Crime set to pay for projects

Activities and services for Midlothian youngsters could be set for a boost, after it was announced £1.5 million seized from criminals is to be invested in communities.

The funding will come from the CashBack for Communities programme, which aims to increase the opportunities young people have to develop their interests and skills.

Among the projects in Midlothian which have already benefited from the scheme is Mayfield’s Y2K youth project, which works to move young people away from antisocial and risk taking behaviour and help them build their confidence and self-esteem so that they can live healthier lives at home.

Last year, the Top Service – which offers additional educational support to Midlothian youngsters experiencing difficulties at school - received funding, as did Newbattle Community High School.

The latest funding has already seen £500,000 of investment in a Scotland-wide grant scheme managed by Youth Scotland, which helps youth groups and uniformed organisations such as the Boys Brigade, Scouts and Girl Guides set up new units or expand their existing work.

The grant scheme has already funded the start-up of new Scout, Guide and youth groups across the country as well as allowing existing groups to fund new ventures such as sports coaching, music lessons and outdoor activities.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “The Scottish Government is rightly proud of its CashBack for Communities programme, which seizes the ill-gotten gains of criminals and hands it to the young people of Scotland through a growing series of activities.

“Including today’s announcement, we have now committed nearly £24 million of crooks’ money to CashBack, helping in excess of 300,000 youngsters expand their horizons by getting involved in projects that simply would not have existed otherwise.

“Among these awards is a significant investment in Scotland’s volunteer-led youth organisations, helping groups such as the Boys’ Brigade, Scouts and Guides, start up new units, and expand their already successful operations to even more young people.”