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Peace Centre charity faces uncertain future following 95pc cut in Home Office funding

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THE charity set up at Warrington’s pioneering peace centre following a terrorist bomb attack on the town is facing an uncertain future following a possible 95 per cent cut in funding from the Home Office.

On top of the Home Office cuts the charity has also been told funding from the Ministry of Justice is also being phased out.

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace, set up after the death of 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Johnathan Ball when the IRA bombed Warrington in 1993, now helps support victims of terror, helps young people deal with violent situations and prevent the spread of violent extremism.

Colin Parry

Peace Campaigner Colin Parry OBE, Chairman of the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace, said: “Back in 1993, there was no help for us as victims, so we set out on a journey to establish a charity that would help other victims and also help prevent the spread of violent extremism in our country. Twenty six years on, the Foundation has become the ‘first provider’ in providing the support that terror victims need.

“At the Foundation’s Peace Centre in Warrington, we have teams who support victims of terrorism, and help young people from 5 to 17 yrs old to deal with violent situations, and prevent the spread of violent extremism in our communities.

“The risk of terrorism and violent extremism is greater now than ever. Since 2017, we have received a further 900 referrals for support without one penny increase in any grant, yet we have still managed to support vulnerable families, young people and individuals with donations from supporters or victims themselves who want to give something back. This could only happen in the UK!

“These work streams have been funded for several years by the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office respectively…until this year when, without warning, the Home Office decided to cut our funding by 95%, and the MoJ announced it would be phasing out our funding.

“So the Foundation’s two major funding streams will end and our work with young people and victims will face an uncertain future, without any assured funding. This means we must find new funding sources to cover this important and essential work.

“From a business perspective, we are a solid investment. We spend what we are given on what it was given for. We help victims to become survivors, like my wife and I and we help young people of every race and faith, understand and accept the need for friendship, not conflict. Now all of this is at risk for sums of money that, by government standards, are miniscule

“Terrorism can impact anyone at any time, whether shopping as Tim and Johnathan were, or on a business trip, enjoying a well earned holiday, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Our work is important, so if you want to help the Peace Foundation personally, or by introducing us to potential supporters/funders, please let us know.”

The charity’s Chief Executive Nick Taylor added: ““The Peace Foundation’s work in the prevention of violent extremism is world renowned and the decision for the Government to stop direct grants is staggering particularly given the level of threat we face and the need to break the cycle of violence.

“Our country needs strong Government and leadership at this time and we will be seeking urgent meetings with the Home Secretary so he understands the serious consequences of this decision to reduce funding.”

News of the funding cuts came in a letter from the Home Office, from the Deputy Director of the Prevent Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, following a meeting with the charity’s Chief Executive in January.

The letter stated: “Local Authorities and wider stakeholders had provided the Home Office with clear feedback that direct award grants were at odds with the localisation of Prevent delivery, which relies on grassroots knowledge of communities and partnership: between Local Authorities and the organisations they partner with. Further, evidence provided by Local Authority partners demonstrated that the number of CSOs and charities with the experience and ability to deliver projects addressing a variety of CT threats and has grown significantly in recent years. The commercial proviso underpinning direct grants — that some organisations inhibited a unique position or offered a particularly specialist function — was therefore no longer met.

The letter went on to say: “Following the initial stages of evaluation and moderation of the bids submitted by Local Authorities, I can now advise that Peace Foundation’s provisional funding level for 19/20 has been reduced by around 95%. This is not a final confirmation of the Peace Foundation’s funding level but we have taken the decision to inform you of the provisional reduction as soon as possible to enable you to plan other activities and/or seek alternative funding in the coming financial year.”

For more information on how to support the work of the peace centre visit https://www.peace-foundation.org.uk/support/ or call 01925 581234

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About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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