A FUND which has helped countless Keighley-district groups since it was set-up five years ago has launched its latest round of grants.

A further £200,000 pot has been made available through the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Safer Communities Fund.

Since the initiative began, more than £2.6 million seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act has been distributed to good causes.

Over 600 projects have benefited.

The most-recent grants included £517 to Wilsden Parish Council to help pay for a street lamp at an entrance to the village park.

PCC Mark Burns-Williamson said the latest round – the sixteenth – included some changes.

"For the first time ever there is a split funding pot," he said.

"Half the money will be available to projects looking to either tackle drugs and alcohol misuse or develop work focusing on young people, while the other half is for applications looking to address any of the priorities in my Police and Crime Plan.

"We cannot hope to tackle serious and violent crime or reduce reoffending without addressing underlying problems such as substance abuse, and we can only do this by working together with partners and communities.

"Similarly, we need to work together to provide support, early intervention and opportunities to young people before they get drawn into crime and anti-social behaviour.

"I have also decided to increase the maximum grant from £5,000 to £6,000 as I want the fund to be able to help even more during the ongoing austerity across many key services."

Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson is urging groups to apply.

"Two of our key priorities as highlighted in the Police and Crime Plan are to tackle violent crime and to protect the vulnerable," she said.

"The Safer Communities Fund reinforces these priorities and shows that crime does not pay. We continue to take money and assets from criminals and give them back to the same communities that those criminals have harmed.

"By reinvesting seized assets, we can support incredibly worthy groups and individuals in our communities who make a real difference.

"I would encourage any organisation that feels it meets the criteria for a grant to apply."

The deadline for applications in the latest round is noon on May 24.

For more details, visit westyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk/safer-communities-fund.aspx.