FOREIGN secretary Dominic Raab made his way to the Peace Centre during his visit to Warrington today, Tuesday.

The site, off Cromwell Avenue, is home to the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation, which promotes peace and non-violent conflict resolution.

The charity was set up after the tragic deaths of 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Johnathan Ball following the IRA bombing in Warrington town centre in March 1993.

Founders Colin and Wendy Parry, as well as chief executive Nick Taylor, spoke to Mr Raab.

He was also welcomed by Andy Carter, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Warrington South, Wendy Maisey, the party’s parliamentary candidate for Warrington North, and Tory borough councillor Kath Buckely.

Warrington Guardian:

Mr Taylor confirmed around 80 per cent of the foundation’s funding comes from central Government – primarily from the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

However, crucial services provided by the charity are at risk due to cuts in the funding.

But Mr Raab says he is happy to ‘lock horns’ with Mr Taylor to see what can be done to provide support.

“I think you have got a fantastic and inspirational set-up here,” said the foreign secretary.

“I think the family story, but also the practical work they are doing with youngsters, is really important.

“We have been clear on things like security, counter-terrorism, law enforcement – we are going to take a really robust approach.

“But you also need to have the groups working in the communities that can take those young people who are at risk and divert them away, so there will be a case for looking at groups like this and seeing what funding can be done.”

Warrington Guardian:

Mr Taylor also provided an update on the situation facing the organisation.

He said: “We are currently negotiating on what the funding might look like from April next year with the Home Office.

“But, unfortunately, we have been told the money from the MoJ will be stopping at the end of March – that money is to provide a support service for victims of terrorism in the United Kingdom.

“So, unfortunately, it looks almost certain that we are going to have to stop providing that service from April 1.”

Prior to Boris Johnson becoming the Tory leader and Prime Minister, Mr Raab had thrown his hat into the ring in the battle for the leadership.

And he was asked whether he still has ambitions to take the top job.

He said: “No, I’m not worried about any of that.

“I’m focused on one thing, which is getting fantastic candidates, like we have got here, elected and getting Boris Johnson and the Conservatives a majority.

“The reason is because, frankly, the individuals don’t matter.

“What matters is this country moving forward and the communities here feeling like we can get out of this Brexit Groundhog Day and get it resolved in a way which, I think, gives effect to the referendum but in a positive way, with a deal with the EU on trade, on security, but also get onto talking about all the other things.”

Mr Raab says Mr Johnson has his ‘full support’ and believes the Prime Minister’s ‘optimism and fizz’ can be felt on the doorsteps.

Mr Carter said: “Every day, people want to talk about Boris – they see leadership, they see there is a message of positive development in the Brexit story, but also in other things.

“We want a new hospital in Warrington, that is a priority to move onto as soon as Brexit is done.”

Furthermore, Mr Raab, said he ‘tightened up’ the national planning policy framework while he was housing minister, one of his former roles.

And he insists the Government is ‘clear’ over development in the green belt.

“Obviously, it’s for the local councils to make their choices and typically what they’ll tend to do is blame central Government,” he added.

“But I think voters are cannier than that, particularly in places like Warrington.”