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News Report Page 5 of 13
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PCC awards ₤40,000 under spend to boost Victim Care Merseyside services during Pandemic

MERSEYSIDE'S Police Commissioner has awarded ₤40,000 to her Victim Care Merseyside services to help them to support vulnerable victims during the ongoing Covid19 Pandemic. Jane Kennedy has released the funding in order to help eight of the charities she commissions through the Victim Care Merseyside service to continue to cope with a surge in demand for their services during the epidemic. The additional allocation will also help the charities to cope with the challenges of operating during the ongoing restrictions, including by improving their ability to support victims remotely, enabling them to improve their IT and video conferencing equipment. More than ₤15,000 will be allocated to three of the PCC's anti hate crime services:- 'Stop Hate UK,' the Anthony Walker Foundation and Daisy Inclusive UK; to respond to an increase in referrals during the Covid19 outbreak, extend their opening hours and run awareness raising activities. The funding will enable Savera UK to increase their provision for intensive one-to-one support for people who have suffered or are at risk of harmful practices, including forced marriage, so called:- 'honour' based abuse and FGM. While Families Fighting for Justice will be able to use the funding to provide PPE, food packs and travel costs for families who have been bereaved due to a homicide or road collision and are struggling as a result of the Pandemic and need extra support.

Commissioner Kennedy said:- "The Victim Care Merseyside services do an outstanding job every day, providing support and care for some of the most vulnerable victims across Merseyside. During the Coronavirus outbreak, they have really had to go above and beyond to adapt to the circumstances and ensure victims can still access the essential support they need and deserve. Sadly, all the Victim Care Merseyside services have experienced a surge in demand due to the challenges caused by Covid19. While I have already been able to support some of our providers through additional grants provided by the Ministry of Justice, unfortunately not all of our services were eligible for extra central government funding. That's why I've taken the decision to release this extraordinary funding, arising from holding some vacant posts in my office, thereby ensuring all our services are able to respond to the increase in demand for their essential services, giving victims the best possible opportunity to cope and recover from their ordeal, despite the challenges created by Coronavirus. I hope this emergency funding will assist our hard working victim services during these unprecedented times as they do their vital work."

Victim Care Merseyside is a specialist package of support developed by the Commissioner which is designed to give victims the best possible help to cope and recover from the after effects of crime. It includes a range of specialist support services providing additional care to the most vulnerable victims. If you've been affected by crime, please visit the Victim Care Merseyside website which offers advice, guidance and a directory of services which offer support at:- VictimCareMerseyside.Org.

Investment in facilities at Ainsdale Beach given Cabinet backing

AT its meeting this week, Sefton Council's Cabinet approved funding to support over ₤350,000 of improvement works at Ainsdale Beach. After a year of unprecedented demand, this investment in new and semi permanent facilities, including:- 'off beach' car parking arrangements, toilets and rubbish management will ensure a better experience for residents and visitors. It will also improve safety and accessibility as well as providing vital protection to the natural environment. The new 'off beach' car parking facilities will help to reduce the impact on local communities who have been affected by irresponsible parking in the past. It will also generate income to cover the cost of the works and the long term care of Sefton's unique, 22 mile coastline. During 2020 huge numbers of visitors flocked to the coast and temporary measures, including:- portable toilets and rubbish skips, were provided to deal with the extra demand.  Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:- "During peak periods, Ainsdale Beach attracts a lot of visitors and this year we saw perhaps more people than ever taking advantage of this fantastic setting. Temporary measures were put in place to ensure that the site could cope with such numbers, but it highlighted that this additional investment, which will benefit residents and beach users alike, is needed. The further improvement of facilities will provide a better environment for people to enjoy this beautiful space, while protecting our special wildlife and landscape, and tackling car parking concerns. The approval for funding today is just the 1st step towards these improvements and work will now commence to ensure that we are engaging relevant organisations, community groups and residents as we plan how these improvements will take shape."

Freedom bus to drive awareness of Modern Slavery

TO mark the UN's International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, Liverpool is set to host the:- 'freedom bus' - a mobile exhibition driving awareness of Modern Slavery. The double decker bus is branded with anti slavery messages and promotes the national Modern Slavery Helpline which people can call to report any concerns they have about individuals who may be enslaved or trafficked. The branded bus has been borrowed from the Pan Lancashire Anti Slavery Partnership with the aim of raising awareness in Merseyside by encouraging people to find out more about the issue and learn how to spot the warning signs. The freedom bus will tour around Liverpool, from 10.30am until 3.30pm, on Sunday, 13 December 2020, and staff from Stop The Traffik, Merseyside Police and representatives from Merseyside's Modern Slavery Network, will be on hand to answer questions, give advice and help people to become familiar with the tell tale warning signs that someone is being enslaved.

The event is being supported by Merseyside's Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, who said:- "10's of thousands of vulnerable people are believed to be enslaved and trafficked in the UK every year, yet only a very small proportion of cases are brought to the attention of the Police and other authorities. We need to change that. 1 way we can do that is by raising awareness of this issue among the public, so they know how to spot the warning signs, know how to report it when they believe someone may be enslaved and can play their part in stopping modern slavery. Our aim is to drive a greater understanding of this hidden issue and the freedom bus is a great tool to do this. By getting involved in this conversation, members of the public will be helping to bring this issue out into the open and could even have the awareness to help to save a life in the future."

The Chair of Pan Lancashire anti slavery Partnership, Sion Hall said:- "Modern Slavery is very much a hidden crime. The Freedom Bus is part of a wider strategy of raising awareness around the issues, spotting the signs and what to do if you suspect something. Working together we are aiming to help eliminate slavery and support victims. Come and visit us on Sunday, 13 December 2020 if you can."

Annette Maudsley from Liverpool Stop the Traffik said:- "We aim to raise awareness in our city and make it a hostile city for traffickers to work. Not only do we raise awareness to rescue survivors, and make communities aware of the signs, but we want to protect the people in our city from grooming and trafficking. We want men, women, boys and girls to know the signs of healthy relationships, online safety, travelling safely, and how to report. We focus on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery and this bus is an excellent way of reminding people of what is going on, how you can get help and where to report or ask questions. We are excited to work with so many partners on this project and we hope that people will be helped by having the bus come to our wonderful City."

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