Giving Back to Garston winners announced as schoolchildren have their say

Eleven organisations have been given thousands of pounds in funding to deliver youth engagement projects in Garston.

At an event at The Academy of St Nicholas, schoolchildren from the academy and five local primary schools (St Austin’s, Garston CE, Banks Road, Gilmour Juniors and Holy Trinity) decided who should win the share of £31,000, made available using money seized from criminals.

Inspired by Liverpool’s role as host city for the Eurovision Song Contest, the children rated each group’s pitch on a scale of 1 to 5 points.

The top five organisations winning £5,000 were:

Everton in the Community – A programme of activities, trips, and tournaments for young people during the Easter half-term, to build relationships and break down barriers. Activities will include football, golf, graffiti art, club tours, boxing, cookery and trampolining.

KMC Community Projects Ltd – KMC’s sports and fitness camp will promote a healthier lifestyle and encourage young people to learn new skills and meet new friends. Young people will also get the opportunity to get involved in volunteering and apprenticeships.

GAP Detached Team – The youth workers at GAP will deliver a bespoke programme to the area’s young people, focused on topics such as drugs, alcohol, ASB and exploitation. It will culminate in a residential trip to help the young people develop important life skills and new experiences.

Apollo Sports Club CIC – ‘Sports in the Park’ will offer young people the chance to try American football with the Jacksonville Jaguars, take part in an athletics programme with Katarina Johnson-Thompson and play football with Apollo JFC.

Strictly Boxing Fitness Studio – The Studio’s boxing and Ju Jitsu courses will introduce young people to this sport in a fun, structured way. The sessions will also focus on topics such as anxiety, peer pressure and fitting in.

Runners-up include Altru Drama CIC, ArtsGroupie, Youth Empowering Services (YES) CIC, Merseybeats Majorettes Dance Troupe, The Thinker Hub CIC and New Horizons Enrichment and Education. Each runner-up received £1,000 to support their project delivery.

Inspector Nicola Hamilton, from the local policing team said: “We have had amazing feedback from everyone involved in the Giving Back to Garston event. It was great to see the enthusiasm and excitement from the children in the room and place the power in their hands. With the projects all focusing on youth engagement and intervention, who better to vote than the young people themselves.

“Events like this support our ongoing work to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime and give us an opportunity to engage with young people and partners. Local organisations will now benefit from the ill-gotten gains of criminals, as this funding will be reinvested into the community to support projects benefiting hundreds of young people in the area.

“Thank you to all the bidding groups who took part, the Academy of St Nicholas for all their support in making the event happen, and the schoolchildren themselves for their brilliant job as judges.” 

Mr Gary Lloyd, headteacher of The Academy of St Nicholas, said: “A huge thank you to Merseyside Police for the chance to be involved in such a worthwhile initiative.

“The students loved learning about the incredible work of these local community groups and deciding who should benefit from this funding, which in turn, will directly impact the young people of Garston. Well done to everyone who took part, and to the overall winners, Everton in the Community.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “It was brilliant to attend the Giving Back to Garston event and I was really encouraged to hear how these vital organisations plan to utilise this funding to improve and enhance youth engagement in their local area.

“We know early intervention is key to helping tackle anti-social behaviour and crime and I look forward to seeing how these organisations continue to grow in the coming months and years by providing positive opportunities and helping young people living in Garston to flourish.

“I would like to thank each organisation for their involvement, the local policing team for their ongoing commitment to the community and of course the school children for their support. By working together, using money we seize from those who seek to harm our communities, we can instead create safer and stronger places for people to live, work and play.” 

The event was featured on the BBC One Show this week (Tuesday 20 February), showcasing the winning groups and their exciting projects. You can catch up here: BBC One – The One Show

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