £315,000 out of the hands of criminals and in to the community. It will make a real difference in supporting those who want to do good for the community instead of inflicting such harm and fear. Since the beginning of the Asset Recovery Community Scheme some £1.7 million has been distributed to community projects across Northern Ireland.”

Other projects benefiting include those tackling the issue of drugs and alcohol, and those providing early intervention and diversionary activities for young people as well as projects helping to make older people feel safer in their homes. Each of the projects have the common aim of making Northern Ireland a safer place for everyone.

Mayor of the Newry and Mourne District Council, Councillor Michael Ruane said: “I am delighted that three projects in Newry and Mourne will benefit from the Asset Recovery Community Scheme funding which will support initiatives that challenge and develop our young people. Of course, these projects would not be possible without the many volunteer leaders who continuously give of their time in their communities to develop these projects and ultimately make Newry and Mourne a better place to live."

Notes to editors:

  1. A full copy of list of the successful recipients is available from the Department’s website.
  2. Mourne Mountain Adventure is a project run jointly by the Newry and Mourne PCSP, Down PCSP, NI Fire and Rescue Service, PSNI, Ministry of Defence, Community Rescue Service and Mourne Underwater Search Team.
  3. MMA place teams referred from PSNI, NI Fire and Rescue Service and the PCSP, it also allocates spaces to Duke of Edinburgh Teams, Scout Groups etc to experience a unique and challenging day.
  4. Recovering criminal assets is an important focus of the Organised Crime Task Force’s work. Previously the Home Office retained 50% of all criminal assets recovered but following devolution, Justice Minister David Ford negotiated this money for Northern Ireland. The other 50% continues to be distributed to agencies responsible for the recovery of the assets.
  5. It is difficult to predict the level of funding that will be available in the future given changes year to year of assets recovered. The amount distributed each year will therefore vary.
  6. All media enquires should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.