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Have your say in how serious youth violence is tackled in your community

People living in Bedford and Kempston will have the opportunity to vote for the community project they think will have the most impact of tackling serious youth violence. 

Seven projects have been chosen to bid for £15,000 of funding donated by our force at a virtual voting event taking place on Saturday 17 April.

This is part of the Bid4Better Participatory Budgeting scheme that funds local projects looking to address the kinds of issues that caused the most concern in our communities. 

Participatory budgeting is a decision-making tool where the community of a particular area get to decide where part of a public budget should be spent to combat an issue.

The seven projects are based in Bedford and Kempston and each has submitted a short video about what they are planning to do to tackle the issues in their area.

The virtual voting event will be held on Saturday 17 April at 2pm and will give individuals living in these communities the opportunity to vote for the project they think will have the most impact.

Last year, seven projects were showcased and around 40 people living in these communities took part in the virtual event and voted for the project they thought would have the most impact.

The winning project was Youth Time, which won its full bid of £10,011. The project was set up by dance students from Wixams Academy to highlight knife crime from a young person’s perspective by performing a contemporary dance which depicts the story of Isaac Stone, who was stabbed to death in Bedford at the age of 19.

The second project to win the remaining funding of just under £5,000 was The Show, a TV community show which aims to ensure that young people have the chance to speak about their environment through discussion and debates.

Chief Inspector Mo Aziz, from the Bedford Community policing team, said: “Last year two fantastic projects, Youth Time and The Show, were awarded funding through Bid4Better.

“It’s been really important for our officers to work with the winning projects and I’m really proud of the work they have managed to achieve, especially during a global pandemic.

“Engaging with young people in our community is vital for us and these projects are able to address serious issues in a way that is relevant to the youth in this area.

“The process was such a success that we are launching another event this April. I would encourage people living in the local Bedford and Kempston urban area with an idea to tackle serious youth violence, but that needs help funding, to apply for Bid4Better, just like Youth Time and The Show.

“Bid4Better allows people living in the area to put forward an idea or project that can have a real impact in the area they live in. It also gives local people the opportunity to choose where they think the funding should go and where it will have the biggest impact.

“Working with local projects, picked by local residents to help tackle serious youth violence in these areas is something we are really passionate about and will support throughout the journey.”

The virtual online event takes place on Saturday 17 April at 2pm and to take part, you will then need to register with this Eventbrite link, so you will receive the email which will give you the link to Zoom meeting, which is how the voting event will take place.

To find out more about what we are doing to tackle violence and exploitation in Bedfordshire, visit bavex