Young people from across the county were invited by the new Police and Crime Commissioner to help decide on youth projects to receive a slice of £28,000 funding – and Youth Voices Bedford were among the recipients.
PCC Festus Akinbusoye and chief executive, Clare Kelly, were joined online on Tuesday (18 May) by students from Bedford Academy and Denbigh High School to discuss improved spaces for young people in Bedfordshire.
In one of his first actions as the new PCC, Commissioner Akinbusoye said: “One of the best things decision-makers can do is to empower the people they are trying to support.
“I offered the chance to our young people to make decisions on behalf of their generation and they did not disappoint. They worked together and showed decisiveness as they worked through carefully all the options we gave them.”
Council leaders from across Bedfordshire were invited to bid into the Commissioner’s £28,000 Youth Spaces Fund. Bids were encouraged to either make spaces safer or to provide safe spaces to go to for young people.
Over £40,000 worth of bids were received so the young people from Denbigh High, Bedford Academy and Shefford based Youth Involvement were asked to work together on analysing the bids and deciding where the money should be allocated.
The funding is thanks to the Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) grant that was won this year.
Project manager for the VERU, Kimberley Lamb, arranged for the young people to support the Commissioner with this important spend as it fits well with the VERU ethos of empowering our young people.
Chief executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Clare Kelly said: “The care and diligence the young people gave to this process should be applauded.
“I think the schools involved have done a fantastic job in supporting their young people and I am grateful to them for giving us this precious time in what we understand is a busy educational day.
“Although the session was designed to share knowledge with the students, I have to say we learned a lot from them as well.”
One of the winning bids was from Youth Voices Bedford to provide a safe space to access during the summer holidays. It would be run alongside Youth Voices’ Town Turnover programme.
The winners will receive the money in the next few weeks so they can move forward with developing these youth spaces for the young people of Bedfordshire.
- Update: After publication of the winning bids the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) received information that has resulted in the withdrawal of funds to this specific project.