Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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Local Authorities receive fresh cash injection to tackle extremism

Local Authorities receive fresh cash injection to tackle extremism

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 28 August 2009

Local authorities will receive a £7.5m funding boost to tackle Al-Qaeda influenced extremism, Communities Secretary John Denham announced today. The new funding will give them greater flexibility to support a broader range of activities to improve the effectiveness of the Prevent programme.

The extra funding backs new cross-Government guidance, also published today, which reflects feedback from local authorities and from Muslim communities. The Prevent programme, which aims to challenge any potential support for, or involvement in, Al-Qaeda type violence, has grown in strength and support over the past year.

The new guidance acknowledges that the effectiveness of the programme can be reduced if the labelling of local activities or their restriction solely to Muslim communities discourages some groups from becoming involved.

This additional funding will allow local authorities to do even more work to bring communities together to condemn violent extremism. It is in addition to existing funding to local authorities to deliver the Prevent strategy.

In recent weeks Ministers have made clear their determination to ensure that all sources of support for violent extremism are tackled consistently and effectively and further announcements will be made over the coming weeks.

Communities Secretary John Denham said:

“At the current time, the greatest terrorist threat remains that from Al-Qaeda linked violent extremism. The Prevent programme is key to our long-term success in tackling this threat.

“Prevent will only be fully effective if we respond to constructive criticisms which have come from local authorities and community organisations actively engaged in resisting violent extremism.

“It encourages local activities to avoid crude labels which discourage wide participation, and to see the promotion of activities which develop and sustain shared values - including understanding and respect for difference - as an important component of Prevent.

“Today's additional funding, and new guidance, supports this work. At the same time, we also need to tackle other potential support for violent extremism; including that from racist and fascist groups and over the coming weeks we will set out further proposals for doing so.”

Notes to editors

* The funds will be allocated through an area based grant, which will be distributed to 94 councils. The funding is additional to the £45m announced for local authorities in October 2007.
* Each recipient authority will receive an additional £18,292 in 2009/10 (82 authorities) and £63,830 in 2010/11 (94 authorities).
* Guidance on the Prevent agenda for local partners was issued in June 2008, setting out the kinds of activity local partners should be delivering and including examples of existing local activity.
* This updated guidance issued by the Home Office and COMMUNITIES AMD LOCAL GOVERNMENT reflects feedback that has been provided by local organisations and partners over the last year and highlights a number of issues which we need to address to maintain the success of the programme. The guidance is available at:
* Communities and Local Government’s work on Prevent contributes to the wider Government CONTEST strategy and reflects the recognition that a centrally-driven approach to counter-terrorism will not be effective on its own; there is a need to work in partnerships with local communities and local authorities and their partners are best placed to do it.
* At a local authority level, Prevent work started in April 2007 with the Preventing Violent Extremism Pathfinder Fund and between then and April 2011 over £61.7 million will have been provided to local authorities for work to tackle violent extremism.
* An area based grant means that the funding provided is non-ring fenced in order to provide a greater amount of flexibility locally in deciding how funds can be used. This empowers local authorities to be at the centre of decision making over which projects are best suited to the needs of their local communities.

Similar projects which currently exist include:

* Bedford council have been working with its local communities to help young people from all faiths in the build their confidence and leadership skills through sport, strengthening the ability of young people to challenge those who push extremist views.
* Tower Hamlets are supporting ‘newsnite’, a project which works with the local church to help young Muslim men air their views and have space for debate and discussion on a range of issues, including radicalisation and extremism. The format is based on the BBC current affairs show Newsnight.
* Watford has supported the Bridge of Peace, which aimed to promote understanding and acceptance of shared values and promote dialogue and engagement between Christian and Muslim communities in order to help build resistance to extremism.
* Leeds has a project called ‘bringing communities together’ which will build on the work of the Leeds Muslim Forum with the aim of increasing the engagement of young Muslims, working towards the shared citizenship agenda and empowering young Muslims to challenge extremist attitudes or behaviours. This project will develop the capacity of the Muslim community to be able to deal with challenges that arise in their communities and address extremism.
* Southwark has a programme to reach out to its Muslim and non Muslim communities which creates spaces for discussion where people can learn about Islam and differentiate religious and cultural values and ideals from concepts of political and religious extremism and violence. This specifically reaches out those who are most vulnerable to messages of extremism.

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