Criminals’ cash funds play project

CASH confiscated from Scotland’s criminals is helping local agencies to support some of the county’s youngest children.

The Just Play project is a three-year pilot partnership lead jointly by Angus Council and Tayside Police.

The initiative has received funding of £350,000 from the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme which was launched in 2007 and directs the proceeds of crime back to community projects across the country.

Just Play has a major emphasis on play activity for 0-3 year olds and targets families and young children who live in deprived or vulnerable situations.

Angus education spokesman Peter Nield said: “It is recognised that introducing purposeful play activities in the early years, reduces the likelihood of young people becoming involved in antisocial behaving and offending later in life.

“Just Play will complement and build on existing work within Angus. The funding represents a significant investment in early years services in Angus and will ultimately bring benefits to the whole Angus Community.”

The project will initially target families in the Arbroath area with a view to expanding to other areas of Angus during the three year period.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “CashBack puts the boot into criminals and their ill-gotten gains, reinvesting bad money for good purposes to build better, safer and healthier communities.

“Since CashBack launched in June 2007, the Scottish Government has invested almost £44 million into projects that have benefited some 600,000 young people across Scotland by giving them something purposeful and constructive to do getting them off the streets and on the path to a better way of life.”

Early years staff from public, private and voluntary sector agencies attended an event at Angus College recently to raise awareness and share information on the initiative.

The event also provided opportunities for partners to discuss and consider early years services within Arbroath and surrounding area.