GROUPS who work to reduce crime and safeguard young people are being invited to apply for grants of up to £10,000.

The Violence and Vulnerability Community Grants Fund has been set up to combat the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis on groups in Essex, as well as Southend and Thurrock.

Charities, social enterprises and community interest companies are all welcome to apply for up to £10,000 for support with work relating to county lines drug lines, gangs and knife crime.

Two funding streams are available, one for existing projects and the other for new one-off special events responding to a need driven by the crisis.

All applications must evidence they support children and young people involved in or at risk of serious violence to - make positive choices that keep them safe, raise self-esteem and confidence, build resilience and improve emotional health, wellbeing and mental and physical health.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: "The purpose of the Violence and Vulnerability Partnership is to reduce serious violence, the harm it causes and safeguard those at risk.

"In the heart of our Essex communities’, small groups and charities are working tirelessly to support young people to acquire life skills and the friendships needed to grow into happy, confident young people who reject negative influences.

"The Violence and Vulnerability Community Grants Fund wants to support this work, and particularly, while we are all still living with the worry of Coronavirus, ensure young people don’t miss out on opportunities and have activities and events to look forward to.”

Applications are open until next Thursday (November 19).