MORE than £1.3million has been awarded to help keep communities safer in Hampshire, including nearly £500,000 in the Test Valley.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight police and crime commissioner Michael Lane has given 64 grants totalling £1,365,774 to support community organisations working to help keep Hampshire and the Isle of Wight safer.

In the Test Valley, total funding of £493,690 was offered for 16 projects.

This includes Test Valley Borough Council’s Big Band Buffet, a crime prevention and safety information event for older, socially isolated and vulnerable residents.

It will also support the ICE project, which provides early intervention for young children at risk of offending.

Borough council leader Phil North said: “We are grateful to the Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane for his financial support to these worthy projects in Test Valley.

“Our Big Band Buffet is always extremely popular with our older residents, the ICE project is an award-winning partnership which has made significant contributions towards making communities safer, and Yellow Door provide support in the south of our borough to vulnerable people who have experienced abuse.”

Yellow Door, which provides emotional support and counselling to children, young people and families affected by domestic or sexual abuse, will also receive some of the grant money.

The cash comes from the Safer Communities Fund which support victims and aims to help prevent offending.

Mr Lane said: “My team and I have had an extraordinary number of applications, many to the highest standard, revealing the level of unmet demand to support vulnerable people in our communities.

“They also reflect the range, depth, dedication and creativity of our service providers.

“The need expressed within these applications, unfortunately, greatly outweighs the funding that I have at my disposal to meet that need.

“I have been listening carefully to some public and institutional questions about the priorities I have placed on the balance between funding policing efforts directly, alongside my activities beyond policing.

“It is clear to me that there is strong support for the value in the work we will do together, and similarly across the whole Safer Communities Fund for what I will do with other colleagues and partners. As a result, I have decided to protect the funding of this grants’ round and ensure that it is not reduced.

“Supporting victims, protecting the vulnerable, reducing offending are an absolute priority and sit appropriately alongside enabling effective operational policing.

“I will continue to do everything possible to support the projects that protect those who are most vulnerable within our community.”

An additional grants round will take place shortly, for funding to begin in October.