For Phase 1 of the Programme (2016/21) £50 million was provided to the programme (£25 million each from the NI Executive and the United Kingdom Government) and was allocated to various projects to support the delivery of the 38 commitments in the action plan.
The Programme has been extended for 3 years to 31 March 2024 and the Tackling Paramilitarism, Criminality and Organised Crime Programme Board has confirmed the funding that will be awarded.
To undertake Phase 2 of the cross-Executive Programme, a one-year financial settlement of £13 million for 2022/23 has been provided. These funds will be allocated to a range of specific projects under the programme.
In addition, the Communities in Transition project has been awarded £10 million funding for the three-year financial period April 2021 – March 2024, providing surety for community-based interventions.
2022-23: Programme Projects
The Programme Board has agreed the following funding allocations for 2022/2023:
1. Wrap Project
Allocated Funding: £567,000
This is a Wrap-around, flexible education service to children and young people facing significant challenges in four existing geographical areas.
Known as the ‘Wrap project’, this initiative focusses on educational under attainment, which is key to tackling paramilitarism, criminality and organised crime and, in particular, the impact which socio-economic deprivation has on children and young people’s outcomes.
Influencing community attitudes to education and raising aspirations is key to both reducing educational underachievement and, therefore, tackling paramilitary activity and organised crime.
2. Youth Service Projects
Allocated Funding: £1,963,560
These projects provide a range of Youth Work support in partnership with the community and voluntary sector. They cover a wide range of activity working directly with young people within communities who have been harmed by paramilitary gangs and/or those who are most at risk of becoming involved in paramilitary activity.
This work delivers a particularly important service in a COVID-19 context when other protective factors ordinarily targeted at young people are not as readily available.
3. Mid and East Antrim Youth Support Hub
Allocated Funding: £147,814
This project involves the creation of a multi-agency youth stream of the Mid and East Antrim Support Hub to support young people (up to 25 years) who are at risk of being involved with, influenced by, or exploited by paramilitary gangs.
The project will have a role in achieving a range of benefits, including, potentially, a reduction in threat to life warnings; improvement in relations between PSNI and communities; victims receiving effective help and an improvement in individual protective factors.
4. Belfast City Council Support Project for People Under Threat
Allocated Funding: £95,000
This project aims to develop, support and implement multiagency arrangements in West and North Belfast to address issues relating to victims of paramilitary gangs and those under threat. This work will aim to align the work of various agencies, including community partners, to help those under threat.
Allocated Funding: £1,547,915
Aspire is an important project targeting marginalised men who are most susceptible to paramilitary / criminal influence and, therefore, most at risk of becoming involved in paramilitary or criminal activity, to help them develop alternate coping mechanisms and increase their resilience.
It will provide a dedicated Probation Team for men under PBNI supervision who meet agreed criteria; a mentoring programme for men leaving prison and for those in the first 16 weeks of community sentence; and, for men who are not in the criminal justice system, a range of community based interventions, including restorative justice approaches.
Allocated Funding: £92,000
Engage is the provision of a dedicated resource to support women who have offended and help them to make the transition back into local communities.
Working with women both in custody and in the community, Engage builds resilience and equips women with the skills and learning to withstand paramilitary influence when they exit the criminal justice system.
7. Fresh Start Through Sport and Community Pilot Projects
Allocated Funding: £566,000
These projects will promote lawfulness and active citizenship to individuals, and build capacity and relations within communities.
The Conflict Resolution projects work with hard to reach/at risk young people, their parents/carers and those in the community to address issues like anti-social behaviour to develop community ownership and capacity building.
Fresh Start Through Sport uses engagement through sport for those on the edges of the youth justice system who are vulnerable to paramilitary harm and influence. The Conflict Resolution projects work with young people and those in the community to address issues like anti-social behaviour.
8. Enhancing the Learning and Wellbeing Outcomes of People in Separation
Allocated Funding: £130,000
This project delivers a curriculum of learning and training opportunities to support better outcomes for prisoners in separation.
It also supports their wellbeing through the use of art, music and cultural activities; the promotion of positive family ties; and sports and skills development.
The project will contribute to reducing recidivism, increase ex-prisoner reintegration and improve the availability and visibility of exit routes from paramilitarism.
9. Committal Reform
Allocated Funding: £120,000
Committal Reform is designed to enable a transformational change to the criminal justice system by removing cross-examination of injured parties from the process in the Magistrates’ Court and speed up the justice system by directly transferring specified cases to the Crown Court at an early stage. This project supports the delivery of those changes.
10. Developing Women in Community Leadership Programme
Allocated Funding: £375,000
This programme will provide women with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to become influencers and take on roles such as leadership and decision making in their communities.
It will target women of all ages and be delivered within the community, in areas which have been identified as areas where paramilitary influence is prevalent. The programme will also provide the opportunity for participants to partake in a volunteering role within their community and to develop and deliver a small programme.
Provision of Family Support will be a key element of the programme. This will support the women to strengthen structures within their own families by providing guidance and support.
The focus will be on empowering women with the confidence to become involved in transformational community development and helping to support communities to move away from paramilitary activities.
Skills to be developed and shared include: Confidence and Self Esteem, Communication Skills, Personal Development, Teamwork and Collaboration, the Role of Women within families/communities, Problem Solving, and Leadership.
11. Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF)
Allocated Funding: £5,661,000
The PCTF is a Law Enforcement Task Force consisting of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), The National Crime Agency (NCA) and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
This collaboration allows each Agency to share resources, capacity and capability with the singular aim of frustrating, disrupting and dismantling paramilitary organised crime gangs through a robust law enforcement response, thereby contributing to making people and communities safer from the harm caused by paramilitarism.
12. PSNI – Community Safety and Engagement
Allocated Funding: £145,000
This initiative supports local interventions that enhance problem-solving around issues impacting on the community, and that promote engagement with, and visibility of, policing. This phase will aim to further develop strong relationships and collaboration with PCSPs, community-based organisations and statutory partners.
This initiative is designed to complement the activities of the PCTF, as the PSNI recognises that in order to deliver safer communities a security and criminal justice approach alone will not suffice.
13. Holistic Support for Victims of Paramilitary Crime
Allocated funding: £100,000
This project will support victims of paramilitary activity and harm. This will involve identification and outreach to victims, including gaining commitment to participate. The bulk of the project will involve providing support to individuals on a range of issues, most pressingly trauma or counselling support, but also with issues such as drug misuse, debt, self-esteem, training and employment, access to benefits, housing, and family relations. This may require mentoring and/or signposting to other services.
The project also aims to build capacity among service providers to work with victims.
14. Communities in Transition Project
Longer term ring-fenced funding, of £10 million for the three-year financial period April 2021 – March 2024, will be provided to community-based activity supported by the Communities in Transition project.
This project sustains the efforts to build capacity and support in communities which are most impacted by paramilitary activity and coercive control.
It is led by The Executive Office and is currently delivered in eight areas: Derry/Londonderry; Carrickfergus/Larne; North Down, Lurgan/Craigavon; North Belfast; East Belfast; Shankill; and West Belfast.
Work to date has focused on seven key emerging themes: Community Safety and Policing; Addressing the needs of young people; Health and Wellbeing; Environment and Culture; Community Development Issues; Restorative Justice and Restorative Practice; and Personal Transition.