Handing £138,000 of taxpayers’ cash to community groups will stop Cambridge’s young Muslims turning to extremism, according to a Guildhall chief.
Among the beneficiaries of the fund will be a scheme to encourage residents who follow Islam to try sports, which gets £31,900, and recruitment of a co-ordinator for the Bangladeshi population at a cost of £23,600.
As the News previously reported, the money was handed to the city council by the Government to encourage social cohesion and challenge radical ideologies, and the distribution of it has now been approved by members.
Cllr Tim Bick, the authority’s community development chief, said a wide range of projects had been selected.
He told the community services scrutiny committee: “This programme is not because we have a problem with armed extremism in Cambridge. In fact, on the contrary, I think we can be reasonably content that’s not the case.
“The programme before us is to decrease the chance of that happening by improving inclusion and cohesion across the whole of Cambridge.”
Cllr Bick allocated £15,000 to explore the possibility of setting up an advice service for Muslims in Cambridge, and £6,000 to the YMCA to set up a youth group which will aim to attract both Muslims and non-Muslims.
Workshops and discussions will be held on multiculturalism and Britishness, as well as activities such as sport, arts and crafts.
A report considered by the committee said £20,000 had already been spent on running the Asian Mela held on Parker’s Piece on July 10.
Small grants totalling £41,200 have already been paid out, with recipients including dance competitions, coffee mornings and film-making sessions.
Cash was also handed to English conversation classes, a monthly Muslim youth magazine, and seminars entitled “Away from Extremism”.
Labour spokeswoman Cllr Carina O’Reilly said she supported the projects.
She told the meeting: “The nature of this grant means it’s effectively a one-time only offer, so it’s important to get it right.”