High Sheriffs’ Awards recognises our unsung heroes

4th March 2021

The prestigious High Sheriffs’ Awards were announced on Wednesday, March 3, in a live programme broadcast by BBC Essex.

COVID-19 restrictions made it impossible to hold the event at its usual venue, Hylands House in Chelmsford, but the High Sheriff of Essex, Julie Fosh, was determined that the show would go on.

The ceremony, being held on the radio for the first time ever, lost none of its kudos and high-profile recognition was given to local charities tackling crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour.

A knife crime education programme for young people, an organisation providing work experience to ex-offenders and a specialist support scheme for victims of modern slavery were among those to receive awards.

A total of 23 local organisations received grants totalling over £42,000 from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

For Julie Fosh, the awards were the culmination of her successful year of office at a time like no other in the long history of High Sheriffs of Essex.

She said: “It was so important that this annual thank you to the voluntary sector did not fall to the wayside in the wake of COVID-19. The idea to go live on the radio was brilliant, as everyone could still hear about the vital work groups are doing across the county and it was an opportunity for us to come together, over the airwaves, to celebrate something positive.”

The two-hour radio show was hosted by Steve Scruton and Ian Wyatt. Julie Fosh, Nick Alston, Chair of ECF and B J Harrington, Chief Constable of Essex, joined them on air to talk to grant recipients and award winners.

Alongside the grants, special awards were presented to five organisations:

  • The High Sheriffs’ Cup was awarded to The Gifted Organisation for their work delivering online confidence and skills building sessions for young women living in Harlow, Ongar and West Essex.
  • The Essex County Council Bowl was won by Justice and Care who work with Essex Police to increasing the provision of specialised support to victims of modern slavery.
  • The Essex County Fire & Rescue Shield went to Red Balloon Family Foundation for their intervention programme helping young people in Epping Forest district who are at risk of criminal exploitation.
  • The Essex Police Cup was awarded to St Giles Trust for the preventative sessions on violence, vulnerability,and exploitation they provide to pupils in seven Essex schools.
  • The High Sheriffs’ Shield went to Ormiston Families for their work helping children across Essex to deal with having a parent or carer in prison.

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF, said: “The Awards is such an inspiring event and one of my favourite nights of the year. Although we were hugely disappointed that we couldn’t bring everyone together for our in-person event, we are so grateful to BBC Essex for making it possible to still recognise and commend the charities’ work.

“The voluntary sector has had an incredibly tough time over the past year, so we are urging any organisations in need of financial support for their work to get in touch with us. We may be able to help.”

View a list of all organisations that received grants from the High Sheriffs’ Fund here.

To view and download photos of the High Sheriff of Essex with certificates and trophies for each of the groups, visit our Flickr page here.

You can listen back to the show on BBC Essex online here.