A STAFFORDSHIRE Moorlands-based world Ju Jitsu champion is helping fight against crime by educating the public in self-defence skills.
Tara Burndred, from Oakamoor, has received backing for her venture from the county police and crime commissioner's Proceeds of Crime Fund.
She is the founder of community interest company 'BREATHE UK Training', and hopes the charity's First Step project will educate participants via teaching 'situational awareness' sessions and self-defence classes.
Based on Blythe Business Park, Cresswell, the project will work in partnership with Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire housing associations, Neighbourhood Watch and other organisations.
The sessions will focus on potentially dangerous scenarios, such as taxi-usage and road rage, whereas the self-defence classes will teach participants the ancient art of Ju Jitsu as a last means of defence.
The Proceeds of Crime Fund launched by PCC Matthew Ellis is supporting projects in conjunction with local policing teams and local authorities.
It is made up of assets and money seized by police from criminals in Staffordshire under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The bids have to demonstrate a clear connection with reducing crime and fit into one of the commissioner's four priority areas: intervening early, putting victims first, preventing offending and re-offending, and improving public confidence.
Mr Ellis said: "For the first time, 100 per cent of funding that comes back to Staffordshire Police from proceeds of crime seizures is going directly to local communities.
" Projects like this benefit both the user and the wider-community in a positive way.
"By raising people's awareness to potentially dangerous situations, we can intervene early, stopping certain crimes from ever occurring."
Project leader Tara, a third Dan black belt and World Council of Ju Jitsu Organisation champion, who has competed for both Great Britain and England over a 30 year period, will be teaching the self-defence classes.
She said: "The police commissioner's fund has enabled this fantastic project to begin, giving the participants access to world class instructors and facilities.
"Our aim is to work with the community, schools and guide/scout groups in the area to promote personal awareness and self-defence.
"It's always been a dream of mine to pass on the knowledge I have gained over the years and the commissioner's Proceeds of Crime Fund has made it a reality."
The project has received £3,250 to purchase specialist equipment including floor mats, punch bags and grappling dummies. The awareness sessions will take place upon request, whilst the self-defence classes will be taught on Wednesday evenings.
Anyone interested in attending can contact Tara on 07742 240973.