AFTER four years on the road focusing on community safety issues, Fenland District Council’s CrimeBUSter has undergone a major revamp to enable it to provide more services.

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It will continue to be used to help tackle crime and disorder. But from the middle of next month it will also take on a wider community role.

The change comes as a result of a successful application to the Big Lottery Fund.

The bus has been converted into a New Horizons outreach vehicle that will deliver a new, £1million, five-year project aimed particularly at helping social housing tenants to build skills and confidence in managing their money.

The Making Money Count project involves many agencies, led by Roddons Housing Association but with FDC, the CHS Group (formerly the Cambridge Housing Society) and the Citizens Advice Bureau having key roles to play in making it a success.

The biggest change to the vehicle’s interior is the creation of a confidential space and mobile ICT training suite, which will increase the partners’ ability to offer a range of courses, financial advice, tips on budgeting and employability skills.

Councillor David Oliver, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for community safety and chairman of the Fenland Community Safety Partnership (CSP), said: “The flexibility of the CrimeBUSter has meant Fenland District Council has been able to respond to the needs of rural communities in many different ways over the past four years.

“It has been invaluable to the work of the CSP and that will continue. But now it has the ability to do more.

“Its versatility has greatly impressed community members and partner organisations and that was an essential element in bolstering the bid to the Big Lottery Fund.

“The new vehicle has been redesigned to enhance that flexibility and give it more of a community feel. Now we’re encouraging agencies and residents to actively promote this new project.”

Funding has come from the Big Lottery Fund’s Improving Financial Confidence programme.

Since its introduction in 2009 the CrimeBUSter has been the flagship for the Community Safety Partnership, delivering community safety messages to rural communities and primary schools and supporting town centre events.

It has attended 550 events and enabled FDC, the police and fire services and Roddons to deliver practical help and advice to more than 12,000 people.

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