Cash seized from criminals helps youngsters make a splash

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Young people will be making a splash thanks to cash seized from crooks.

The Colwyn Bay Watersports Sea Squad project has received £2,500 thanks to North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones.

The money was given as part of the Your Community, Your Choice initiative, which is also supported by the North Wales Police and the Police and Community Trust (PACT).

Much of the money was recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act using cash seized from offenders with the rest coming from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s budget.

The Colwyn Bay Watersports Sea Squad project, which has also received support from Arriva Buses Wales, will give young people between the aged of 11 and 14 an opportunity to learn sailing, windsurfing and other water sport skills over a period of 10 weeks.

Youngsters interested in finding out more have been invited to the organisation’s base at Porth Eirias in Colwyn Bay to have a go during taster days  being held on Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19.

Mr Jones, a former police inspector, believes community projects like this can help prevent young people from being sucked into a life of crime.

He said: “Sea Squad is an idea that will benefit all young people. It’s a project I’m really happy to give my full support too.

“I’m delighted the Sea Squad project was one of the projects the public voted for and we are now able to support the project with a £2,500 grant.”

“It’s all about early intervention and getting young people involved in sport. This project certainly fits the bill when it comes to the work we are doing around early intervention which is so important.

“But the project isn’t just about those young people from areas where we have anti-social behaviour issues or drug problems such as county lines.

“Each year PACT, which is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, supports projects across each North Wales authority and two projects covering the whole of the region. The money goes to projects voted on by the general public.”

Colwyn Bay Water Sports community engagement officer Simon Wynne said: “Colwyn Bay Watersports is passionate about activities which help navigate positive change in our community. We provide sailing, windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and other sea based activities.

“We want to make sure people of all ages have access to our facilities here at Porth Eirias regardless of their ability or disability, income or experience. We are a community interest company established for the benefit of the local community.

“We want to see Sea Squad embraced by parents, friends and family. It’s important we break down barriers and enhance relations between the police and families.

“The project will help keep young people occupied during spring and summer and away from trouble hotspots.

“The project begins at local youth clubs and meeting places with engaging and fun workshops. These sessions will get young people to take part in a free Sea Squad taster weekend where young people can try out the sports.

“Following the taster weekend, we envisage 20 young people benefiting from the weekly programme in addition to the 50 taking part over the taster weekend. Young people would be given the leadership, tuition and motivation to achieve a recognised Royal Yacht Association Level 1 Qualification in Sailing.”

Colwyn Bay PCSO Alex Aldous said: “As it stands, we are seeing youth services cut and there is very little for young people to do across the Colwyn Bay area. That can lead to anti-social behaviour and other issues such as drug misuse.

“What we wanted was a project that would be low cost but open to young people aged 11 to 14 whatever their background.

“I wanted it to be open to all young people and not just those deemed to be likely to be engaged in anti-social behaviour or other problems.”

She added: “The £2,500 grant means we can run an initial taster day for up to 60 young people and then those that are interested in signing up for a 10 week course, that would be run at weekends, can do so.

“The taster day will be on Saturday or Sunday, May 18 or 19, between 9.30am and 4.30pm. There will be PCSOs, not in uniform, on hand to help instructors and work with the young people.

“The cash being made available by PACT and the Police and Crime Commissioner is absolutely key to the project. I’m hoping we can get young people engaged and enjoying water sports such as sailing and windsurfing.”