Airedale Juniors pupils receive a boost and learn new skills thanks to seized criminal assets fund (15 May 2017)

1Pupils from Airedale Juniors in Castleford received a boost and learnt new skills thanks to a grant from Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson's Safer Communities Fund.

Airedale Juniors were awarded £4680 from the Fund to provide 36 Forest School workshop sessions to pupils. The sessions are designed to boost confidence, learning capacity, communication and problem-solving skills and emotional well-being.

The Forest Schools workshop sessions include inputs on outdoor survival techniques, how to prepare food and nutritional information, bike repair and problem solving.

The Safer Communities Fund is financed through money recovered from criminals by West Yorkshire Police and prosecutors under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). Since the Fund launched in 2014 it has given just under £1.7m to over 380 projects across West Yorkshire.

Mark visited a session at the school last week (11/05) and said: "This is a very engaging and varied project and it was obvious how much the young pupils enjoyed themselves undertaking activities outdoors, and well done to the school for developing this programme.

"We now live in the digital age and young people especially can miss out on activities such as this that are really important in building a well-rounded person and teaching life skills. I even learned a few new things myself in preparing fresh food!

"It's very rewarding to see money which started off in the hands of criminals being returned to our local communities to fund such worthwhile projects that make a real difference to people lives and well-being."

Katie Robinson, Head Teacher at Airedale Juniors said: "Forest Schools is an innovative educational approach to learning in an outdoor setting. Through these unique learning techniques this approach encourages individuals and groups to develop their learning techniques through practical activities which develops key core skills appropriate to adulthood."

The Safer Communities Fund is currently open for applications with grants of up to £5000 available. The closing date is 26 May 2017 and more information can be found on the PCC's website /safer-communities-fund.aspx or by calling the office on 01924 294000.

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