£18m to stop young Scots offending

Preset young people

The CashBack for Communities scheme aims to fund projects which help people make positive decisions

16th May 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Projects across Scotland have benefitted from funding to help keep young people away from offending.

More than £18 million seized from criminals is to fund projects which divert disadvantaged young people away from crime.

The CashBack for Communities scheme reinvests criminal assets into community projects which support young people into making positive choices, diverting some away from potentially criminal or anti-social behaviour.

The next phase of funding will take total investment in the programme, which is unique to Scotland, to almost £110 million since it began in 2008.

CashBack has funded a variety of projects in the past 11 years including the Celtic FC Foundation, the National Autistic Society and Impact Arts which all provide opportunities to raise the attainment, ambition and aspirations of young people from areas of deprivation.

 Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham said: “We want every young person growing up in Scotland to have an equal chance of success no matter their circumstances – CashBack has a vital part to play in expanding young people’s horizons and helping them reach their full potential.

“Since Cashback for Communities began in 2008 we have delivered nearly two and a half million activities and opportunities for young people across all local authorities in Scotland.

“The next stage of CashBack will have particular focus on projects that support young people and communities most affected by crime. I’m pleased to say that we have increased funding for this latest phase by £1 million – taking the total amount available over three years to £18 million.

“The numbers of children referred to the Children’s Reporter on offence grounds or prosecuted in the courts have fallen substantially over the last decade and our CashBack programme supports that progress by giving many of Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people a wide range of positive opportunities to challenge themselves and inspire those around them.”

Patrick O’Sullivan, 25, from Glasgow, was helped by the Celtic FC Foundation employability programme to become a sports coach after being released from prison.

He said: “Barlinnie is not a nice place to be in but it was my own fault. Committing crimes is just not who I am.  I don’t know what went through my head when I was doing it.

“The Celtic FC Foundation staff who were working with me on the CashBack course were just so positive. They told me that if I stuck at it and did everything they asked me to do, then I would get a reward at the end.

“And the reward is I’m still sitting here today working for Celtic FC Foundation as a community coach.  I run sessions for children and adults. Some of the people I work with have additional needs like autism and Down’s Syndrome.  It is really rewarding to see them going home with a big smile on their faces after the football practice sessions.”