Waterlees grant to reward youths

WATERLEES Ward in Wisbech is being given £6,000 by Cambs Fire Service to set up three new youth projects in a bid to tackle the issue of arson.

Figures show there are more deliberate fires in Waterlees than anywhere else in the area and Cambs Fire is trying to change the attitudes of youngsters before they start setting fires.

It is planned to set up a new Scout group, dance group and karate club to reward children and teenagers who behave themselves.

Wisbech Town Council has agreed to take the £6,000 of funding to enable the projects to happen.

At Monday night’s council meeting, councillors discussed the proposal, although some were unhappy that it was to be used solely in Waterlees.

Nick Meekins said he would feel uncomfortable taking money from the fire service when they are talking about making cuts and added: “Arson happens all over the place, not just in Waterlees.”

But Virginia Bucknor, who is the ward councillor for Waterlees, supported the idea and said: “This is a great opportunity. It is not any extra work for the town council to do – we are just a repository for the funds – and it is not taking money away from front-line services.”

Samantha Hoy explained that it would be a pilot project that could be rolled out in other areas if successful. She added that if the town council did not accept the money, it would vanish.

Councillors voted in favour of accepting the money, with the exception of Mr Meekins who abstained.