Launch of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit and Violence Reduction Fund

The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has officially launched today (Tuesday, 1 October 2019) with £1.6m of Home Office funding.

The Unit will be working to prevent and reduce violence across South Yorkshire, including knife crime.

The Violence Reduction Unit is based at Shepcote Lane in Sheffield and will work with key partner agencies across South Yorkshire.

In the first stage of its work the Violence Reduction Unit will:

  • produce a ‘problem profile’, identifying the people and places involved in violence and
  • set out a long-term strategy with partners to tackle the root causes of violence
  • invite groups to bid for funding for projects from a Violence Reduction Fund (VRF)

The Violence Reduction Unit will take a ‘public health’ approach to violence, treating it like a disease by tackling the causes of violence and not simply dealing with it after crimes have been committed.

The Violence Reduction Unit Executive Board is chaired by Dr Alan Billings, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and consists of representatives of the four local authorities – Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield – South Yorkshire Police, Public Health England, Education sector representatives, South Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, Youth Offending Teams and community, faith and voluntary sector organisations.

To mark the launch of the Violence Reduction Fund, the Commissioner is inviting local community groups and organisations to submit ideas for projects up to the value of £20,000 which could help reduce the number of people at risk of being drawn into violence or to draw people away from violence.

Funding is available to organisations who can demonstrate their commitment and support, working on:

  • primary prevention – stopping violence before it begins,
  • secondary prevention – halting the progression of violence as early as possible and
  • tertiary prevention – providing a way out for people with established violent behaviour.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “In recent years, violent behaviour has had a devastating impact on too many lives in South Yorkshire.

“It has left families grieving. It has made many young people anxious and some communities fearful.

“I believe the Violence Reduction Unit will have a significant impact in reducing violence, not least because it brings so many partners together absolutely determined to make a lasting difference.

“The Violence Reduction Fund enables organisations to work with us to keep young people in particular away from violence in the first place or to get offenders away from violence if they want to turn their lives around.

“I invite organisations working with young people, or supporting people with substance or alcohol issues, or with those involved in the criminal justice system at any stage to contact us.

“This funding offers an opportunity for groups and organisations to leave a legacy for future generations and establish a structure to continue their work.

“We need the help of the voluntary and third sector organisations to help us identify the root causes of violence by identifying the issues young people face today and addressing them before they result in violence.”

Applications for funding can be made for projects from £5,000 to £20,000 by non-profit and voluntary organisations based and working in South Yorkshire.

Rachel Staniforth, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit said: “We are very excited to be launching the Violence Reduction Fund in South Yorkshire.

“The fund is an excellent opportunity for a wide range of services and organisations to try something new with young people and adults.

“Our communities know what they need and what they don’t have enough of.  The Violence Reduction Fund gives community organisations the opportunity to start to implement some of that – maybe by strengthening existing offers or by creating something different.

“The causes of violence are wide ranging and as such we would love to see a broad range of applications in to the fund.”

The closing date for applications is midday on Thursday, 31 October and successful applicants will be notified in mid-November.

For more information on the Violence Reduction Fund and how to apply, visit