The Home Office have recently announced that religious organisations will be able to register their interest for the latest round of the Places of Worship Protective Security Scheme.
This comes in the run-up to a number of religious celebrations including Easter, Passover and Ramadan.
The increased investment and planned improvements to the scheme were originally announced in the wake of the horrific Christchurch mosque attacks which claimed the lives of 50 people.
As you will from the picture below, a mosque in Birmingham was attacked earlier in the year with thousands of pounds of damage being caused.
According to the Home Office website, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
‘In the coming days and weeks, millions of people from different faiths will be marking religious festivals up and down the UK. At this time of reflection, devotion and celebration, it’s vital everyone feels safe and protected in the places of worship they attend'.
Javid continued to note 'That’s why we’ve invested another £1.6 million into our Places of Worship Protective Security Scheme and are encouraging religious organisations to apply’.
Minister for Counter Extremism Baroness Williams said:
‘No one should be abused or attacked, because of their faith. The government is committed to not only pursuing perpetrators of these horrendous crimes but also protecting victims’.
The Home Office Hate Crime Action Plan was refreshed in 2018 and this document commits to providing the places of worship scheme, as well as funding community-led projects to tackle hate crime and increase reporting of these crimes.
Since its inception in 2016, the places of worship scheme has awarded over £1.5 million through 134 grants to places of worship from all major religions for additional protection and security measures.
According to the Home Office, the fourth year of the scheme will not only provide up to £1.6 million of funding, but the application process has been improved to make it easier to apply for.
Instead of applicants having to find their own costs for security work to be done, those applying after July 2019 will benefit from having a central provider for assessments, quotes and installation. This will save small and volunteer-run institutions significant amounts on administration costs.
The government recognises that Muslim communities remain anxious following the horrendous attacks in New Zealand, and particularly in advance of Ramadan.
The Equality and Inclusion Partnership (EQuIP) along with other partners that form the Warwickshire Hate Crime Partnership notified Warwickshire based religious organisations about this funding opportunity back in April 2019.
Once the Home Office opened the funding opportunity in July 2019, EQuIP made contact with local religious organisations to remind them about this opportunity and strongly encourage them to apply for funding as a way of improving the security.
To express an interest in the Place of Worship funding, prospective applicants can register and receive an information pack by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, religious organisations in Warwickshire can contact EQuIP who can assist local groups in accessing the relevant support with regards to this new funding opportunity.
Local groups seeking support can email EQuIP: email@example.com or if you prefer to talk to a member of the EQuIP team call 01788 863117 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).