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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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£17 million of criminals’ cash given to youth organisations

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The next phase of Cash Back for Communities Programme funding is open for applications

Millions of pounds of cash seized from criminals operating in Scotland is to be ploughed into youth organisations.

A total of 17 charities carrying out projects to help some of the country’s most disadvantaged young people are to benefit from a share of £17 million in the latest round of Cash Back for Communities Programme funding.

Included are well known children’s charities such as Barnardo’s, Prince’s Trust Scotland and YouthLink Scotland as well as the charitable arms of organisations such as Scottish Rugby Union, the Scottish Football Association and Celtic Football Club.

Through CashBack we are punishing those who break the law and directing their ill-gotten gains directly back into Scotland’s communites

Announcing the latest funding during a visit to the National Autistic Society Scotland, which also received an award, justice secretary Michael Matheson said helping charities financially to provide support and training for young people will change lives.

“With this money we are supporting Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people to reach their full potential in life, helping them to learn new skills, boost their confidence and become responsible people,” he said.

“With this latest funding we demonstrate our commitment to tackle inequality and keep young people active in their communities.

“Through CashBack we are punishing those who break the law and directing their ill-gotten gains directly back into Scotland’s communites.”

The National Autistic Society Scotland will use its funding which is set to be around £500,000 to support young people with autism into employment, after it recently revealed that less than 16% of autistic people are in full-time paid work.

“A significant autism employment gap exists in our society,” said Jenny Paterson, director of The National Autistic Society Scotland.

“Just 32% of autistic people are in employment – compared to 47% of disabled people and 80% of non-disabled people.

"Cashback for Communities will play a vital role in closing this gap by funding our employment support service in Scotland, which helps autistic people to prepare for work and employers to understand the condition.

“The benefits of the funding will be felt right across Scotland: autistic people will increase in independence and confidence, employers will gain their skills and commitment, and taxpayers will save on out-of-work benefit payments.”

Elsewhere, Youth Scotland has been awarded funding to operate a small grants programme for new and existing youth groups operating in areas of deprivation.

Its chief executive Ian McLaughlan said grants will support organisations to improve the range of activities and opportunities for young people within their local communities.

He added: “Youth Scotland, on behalf of a consortium proposal with Scouts Scotland, GirlGuiding Scotland and The Boys’ Brigade Scotland, looks forward to delivering transformative change to the lives of young people in the most deprived areas throughout Scotland.

“We have planned an exciting programme to establish new voluntary led youth provision, the development of existing groups, and the delivery of leadership and skills development training to enhance the life chances of young people most in need.”

Action for Children was awarded £570,000 to further its work training young people and matching them up with employers.

Jim Cantley, the charity’s operational director, added: “Every day, we work with young people who face challenges securing sustainable employment, in order to get them job ready.

“This Cashback for Communities funding will play an important part in allowing our employability services to continue to deliver this vital support and help thousands of disadvantaged young people enter the job market.”

The initiative, which sees money seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act, has now entered its fourth phase with funding running from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2020.