Action for Ainsdale gives community groups a boost

Police officers and PCSOs with two women holding a large cheque

Eleven organisations have been given thousands of pounds in funding to deliver community initiatives in Ainsdale, using money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

At an event at Southport Rugby Club, each applicant faced an audience made up of members of the community and presented their ideas, with the community deciding who should win a share of over £24,000.

The winning bids, as decided by the audience last night, are:

  1. R.I.S.E £2,000

R.I.S.E is a local charity run by Lou Evans, which supports bereaved children and those who have become carers at primary school age. The money will be used to provide much needed day trips, as well as counselling sessions for the children.


WACA is in the heart of the community, providing various activities across all age groups. This includes outreach youth work to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the Woodvale area, where it regularly occurs. The money will be used for diversionary activities during the summer holidays, over a four-week period, which will help reduce crime and ASB.


Ainsdale Civic Society will use the money to provide a defibrillator and bleed packs at Ainsdale beach gateway. Due to the large amount of visitors to the beach each summer, this is essential life saving equipment that has been sought after by the Ainsdale community. 

  1. PLACE2B £2,000

‘Place To Be’ is an affordable food market and café set up at St John Stone Church Hall in Woodvale each Wednesday. They rely on shops donating food that is close to its sell-by date and then sell it to families at very affordable prices. The café is also a meeting place for people, who may otherwise be alone, to spend time with others. The money will go towards the cost of running the food market and help extend the outreach work they do to involve more members of the community.

  1. MECYCLE £2,500

‘MeCycle’ is run by ‘Autism Initiative,’ who employ and support autistic people. They also run courses in bicycle maintenance involving the staff and the wider community, as well as other activities and groups including chess clubs for anyone to get involved. The money will enable ‘MeCycle’ to provide four additional placements.


SASWT works with young people providing support and guidance in schools and youth clubs. The money will be used to buy equipment for Impact Youth Club at Ainsdale Methodist Church, where they meet each Wednesday evening during term time and provide food and drink to the young people.


The parent’s association have been trying to redevelop land at the back of the school which is overgrown, dangerous and has been target of ASB. The funding will improve the land, making it safe for the children to use to grow vegetables, flowers and make bug hotels where they will learn about habitats and wildlife. They hope to see the produce grown used in the Ainsdale show in the summer and the volunteers for ‘Ainsdale in Bloom’ planting their bulbs in the village.


Volunteers from ‘Connect Youth’ are redeveloping an area at the back of Ainsdale village church and will use the money to buy furniture and planters and install lighting so it can be used all year round. It is intended that the area should be used by young people and families to enjoy and reflect.


Friends of Ainsdale Village park are volunteers who look after the park area. They will use the money to improve the disabled access so more families can enjoy the park, making it a more enjoyable and inclusive place for all.


Southport Homewatch Association will use the money to replace old, damaged signs in Ainsdale & Woodvale. These signs prevent crime as they act as a deterrent, resulting in less burglaries when Homewatch schemes are in place.


The children at Shoreside Primary School have been raising money to have an outdoor classroom made at the school as they have very little outdoor space. The money will ensure the project is complete over the summer holidays, making September 2024 the most exciting term yet! The children have expressed that they learn best outside in the fresh air and look forward to taking care of their new surroundings.

Five groups were unsuccessful and each received £200, as well as tickets to a football match, kindly donated by Southport F.C. Community Foundation.

Constable Victoria Gwynne, from the Local Policing team said: “We had an amazing evening and it was great to see local groups in Ainsdale coming together with the aim of making their community a safer and better place to live.

“Events like this support our ongoing work to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime and give us an opportunity to engage with our communities. Local organisations will now benefit from the ill-gotten gains of criminals, as this funding will be reinvested into the community to support projects, benefiting hundreds of young people in the area.

“Thank you to all the groups who took part, Southport Rugby Club for kindly letting us host the event at their venue, and Southport F.C. Community Foundation for their donations.”

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “Local communities really understand their areas best, so events such as Action for Ainsdale are a brilliant way we can make sure we are investing this money most effectively.

“It is particularly satisfying that the funding given to all these great community initiatives is money which has been seized from criminals. By taking cash out of the pockets of those who seek to inflict harm and suffering on our communities and using it to empower local people and build community resilience, we really are turning bad money into good.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the difference these grants make in the months ahead.”

Councillor Lynne Thompson said: “Many thanks to Merseyside Police for organising such a fantastic event. It's so satisfying to see the recovered proceeds of crime being put to good use and helping to keep our communities safe and thriving.

"I thought I had a good knowledge of volunteer groups in Ainsdale I was wrong! Good to see our community volunteers keep growing and giving in equal measures. So proud of them all."