Northamptonshire faith and community organisations awarded funding to deliver enterprising community safety solutions

The Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) is delighted to announce it has awarded 15 faith organisations grants to deliver enterprising community safety solutions following its first Championing Change Business Academy held in conjunction with the University of Northampton recently.

A total of 20 organisations attended the academy where they received expert guidance from the University of Northampton’s Business School across six days on how to build competency, capacity and self-sufficiency in order to effectively deliver against objectives of increasing community safety and decreasing crime.

Following the presentation of business plans to a multi-agency investment panel chaired by the OFBCI and made up of representatives from the police force, fire service and the Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice, 15 of the 20 organisations were subsequently awarded £82,350 of public funding between them to help tackle crime and safety issues in their communities, which will be achieved through interventions that increase young people’s positive behaviour, help them to remain in school and give them skills to increase their employability.

Those 15 organisations will this month enter the Change Maker Delivery Program which will see them receive ongoing business development support from the University of Northampton, including research support and advice on how to evidence the social impact they are making on the lives of young people and their local communities.

A further five organisations have been offered places on the second phase of the Academy, which will help set- out effective strategies and give assistance in applications to apply for a second round of funding, with the OFBCI having set aside up to £37,650 of investment for those organisations that show they can produce tangible results in decreasing crime and increasing public safety in their areas of residence.

Helen Boardman, Director of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, said:

“We designed the Championing Change Business Academy because many community-based organisations told us they wanted to help Northamptonshire Police to keep their communities safe and free of crime, and were looking for a means of delivering this.

“The feedback provided by organisations who have participated in the Championing Change Business Academy has been overwhelmingly positive and this is due to the high quality of bespoke course developed and delivered by the University of Northampton.

“A number of people and organisations from across the county remain hard to reach and I’m delighted to be able to work with these groups to make a difference to their communities.

“We hope to be able to put on similar initiatives in the future to an even wider range of community and faith-based groups.”

Wray Irwin, Head of the University of Northampton Centre for Employability and Engagement, added:

“The change programme has been a dynamic new way of engaging faith based and community organisations in the development of their organisations; access funding, and increase their impact within the community. Those organisations who took part represented a cross section of the community and as a result produced some interesting and innovative insights and initiatives to move forward.

“As funding becomes harder to obtain, initiatives like the OFBCI Change programme will provide an increasingly important route to developing community led responses to address in unmet needs, and the University is delighted to be collaborating on this ground breaking initiative.”

Simon Edens, Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, commented:

“I’m delighted this initiative has brought forward so many excellent applicants from faith groups across the county, all with a shared aim of helping to protect communities from harm and promote positive behaviour in our young people.”