Leeds asks Home Office for funds to tackle extremism

Vital Projects to ward vulnerable Leeds youngsters away from the threat of radicalisation could gain hundreds of thousands of pounds in Government funding.

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP. Credit: PA.
Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP. Credit: PA.

Leeds City Council has named 10 organisations it wants to receive Home Office support to build critical thinking skills and give young people “an ability to refute extremist messages and ideology” during 2018-19, according to a report.

As part of the Government’s anti-terror Contest strategy, the council is legally obliged to help work towards its Prevent goal of averting extremism – and Leeds has been one of a number of “priority areas” since 2008.

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The council has approved 10 organisations which could benefit from grants of £222,837 in total.

But the projects and funding agreements would firstly need to be signed off by Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP.

Groups running projects which have been put forward for grant support are Leeds Refugee Forum, Shantona Women’s Centre, Leeds Street Team, Street Work Soccer Academy, One Formation, Odd Arts, St Giles Trust and Peace Museum.

UK Youth and Parent Zone have also been listed, but would be managed centrally by the Home Office. Nahid Rasool, chief executive officer of Shantona Women’s Centre in Harehills, said the money would help to branch out its Conversations About Radicalisation project with mothers to new areas of the city.

She said: “It would open parents’ eyes and they will understand the danger and improve communication with their children.”

The council report reads: “Given the national severe threat risk, an attack is highly likely, and given the five terrorist incidents that took place in the UK in 2017 as well as a number of plots that have been disrupted since then, it is imperative that Leeds has a fit for purpose Prevent programme in place to ensure that Leeds residents are not drawn towards such activity and that vulnerable individuals are engaged with to protect and support them from being drawn towards radicalisation.”