THE government’s ambition to eradicate female genital mutilation within a generation is “wishful thinking” says a Bolton charity.

The government has given the council £10,305 to raise awareness about female genital mutilation but this is not enough says Ibrahim Ismail of Bolton Solidarity Community Association (BSCA).

The money is part of a £375,000 fund for councils from the local government department on the back of the government plan set out in 2016 when Theresa May was Home Secretary, to end FGM within a generation.

Mr Ismail said: "There's a big challenge in the future. There's people that continue to settle in Bolton. It's been happening since the times of Ancient Egypt, so for people to say it's going to be eradicated in a generation is wishful thinking.

"I think more is needed definitely. If they were really serious ­— to get to the root of it and eradicate it as a practice more resources are needed."

There were 175 instances of female genital mutilation recorded in Bolton last year (2017/18), the second highest in Greater Manchester, behind the city centre.

FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985 but still continues.

The department for housing, communities and local government suggests councils use the money to promote online resources and support services and to help engage with communities.

BSCA runs projects to tackle FGM in Bolton, raising awareness of the issue within affected communities and also teaching professionals, like doctors, nurses and police officers about the signs and how to talk about it.

They also have community champions who are members of the public trained to talk about FGM in their community.

Mr Ismail said: "Community groups and communities themselves are absolutely key. If you don't get that it drives the practice underground."

The high number of cases reported in Bolton are due to the diversity of the town's population said Mr Ismail but also because people were more confident in reporting the crime.

BSCA works closely Bolton Council to tackle FGM in the town. Mr Ismail said: "Bolton has been one of the more enlightened councils in Greater Manchester in terms of approaching this. They have been very proactive."