The last few months have proven the important of faith to so many people, particularly here in our local community. Many have done amazing things to support the most vulnerable during these difficult times.
The Places of Worship Protective Scheme, which was introduced in 2016, allows for places of worship to receive funding to improve physical security. This can include more secure gates, locks, alarms and CCTV in order to deter and prevent hate crime attacks.
It is a sad fact of life that many of these measures are necessary. The scheme was simplified and expanded following the horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch in 2019, with the Government doubling the amount of funding available to £3.2 million. So far, more than 180 grants have been awarded, which have helped 76 churches, 75 mosques, 23 gurdwaras and 9 Hindu temples. Applications are now open for applications until 9 August. Full details can be found here.
Having campaigned for security funding for places of worship in my early years in Parliament, I am proud that this fund continues, with the next round of applications open until 9 August.
In addition to the scheme, the Home Office has also opened a consultation to review what else can be done to protect faith institutions, while ensuring a balance is struck between worshipping openly without fear and providing adequate security measures. I very much look forward to the findings of that review, which will be released in due course.