No more cashback

AN INITIATIVE which has helped a number of youths in East Renfrewshire could end because of a ruling by the UK treasury.

The Cashback for Communities scheme seizes cash from criminals to reinvest in local youth projects.

More than £24 million has so far been confiscated from crooks under the Proceeds of Crime Act in Scotland.

However, once the amount of money recovered from criminal activities reaches a total of £30 million, the Scottish government will be forced to forfeit any further seized cash to the UK Treasury.

Local groups benefiting from the cash could become a thing of the past if the confiscation goes ahead.

In the last three months, youth projects in East Renfrewshire, including Eaglesham and Waterfoot youth club have gained funding.

The club landed £2,561 for sessional workers, hall hire and equipment, insurance and specialist workshops.

The next round of funding — for which application closes tomorrow — could see even more local groups receive a windfall.

However that cash could bring the scheme a step closer to its demise.

MSP Stewart Maxwell is calling on the UK government to remove the £30 million threshold.

He said: : “The cashback scheme has been a tremendous success. Investment in our young people will always be money well spent.

“It is essential that this money is kept in Scotland to benefit the same communities that have suffered at the hands of these criminals”.

East Renfrewshire Young Person Services gained £6,251 of funding from Cashback for communities.

The group used the money for a postponing parenthood project which involved peer education in sexual health.

Team leader Heather Layton told The Extra: “The aim of the scheme was to get young people involved and increase their knowledge and responsibility when it comes to health and sexual health.

“It’s extremely helpful to have this money as it benefits the community. I fully support the continuation of Cashback for communities”.

For more information about how to apply to the fund go to the Youthlink Scotland website at: www.youthlinkscotland.org.