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Community Development: Grants

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many community groups have applied for a Connected Fund Round 6 grant; (135144)

(2) how much he expects to be allocated in grants from the Connected Fund in each of the next two financial years;

(3) what plans his Department has to increase publicity for the Connected Fund in future years;

(4) when the application process will open for grants in the Connected Fund Round 7;

(5) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Connected Fund grants in reducing the levels of gun crime in areas where grants have been made.

363 applications for grants have been received under Round six of the Connected Fund. An Assessment Panel will assess these applications on 3-4 May. A further Round may be held later this year, but a firm decision on this has not yet been taken.

Budgets for 2008-09 and 2009-10 have not yet been confirmed, so it is not possible to give any figures on funding that may be allocated to the Connected Fund in these years at this stage.

We publicise the Fund through direct mailing to community groups, through the Government Offices for the Regions, and through local media reporting. This has worked well, with each round of the Fund substantially over-subscribed.

The Home Office is currently developing an evaluation of the effectiveness of project funding on guns, gangs and knives, covering both the Connected Fund and wider project funding. The Fund supports one part of our strategy to tackle gun crime, which focuses on policing, powers and prevention. Many of the grants from the Connected Fund are for projects to support young people as part of the long-term prevention strand.

Figures released on 26 April show a reduction of 16 per cent. in overall gun crime in England and Wales in the 12 months to December 2006.