Cash seized from criminals helps Halifax group empower women and girls

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Money seized from criminals has been used in Halifax to boost safety for women.

Calderdale-based community organisation Verd de Gris Arts has used the cash to create an event exploring the issues that impact women and girls across West Yorkshire.

Thanks to funding from the Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin’s Safer Communities Fund, 80 attendees were brought together on Friday (March 3) to listen to the powerful stories of women who have experienced domestic abuse, financial hardship, and depression.

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Planned and devised by the organisation’s ‘One Voice’ women’s group, delegates at the ‘Hear us! We are the change’ event, heard journeys of recovery and held vital discussions about how the region can empower women and address some of the key issues affecting their safety.

West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Alison LoweWest Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Alison Lowe
West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Alison Lowe

West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Alison Lowe also shared her experiences working to tackle violence against women and girls.

“The safety of women and girls in West Yorkshire is a central pillar of the Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan,” she said.

“To achieve this goal, not only do we need to listen to the lived experiences of women and girls, we must learn from them too.

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“This event encapsulates our vision – hear us, our voices will not be dulled, and together, we can make that change.”

Sharon Marsden, co-founder of Verd de Gris Arts, added: “We have brought together policy makers, decision makers, funders, and most importantly women with lived experience who are posing the questions and directing the event, with confidence, creativity and vibrancy.

“The Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund has enabled us to hold this event and have a conversation on how we can build on this kind of work, take a different approach, and work together to bring about change.”

Using money recovered by police and prosecutors from criminal activities, Mayor Brabin has channelled more than £1 million into community projects working to make West Yorkshire safer.

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More than £500,000 has been directed into projects working to keep women and girls safe, including self-defence classes, a healthy relationships programme and mental health support for women.

Find out more about Verd de Gris Arts on their website.