Ayr's MSP has praised the difference local charities make to South Ayrshire and Scotland.

Independent charity Crimestoppers and their youth service Fearless have launched a nationwide project celebrating the difference local charities make to communities across Scotland.

The charity’s project is backed by Siobhian Brown, Ayr's constituency MSP, who was recently appointed as the Scottish Government's minister for victims and community safety.

Supported by Network Rail Scotland, the charity is giving a dozen local groups with charitable status a chance to receive £500 to spend on creating a special day this summer.

The grants will be given to six youth-focused groups and six adult-focused groups.

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Winners will then be invited to join the charity along with representatives from Scottish Government, Police Scotland and other community safety and justice partners to celebrate the ongoing contribution of smaller, grassroots charities in helping to build safer communities at a special event in October. 

Ms Brown said: “Charities and community organisations play a fundamental part in helping local communities to thrive.

"They help to create safer places for people to live – and provide a stronger structure which supports members to re-integrate and recover from offending.

“Crimestoppers and Fearless Scotland allow people to speak up 100 per cent anonymously to help prevent and solve crime and this funding will help to shine a light on the vital work that these grassroot organisations play in keeping Scotland safe – with recorded crimes reaching their lowest level since 1974.”

Lyndsay McDade, national youth projects coordinator at the Crimestoppers, said: "Both myself and the Crimestoppers Scotland national manager have worked in the charity sector for the duration of our professional careers.

"We have seen first hand the difference youth workers, community workers and local charities make to so many lives every single day.

“That’s why this summer, instead of our usual campaigns, we want to share our resources and let them lead because they know their communities best.

"This project celebrates the amazing work that charities do whilst encouraging them to embed Crimestoppers and Fearless within their service offering. 

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"Knowing that you don't need to put up with something and that there's a tangible way to reduce and report crime and improve lives within your community is really important for people of all ages across Scotland- young and old.

Christine McDougall, communications director with Network Rail Scotland, said: “Scotland’s Railway has partnered with Crimestoppers and Fearless for many years now and we are fully behind the new Celebrating Communities project.

"We’ve already supported several campaigns to raise awareness around the dangers of railway crime and the devastating impact it has on communities. 

"It’s so important people know how to speak up anonymously to report unsafe or criminal behaviours and activities."

Applications can be submitted, and more information found, at https://crimestoppers-uk.org/celebrating-our-communities