Long: Practical help being delivered in communities thanks to assets recovery funding

Naomi Long justice

Practical help is being delivered in the heart of local communities thanks to the Department of Justice Assets Recovery Community Scheme, Alliance Justice Minister Naomi Long has said.

The Minister was speaking at an event in Belfast hosted by the Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) project, which was granted Assets Recovery Community Scheme (ARCS) funding from January 2019 to September 2021.

Naomi Long said: “The ROC approach of facilitating conversations within communities across Northern Ireland means people can work together towards safer, stronger communities. They can identify what is most needed in their own local area and how those needs can realistically be met.

“These conversations have resulted in practical help and support for those who need it most and I was really interested to hear at first hand today about the breadth of initiatives provided through ROC, from a school uniform project and a baby bank providing clothes and toys, to a memory lane church service to support people suffering with dementia and a tele-mentoring scheme to support families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

ARCS funding is sourced from the payment of confiscation orders. These are court orders made following successful prosecutions and convictions to remove wealth, whether that be money or assets, accumulated by the criminal activity linked to the conviction.

Naomi Long added: “Through the ARCS Scheme we aim not only to invest in worthwhile causes in community settings, like ROC, but also to send a strong message to those who disregard the law and cause harm to individuals and communities. Law enforcement agencies will work together to thwart criminal enterprises and remove illegal gains using asset recovery powers. ARCS not only funds projects that benefit communities, it also builds confidence in the justice system.”