The Together for Safer Communities project, run by ATOMS Education, has been awarded £8,500 by the Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner and County Durham Community Foundation.

Over £150,000 worth of funding was made accessible for community groups and voluntary sector organisations within County Durham and Darlington last year, through the Community Safety Fund.

The Community Safety Fund has already supported 19 community projects in the last year alone. Funding was available for projects and initiatives, which help to keep communities safe and contribute towards inspiring public confidence.

The Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner in partnership with County Durham Community Foundation is delighted to have been able to provide a share of this funding to ATOMS Education.

Together for Safer Communities is a far-reaching project that has been launched to empower families in Shotton and Blackhall.

The project will work with 50 underserved families and each family will have the chance to take part in a 10-week online workshop that supports them to feel safer by tackling community issues.

To help families without access to the internet or technology, the project will also provide data and equipment. It is hoped that this project will help participants seek work and access other support online.

At the end of the project, those involved will create a final piece, such as an artwork, to raise awareness in the local community. PCSOs, Councillors and local community associations will also be involved to improve community relations.

Stacey Deinali, secretary for ATOMS Education, explained the motivation behind the Together for Safer Communities project. She said, “Through petitioning residents we believe there has been a rise in unreported crime. Crime statistics are down for both areas, but people are posting about problems on social media and not knowing who they can report them to, or even that they should.

“It’s an ambitious project that can lead to really exciting change. The families may even decide they want to take a political approach and raise these issues with central government, which has happened in previous projects.

“The money from the Community Safety Fund is amazing because it can help people address the issues of their community and access the services that already exist for them. While they take part in the project, they are also learning skills that can improve their chance of finding work.

“The project will be led by the families involved. It’s about what they want to address, and what would make them feel safer. If they lead the project, they will be able to communicate what they’re doing to lots of people in the community and it will have a far greater impact.”

Steve White, Acting Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner said: “I am really pleased that we are able to support services such as ATOMS Education with the Community Safety Fund.

“Key support organisations across County Durham and Darlington, such as educational providers have adapted brilliantly during the pandemic to continue to provide their vital services. This project will allow families to learn new online skills and feel more confident in addressing community issues.”

For further information on the Together for Safer Communities Project please visit : https://www.atomseducation.co.uk/

A list of all organisations that have benefited from the Community Safety Fund can be found at : https://www.durham-pcc.gov.uk/Finance/Commissioning-and-Grants/Community-Safety-Fund.aspx