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High Sheriff Awards 2024

The 29th Annual Hertfordshire High Sheriff Awards took place on Tuesday 26th March in the wonderful setting of Micklefield Hall.

This year’s Awards focused on recognising and celebrating Hertfordshire voluntary groups and charities working with people within the High Sheriff's theme of ‘reading, writing and rehabilitation’.

Liz said, “I feel extremely privileged to have represented Hertfordshire as High Sheriff during my year in office. Many of us take reading for granted and I decided to highlight the problems faced on a daily basis by those with low literacy. From trying to read instructions on a medicine bottle, to understanding a utility bill or navigating a bus timetable – seemingly easy tasks, yet over 20% of Hertfordshire residents will struggle.

 

“It has been an enlightening and rewarding year and I have met many wonderful charities and voluntary groups across the whole of Hertfordshire who do so much to help vulnerable individuals. 

 

“Members of the judging panel were inspired by all the nominations we received, and it was an extremely difficult job to shortlist the winners of a 2024 High Sheriff Award. I am delighted to have been able to celebrate some of the very special people and organisations for the outstanding work they do in our county.”

The groups recognised for their work in supporting literacy were:

  • Community Action Dacorum, based in Hemel Hempstead, for their work supporting the local community and how they bring people together, in particular their ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) training and their use of Radio Dacorum to provide oracy and literacy development to individuals with learning difficulties. 

  • HAWA Multicultural Services CIC (Hertfordshire Asian Women’s Association), based in St Albans, for their support of women with their literacy skills through practical courses and role play in a nurturing, fun and supportive environment. Their efforts are specifically tailored to the diverse needs of ethnically diverse communities, ensuring inclusivity and cultural sensitivity in their approach.

  • Watford Workshop, based in Watford, for their packing and assembly business which provides employment, skills, training, and support for disabled people. They were also recognised for their 'Life Skills' training initiative which provides literacy education to people with learning disabilities, bridging the gap for those who often depart from formal education with limited skills.

 

 

 

The following groups were recognised for their achievements in supporting people experiencing homelessness

  • New Hope, based in Watford, for their personalised support to help people escape homelessness for good and moving into their own homes and tenancy sustainment.  The support includes street outreach, a drop-in centre, emergency accommodation, accommodation for people in recovery from alcohol and substance misuse, creative therapies and support for wellbeing, mental health, addiction. 

  • Herts Young Homeless, based in Hatfield, for their advice, support and information to young people who are homeless, or threatened with homelessness, and their families to ensure that young people have a safe home from which they can grow and thrive. 

  • DENS, based in Hemel Hempstead, for their support of people with complex needs and experiences, such as alcohol/drug dependency, domestic abuse, childhood trauma, mental health issues and lived prison experience. Their services help in rebuilding lives and include a Day Centre and Outreach, emergency and short-term accommodation, Life Skills courses, one to one and group counselling. 

The following groups were recognised for their achievements in supporting vulnerable individuals

  • Christopher James Hall Foundation, for their work in using photography as a means to transform lives and empower individuals to overcome challenges and build a brighter future.

  • Verso Care, Vineyard Church, St Albans based, for the tools they provide to help people become independent. Services include a foodbank, a uniform bank and providing work experience to individuals who are leaving prison. 

  • Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline, based in Welwyn Garden City, for their free and confidential support for anyone affected by domestic abuse and their work in educating and raising awareness of the different types of domestic abuse.

  • Women of Grace, Bishop Stortford, for their work in raising awareness about the harmful practices of Female Genital Mutilation and Honour Based Violence and aiming to provide guidance, support, and building resilience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In recognition of their outstanding work each organisation received a financial contribution funded through the High Sheriff’s Fund, a charitable fund managed by grant making charity, Hertfordshire Community Foundation.

In addition to the High Sheriff Awards, some non-monetary High Sheriff Personal Awards were also presented to the following people: 

Francesca Sayer, for the vital part she plays in the Witness Service at St Albans Crown Court. For over 3 years she has consistently uplifted victims, witnesses, and colleagues with her unwavering positivity and exemplary support for the vulnerable in our society.

 

Camp Unity in recognition of their week-long overnight camping experience for local children in Borehamwood, many of whom are experiencing their first time away from family. The camp promotes cultural exchange, teamwork, and friendship, fostering diversity celebration and community cohesion.

 

Radhika Wahal who volunteers for the charity Silver Stories, connecting young "Silver Readers" with older "Silver Listeners" to read to them once a week. At just 9 years old, Radhika's dedication to Michael, 75, and Margaret, 80, highlights her commitment to combating loneliness through reading.

 

Janet Tyler, a teacher, volunteers for Silver Stories, supporting Silver readers in her school and supervising calls. She has built strong relationships with 'Silver Listeners,' past and present, regularly contacting them and sending treats, exemplifying a caring and supportive volunteer.

Rhoda Amezado who founded Ngorli CIC in Watford to enhance children's academic performance. Through Friday evening and Saturday tutoring in literacy and numeracy they aim to raise awareness and utilise opportunities to promote children's knowledge.

DI Tony Fontenelle, from Hertfordshire Constabulary, who chairs HBAPA (Hertfordshire Black and Asian Police Association) while working as a Detective Inspector in the Operational Intelligence team. With his leadership, he mentors 120+ officers and staff from minority backgrounds, fostering belonging in the Constabulary, thus enhancing diversity and inclusion.

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