Report by Andrew Brown on behalf of the Southport Conservatives
  • The Conservative Government is providing £3.2 million to improve security at places of worship at risk from hate crime attacks 
  • Damien Moore has written to places of worship in Southport to urge them to apply

Southport MP Damien Moore 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, Damien Moore 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, Damien Moore said: 

“I believe that everyone in Southport has the right to worship where they want without fear of attack or hateful discrimination. 

“Since this fund was launched I am pleased to see that it has helped dozens of churches, mosques,  gurdwaras and Hindu temples to make themselves more secure. We are here to help. 

“I would urge any place of worship in Southport that feels at risk from hate crimes or attack to please apply for this important funding.

“Places of worship in Southport were able to reopen this week for private prayer and I know from my correspondence that this is something which will provide great comfort to so many people at this time. I hope to see more restrictions on our places of worship eased as cases of Coronavirus continue to fall. 

“The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has reminded us all of the importance of faith to so many residents, in many different ways. This Conservative Government is determined to keep our places of worship safe.”

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.”

Full details of the application scheme can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/places-of-worship-security-funding-scheme. Places of worship  have until 9 August to make an application.