Vulnerable people at risk of harm are set to receive "unparalleled support to solve their problems and increase their safety" thanks to a new fund which is the first of its kind in Derbyshire.
A new 'Vulnerability Fund' has been set up by the county's Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa.
It's part of an effort to tackle the social problems known to increase the risk of crime or victimisation.
The scheme will "unlock the door" to funding worth up to £25,000 for community organisations, charities and non-profit groups who look to "build safer and stronger communities and to reduce the risk of crime".
It's designed to empower communities to develop practical solutions to the problems occurring in their areas and take fresh approaches to old issues to protect individuals and families.
Micro-grants from £50 to £1,000 will be available from local councils for voluntary services for projects such as target hardening to improve security at the homes of vulnerable people including repeat victims of crime and those who are isolated through age, frailty, poor mental health or mobility issues.
Larger grants of between £1,000 and £25,000 will be available for communities, charities, voluntary and non-profit organisations to make a real and lasting difference in their areas. This may include projects providing support for vulnerable people coming out of lockdown; services, advice or self-help groups offering emotional and practical support to prevent people from becoming victims or perpetrators of crime and those that help and encourage vulnerable people who have lost their jobs or income during the pandemic to get back into work or training to minimise their risk of becoming involved in crime.
"This is a hugely ambitious scheme and will provide help for communities in a way that has never been done before," said Mr Dhindsa.
"Social isolation, poor health, lack of opportunity and disability increase the risk of exploitation. The pandemic has exacerbated those challenges and created additional pressure for those on low incomes, the unemployed and those shielding.
"This fund will directly target vulnerability as means of protecting people and lessening the threats they are exposed to. It focuses on the individuals, families and communities that require urgent support to safeguard lives and prevent harm. It also empowers communities themselves to take action and work together on the issues which impact on residents most.
"Having police officers who are accessible and visible in our communities is critical for public safety but there are valuable and effective community services out there which can help build resilience in individuals, promote cohesion and prevent personal crisis. It's all about teamwork."
Information and guidance to help people understand how the fund can help them is available on the PCC's website and there will also be opportunities to discuss problems and potential solutions with neighbourhood policing teams, Neighbourhood Watch groups and local voluntary services in the coming weeks.
Mr Dhindsa said he will also be working closely with Derbyshire Constabulary and local CVS' across the county to identify areas of local need where vulnerable people face a higher risk of crime or disadvantage.
The scheme will allocate grant funding to High Peak CVS and other similar organisations across the county.
Support will be provided to help groups offering positive social, leisure, artistic, cultural, spiritual or physical activities that bring people together remotely or in socially distanced ways to prevent people from becoming victims or perpetrators of crime.
Other grants will provide help for young people, particularly those who are vulnerable to becoming a victim or perpetrator of crime due to their family or life circumstances, people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or mental health conditions, or those with a history of or vulnerability to substance misuse.
Applications for larger grants can be made up until 13 November 2020, while smaller grants can be applied for from CVSs between 14 October and 1 March 2021.
For more information and to download an application form, visit the PCC's website at www.derbyshire-pcc.gov.uk/VF