Charities earn police handout

TWO vital town centre charities have been given a much needed cash handout from the police distributing the ill-gotten gains of criminals.

The Snowflake project for the homeless was awarded £5,000 and Hastings Street Pastor service £6,795 as part of the Sussex Police Community Cashback initiative launched earlier this year.

The scheme offered £50,000 worth of cash seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act to local community groups and charities.

Using the proceeds of Crime Act, Sussex Police has secured court orders to confiscate houses, cars, cash and other assets from convicted criminals.

The force received applications from more than 70 charities and community groups from across the county for grants of up to £10,000 to support their work.

The Street Pastors have been patrolling Hastings town centre streets at the weekend since February 2010 helping those under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The charity is starting Thursday night patrols from October 31 with the aim of looking out for students in difficulty and needs more volunteers. Co-ordinator Martin West said: “We were quite surprised but over the moon to receive this money.

“It’s the largest donation we have had and will be put to good use.

“This will help to supply over the coming year 450 flip lops to barefooted female revellers, 300 bottles of water to the dehydrated, hot drinks, food, sleeping bags and first aid to the many the team meet late at night. More than 1000 were helped last year alone. It will also help to pay for new uniforms, training and publicising the group’s good work.

“The aim is to attract more volunteers. Due to offers on drink and club entrance Thursday’s are dubbed “Student night”. We have been invited by Sussex Police to provide weekly patrols in future on Thursday’s as well as Fridays and Saturdays hence the need for more volunteers.”

Snowflake provides two meals a day and a somewhere safe for the homeless to sleep during the cold winter months.

Christopher Maxwell-Stewart, a founding trustee, said; “We were very surprised to receive this award. But it comes at a crucial time for us and we are very grateful. We have had 13 volunteer enquiries since the appeal in the Observer last month. The money will be used to help run our van, bedding for guests, training in first aid and food hygiene courses for volunteers.”