Money taken from convicted criminals is being re-invested in youth projects in disadvantaged areas in Falkirk.
CashBack for Communities funding of £20,158 is going to three initiatives for young people in the district.
Falkirk Football Community Foundation (FFCF) has received £8500, sports based youth work project Best.In.Bonnybridge got a grant of £2978, while a Falkirk Council summer holiday programme for children living in areas of deprivation was given £8680.
The money, awarded by Youthlink Scotland, has been seized from criminal profits and is handed out to help young people in the most disadvantaged communities.
Chris Mcgill, FFCF community officer, said: “I feel the money is really benefitting the community by getting these guys off the streets and getting them doing something. Sadly in the local area there is not much to do for the younger generation.”
“Our midnight league programme on a Friday night is a very popular place with over 80 kids attending every week. I really feel passionate and proud of running this on a Friday night, as I feel we are making a real sense of change in the local area.”
Teenager Jay Tapping (14), who goes along to the football sessions on Fridays, said: “I feel it’s a great place to be on a Friday night, its safe, it’s a good laugh and it’s spot on.
“I used to just hang about the streets and do nothing on a Friday night, but this place has given me something to do.”
Laura Mackay from the Best.In.Bonnybridge project, run by Falkirk Council, said the money will make a real difference to the group.
She said: “Thanks to the Cashback for Communities fund it has enabled us to increase resources within the project and revamp our programme to offer a whole new range of fun, vibrant and educational opportunities for young people in this area.
“As a result, this will not only attract new young people, but it will create new experiences for current young people and increase their overall core skills, whilst encouraging them to become active citizens and positive contributors within their community.”
Chief Executive of YouthLink Scotland Jim Sweeney MBE believes the money is an investment in the future. He said: “The role of great youth work in broadening young people’s horizons should never be underestimated.
“It is often through the power of creative experiences that young people realise there is a positive path in life and they can achieve their ambitions despite difficult circumstances they may face. CashBack is an investment in the next generation and a mark of a society that values all its young people.”