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VOLUNTARY groups in Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire are urged to apply for a slice of £5.5m to help fight crime.

The Home Office has set up the Community Action Against Crime Innovation Fund.

It is designed to bring people together and encourage new and ways of working to tackle crime.

Crime prevention and anti-social behaviour minister Baroness Browning said: ‘Voluntary groups play a vital role in empowering communities to work together to tackle the crime and antisocial behaviour that blights many of our towns and cities.

‘This new funding will help us to drive up action, encourage more creative solutions and build safer neighbourhoods.’

National voluntary sector bodies can also to bid for £550,000 through the Support and Modernisation Fund.

The closing date for applications is September 23 for national bodies and December 1 for the Community Action Against Crime Innovation Fund. Visit homeoffice.gov.uk.