Sir David urges places of worship in Southend West to apply for protective security fund

Southend West MP Sir David Amess has written to places of worship in the local community, setting out details of the Government’s £3.2 million Places of Worship Protective Security Fund.

The fund, which was established in 2016, is now open for the latest round of applications. It helps place of worship such as churches, mosques, gurdwaras, temples and associated faith community centres with funding to improve physical security. This can include more secure gates, locks, alarms and CCTV in order to deter and prevent hate crime attacks.

The fund was simplified and expanded following the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, last year, with the total funding doubled to £3.2 million. Since its introduction more than 180 grants have been awarded helping 76 churches,75 mosques, 23 gurdwaras and nine Hindu temples.

In his letter, Sir David thanked local faith leaders for all they have done to support the local community throughout the coronavirus outbreak. Places of worship have been closed in order to protect public health, although they are now able to admit people for individual prayer.

Commenting, Sir David said: “Everybody in Southend West has the right to worship without fear of attack or hateful discrimination. If any place of worship in our community feels at risk from hate crimes or attack, I would urge them to apply for this important funding to improve security measures. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has reminded us all of the importance of faith to so many people, and this Conservative Government is determined to keep our places of worship, which give so much back to our community, safe.”

Also commenting, Minister for Countering Extremism Baroness Williams said: “During this global pandemic, personal faith has been a source of comfort and strength for many. I would urge all places of worship who feel they are vulnerable to hate crime to apply for the fund, and as a government we will do all we can to make your congregations feel safe and protected.”