The Mayor of Tower Hamlets has welcomed the increased funding for the Places of Worship Protective Security Fund, with £3.2m now available. The fund, which allows places of worship to apply for funding to improve physical security such as gates, locks, alarms and CCTV to deter and prevent hate crime attacks, is open for applications until 9th August.
Mayor John Biggs had lobbied the Government to increase the funding available and has welcomed the doubling of funding from £1.6m to £3.2m, but warns that the limited amount is a nationwide fund and likely to be over-subscribed.
The Mayor has this week written to all faith institutions across Tower Hamlets about the security fund and to invite them to make applications. The Mayor has also emphasised that Tower Hamlets Council funds a ‘designing out crime officer’ that can support places of worship in the borough to make funding bids.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “We’ve lobbied Government to increase the money available for security improvements at places of worship and I’m glad they have now done so.
“There have been a number of attacks against places of worship around the world in recent years, and it’s important we work together to boost security at faith institutions across Tower Hamlets and keep worshippers safe.
“We work closely with our faith institutions and we will support them to bid for this money in what is likely to be a competitive bidding process. As a council we fund a designing out crime officer who can help our places of worship to submit strong bids.”
Cllr Sirajul Islam, Deputy Mayor for Housing with responsibility for working with Faith Communities, said: “I’m very pleased that the national fund has increased and now there’s extra money for places of worship and faith community centres to improve security through measures such as new CCTV, better lighting, fencing, gates and locks.
“Applications can be made until the 9th of August, and we’re reaching out to places of worship and worshippers across the borough to start work on their bids as soon as possible.”
The letter sent to faith institutions across Tower Hamlets:
Dear Faith Institutions of Tower Hamlets
I hope you and your congregations are well. We’ve kept in touch through video calls with our faith groups where we can but we have missed seeing you face to face and know things continue to be difficult despite some lockdown restrictions lifting.
The Home Office has recently opened this year’s edition of the Places of Worship (POW) protective security funding scheme – a government commitment in the hate crime action plan.
We’re pleased that following lobbying from us and others the fund nationally has increased from £1.6m last year to £3.2m this year. The scheme provides funding for protective security measures to places of worship and associated faith community centres that are vulnerable to hate crime. Potential improvements can involve new CCTV, lighting, fencing, gates, doors, locks, alarms and others. However this is likely to be over-subscribed because it is a nationwide budget, so we would advise early and thoughtful work.
You can submit a bid for funding for up to three protective security measures until 23:59 on 9 August 2020. As a council we fund a designing out crime officer to support our places of worship who can assist with your funding bid.
The maximum government funding available to any place of worship or associated faith community centre is £56,000. You will be required to contribute 20% of the total cost of the security measures.
This year, in order to bid for the funding, evidence of vulnerability to hate crime that targets people because of their religion needs to be collected before completing an online application form. Once the vulnerability is successfully demonstrated, the security contractor Esotec Limited along with a local Designing Out Crime Officer will arrange a quotation assessment appointment with you to make recommendations.
More information on the scheme and the application process can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/places-of-worship-security-funding-scheme
Mayor John Biggs & Councillor Sirajul Islam