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European Solidarity fund to support projects with €145 million in 2024

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European Solidarity fund to support projects with €145 million in 2024
Programme is open to people between 18 and 35 for volunteering in support of humanitarian aid activities outside of the EU

Volunteering activities will get a major boost in 2024 thanks to a new funding opportunity that the Commission launched this month. A new call for proposals under the European Solidarity Corps, covering 2024, will support young people across the EU and beyond who wish to engage in solidarity activities. Areas covered range from social inclusion actions to helping people with fewer opportunities, contributing to the green and digital transitions, democratic participation and addressing health related challenges.

For 2024, the Commission adjusted the funding model of European Solidarity Corps and raised grant amounts to ease the impact of inflation and to ensure that the budget for projects remained sufficient. In addition, the new call provides incentives for green travel.

The new call also aims to support Ukraine, which continues to defend itself against the Russian invasion. Dedicated European Solidarity Corps projects will support people fleeing the war.

The indicative budget for 2024 is €145 million. It will fund volunteering, youth-led solidarity projects, volunteering teams in high priority areas, and the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, which contributes to humanitarian aid efforts across the world.

The programme is open to people between 18 and 30 for solidarity activities addressing societal challenges, and between 18 and 35 for volunteering in support of humanitarian aid activities outside of the EU. Young people wishing to engage in European Solidarity Corps activities need to register on the European Solidarity Corps portal, where they can browse and find participating organisations. Groups of young people registered in the Portal may also apply for funding for solidarity projects they lead.

Any public or private body may apply for funding to carry out activities under the European Solidarity Corps based on a quality label, which certifies that they are able to carry out high quality solidarity activities in line with programme principles, objectives, and requirements. They can apply via European Solidarity Corps National Agencies based in all EU Member States and associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Republic of North Macedonia, and Türkiye) or – for centrally-managed actions such as volunteering teams in high priority areas or the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps – via the European Education and Culture Executive Agency.

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Officers implement new tactics to protect women in central London

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Officers implement new tactics to protect women in central London
On a recent patrol officers stopped eight men who raised suspicions, subsequently arresting six of them for offenses

Met officers patrolling the London West End are now using new training to identify predatory behavior, addressing concerns for the safety of women and girls.

The training, originally developed for counter-terrorism policing, equips officers to spot signs and behavioral cues of potential offenders. It has been rolled out to officers patrolling London streets to protect women and girls at risk of violence.

This initiative is part of the Met’s proactive operation, ‘Project Vigilant’, where officers conduct plain-clothed patrols, monitor live CCTV, and have uniformed officers on standby to respond and intervene when necessary.

“The Met is committed in tackling sexual offenders and rebuilding trust amongst women and girls in local communities. It is devastating that women and girls are not able to enjoy a night out with friends due to the potential harm they could face at the hands of predatory men. We remain focused in creating a safe space for women and girls and encourage all victims of violence or sexual violence come forward to help bring offenders to justice,” says Sargeant Augustine Anyaegbuna of the Westminster neighbourhood team.

On the most recent Vigilant patrol, officers stopped eight men who raised suspicions. Six of these were subsequently arrested for offenses including sexual assault, drug possession, robbery, and theft.

Beyond the streets of the capital, domestic abuse remains a significant issue across the country. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, an estimated 2.1 million people aged 16 and over (1.4 million women and 751,000 men) experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2023.

However, the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows a slight decrease in domestic abuse-related prosecutions. There were 51,288 prosecutions in England and Wales for the year ending March 2023, down from 53,207 in the previous year.

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Channel 4’s Writers Scheme Welcomes 20 UK Authors

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Channel 4's New Writers Scheme Welcomes 20 UK Authors
Twenty people from across the UK have joined a Channel 4 scheme designed to work with TV drama writers

Twenty people from across the UK have joined a Channel 4 scheme designed to work with TV drama writers in the West and South West of England and Wales, North of England, and Scotland – providing them with months of expert industry training, mentoring and support to develop their first pilot episode-spec script.

4Skills launched this year’s New Writers Scheme last week with an aim to nurture underrepresented writing talent, focussing on diverse, regional and authentic voices who have a flair for television drama.

Following the successful pilot in the West and South West of England in 2022, the programme has since expanded to work with participants located near Channel 4’s regional hubs: Bristol, Glasgow and Leeds. The writers will benefit from nine months of expert industry training and mentoring from scripted indies and a script editor, alongside feedback from Channel 4. 

As part of the kick-off, screenwriters from the regional hubs met at Channel 4’s Leeds office for three days of introductions, writing tips and training with NFTS trainer Hannah Robinson and heard from the experts including Nicola Shindler, Danny Brocklehurst, Helen Black and Director of Film4 & Channel 4 Drama, Ollie Madden.

“It was very exciting to meet with such a talented group of writers, who all bring an incredible depth of creativity, specificity and passion to their projects. I am truly looking forward to seeing how this year’s cohort develop their skills in the months ahead,” says Ollie Madden, Director of Film4 & Channel 4 Drama. 

The New Writers Scheme is funded and developed by 4Skills with Channel 4 Drama and supported by the BFI NETWORK (Film Hub South West and Film Hub North) alongside support from Screen Scotland. 

The initiative is one of many projects being supported by 4Skills, which provided more than 57,000 learning, training or development opportunities in 2023.

Kevin Blacoe, Channel 4’s Head of Partnerships & Skills, Nations & Regions said:

4Skills is designed to open doors for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds and various regions across the UK, providing opportunities for those who typically wouldn’t have access to the behind-the-scenes world of television.

By guiding them as they advance in their careers, we are also investing in the future of television. Our goal is to ensure that every voice, both on-screen and off, is heard and valued.”

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Go North East sponsor Durham Cricket’s Visually Impaired Team

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Go North East sponsor Durham Cricket's Visually Impaired Team
Durham’s Visually Impaired Cricket Team now plays in the England and Wales Cricket Board Development League | Photo: Gavin Forster

Go North East has announced the continuation of its partnership with Durham Cricket as the front-of-shirt sponsor of their Visually Impaired team until 2025.

First founded in June 2007, Durham’s Visually Impaired Cricket Team now plays in the England and Wales Cricket Board Development League, against 11 other teams.

Visually Impaired (VI) cricket is a specially adapted version of the game that is suitable for anyone with a visual impairment – whether partially sighted or totally blind.

Ben Maxfield, Business Director, commented, “We are thrilled to be supporting the Visually Impaired Team at Durham Cricket again this year. At Go North East, we are dedicated to making our services accessible to everyone, and our buses are equipped with next-stop audio announcements to assist visually impaired passengers. This sponsorship is a natural extension of our commitment to inclusivity and supporting our community. We look forward to seeing the team’s success in the coming season.”

Tom Seymour, the Commercial Director for Durham Cricket said, “We are delighted to have Go North East, a local company connecting the region, renew their partnership and sponsorship of the Visually Impaired Team.”

He continued, “We’d like to thank them for their continued support for this programme and further showing the commitment we have here at Durham Cricket in creating an inclusive and welcoming space in the sport.”

For more information about the team, visit Visually Impaired Cricket – Durham Cricket

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