Taking cash from the criminals to give back to the community

Story about the Senior Citizens Support Group who have been given �846 from the Proceeds of Crime Act fund to expand their group and encourage people to join. 'Pictured waiting for the bus: L/R:Margaret Blanchflower, PCSO Austerfield, Mona Hargreaves, India Wilson, Silvia Haigh and Margaret Simpson.
Story about the Senior Citizens Support Group who have been given �846 from the Proceeds of Crime Act fund to expand their group and encourage people to join. 'Pictured waiting for the bus: L/R:Margaret Blanchflower, PCSO Austerfield, Mona Hargreaves, India Wilson, Silvia Haigh and Margaret Simpson.
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Money seized from criminals has been used to help a community group which offers a lifeline to older people.

The Senior Citizens Support Group was given £846 from the North West neighbourhood police team (NPT) from the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) fund.

The group, which was previously known as the Horbury and South Ossett Senior Citizens Action Group, has used to money to reach out to more elderly people in the community.

Ray Tindale, chairman, said: “Originally the group covered Horbury and South Ossett and it was based on the council ward but now we cover Middlestown and the whole of Ossett.

“When we started the main aim was to provide Christmas dinners for senior citizens in Horbury and South Ossett. At that time the group had just started and we didn’t have much funding.

“Now, as the group has grown, we have been able to get more funding and can expand our coverage.

“Our membership at the time of the application for this grant was 230 but that has grown by around 45 per cent.

“The money has come from criminals. Older people are often taken advantage of and if some of that money comes back to help them that is great.”

The group holds regular coffee mornings for its members and also organises day trips to the coast, garden centres and other attractions.

Mr Tindale said: “Our role is to get people out and about and encourage them to socialise more. But we also want to offer people information and advice about a variety of issues.”

In recent months the group has offered its members advice about insulating their homes, how to get help from carers and information about health services on offer.

And they also hold a monthly bingo session for people to meet new friends and enjoy themselves.

Mr Tindale said: “What we do with all our events is offer people the chance the have something to look forward to.

“We have just started doing chair-aerobics. We’re looking to see how people feel about it and then if it is still popular we can make the arrangements to continue it.”

The Senior Citizens Support Group works closely with the NPT to advise older people about being safe in their homes .

Insp Jo Mercer, of the North West neighbourhood police team (NPT), said: “It’s great to know that criminals’ money has been put to good use to help members of our local community.”

To contact the NPT or for more information about POCA funding call 101.