17th March 2017
Voluntary organisations and people who make a major contribution to their local communities and crime prevention have been given well deserved recognition and thanks at this year’s prestigious High Sheriffs’ Awards ceremony.
An organisation which provides support for vulnerable young people with learning disabilities in Chelmsford, a mentoring programme in Clacton for boys who have an absent father and a Pubwatch scheme in Rayleigh are among those receiving awards.
More than 40 voluntary and community organisations were represented at this year’s ceremony held at Hylands House in Chelmsford where trophies, certificates and grants totalling £25,804 were presented by the outgoing High Sheriff of Essex, Lorna Rolfe.
"With news generally focusing on the negative it was great to hear first hand accounts of so many positive acts happening all around us." - Yasdev Rai, Lads Need Dads
The grants came from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which was established to give credit to community initiatives which address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour, and is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).
Lorna Rolfe, who is the 836th High Sheriff of Essex, has travelled to all areas of the county during her year of office. As well as visiting a great many voluntary organisations, she visited the Courts and spent time with Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service.
She said, “It has been my privilege to spend time with all the organisations that look after our well-being. I have been warmly welcomed and have been constantly struck by their ‘can do’ approach to the many challenges they face.”
She paid tribute to the voluntary sector in Essex, “During my time as High Sheriff I have had the opportunity to meet members of the voluntary sector who tackle a wide range of issues. I have been so impressed that accentuating the positive appears to be their everyday motto and have been amazed and humbled at what they accomplish against all the odds.
“They really do make a difference and can dramatically change the lives of others for the better.”
Although an ancient role, Lorna believes that the High Sheriff can offer society much needed continuity and stability. She said, “It is a unique position offering a privileged overview of the county which enables the holder to make connections between its various and complex social strands. I feel deeply honoured to have been appointed to the role in the county of which I am so proud.”
Since it came under ECF’s management in 1997 the High Sheriffs’ Fund has distributed nearly 590 grants totalling £485,000 to voluntary and community organisations.
“ECF has been of great value to me during my year of office and the High Sheriffs’ Fund gives much needed support to the organisations helping to prevent crime and promoting community safety” said Lorna. “The Awards ceremony provides the opportunity to give them the recognition that they so rightly deserve.”
Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF, said, “We are delighted to manage the High Sheriffs’ Fund and work with successive High Sheriffs’ so that greater support can be given to the people in the county who are working hard to tackle community safety issues at a local level.”
The High Sheriffs’ Award Scheme recognises community initiatives which address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour. The office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. The High Sheriff receives no expenses and the role comes at no cost to the public purse.
To view a full list of the awards presented at this year's ceremony click here.
To view and download photos from the event click here.
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