A COMMUNITY charity driving down crime is a step closer to expanding its work throughout Bolton.

More than 100 people showed their support for plans to roll out the work of Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) at a public meeting two months ago.

And now six possible projects for Bolton are in the pipeline following on from the success of Breightmet’s ROC Centre.

The ROC Centre in Breightmet Community Church in Winchester Way was opened last year and has seen crime levels in the area fall, including less anti-social behaviour and less nuisance fires.

If plans go ahead a ROC Cafe youth project will be introduced at St Paul’s Church, Astley Bridge, the Breakthrough Church in Bolton town centre, Kearsley Mount Methodist Church’s Precious Gems Project, West Bolton Team Churches and Holy Trinity Churches (Churches Together Horwich).

The charity is also in talks with the police to introduce ROC Restore, a project which sees victims and perpetrators of low level crime coming together to agree on a course of action.

The scheme has already been introduced in Bury and Stockport. Debra Green OBE, the national director of ROC, said: “We would be delighted even if we had one of two more projects in Bolton. We started with one in Stockport and now we have six. We have one in Breightmet with 450 people going to it each week. We believe we have the opportunity to see one or two new projects in Bolton.

“Boredom is the most common reason for anti-social behaviour. We now have ROC cinema, ROC laundrette because people say they cannot afford to wash clothes and a homework club. We have 18 projects at Breightmet. We have been told by the police and the fire and rescue service that there is a need for more projects in Bolton.

“The fire and rescue service and the police have much support for this.”

The charity also runs ROC Care to reduce loneliness felt by some elderly people.

It is funded through grants, businesses, fundraising events and donations.

Mrs Green said the projects help to break down barriers between young people and the police or the fire service.

She said: “At one of the centres in Manchester a boy now wants to join the police when he is older after meeting a PCSO at a ROC Cafe. He plays pool with the PCSO and now wants to be in the police despite his dad being in prison.”

She said the projects allow young people and police to get to know each other and gain respect for each other.