Last evening, the High Sheriff Awards 2017 publicly recognised and rewarded eleven organisations for their effective partnership working. The awards were held at County Hall in Hertford and celebrated the excellent work of Hertfordshire’s voluntary and community sector. This year the awards focused on partnership working within the voluntary sector and between the voluntary and public or private sectors.
This year’s High Sheriff awards celebrated effective teamwork. We asked partnerships to show how they were achieving more by working together and the response was fantastic. There were 44 entries for the awards, amounting to over three times the number received in previous years, and they were all of a very high calibre!
We gave a special award for potential to the Hertford and Ware Police Cadets for their ACHIEVE CARE project, which reduces social isolation of older people through cadets visiting care homes. During the visits, the cadets play games, talk to the residents and use technology to build memory clouds for each resident. RAPPAW therapy dogs also visit the care homes to provide further stimulation, therapy and support. The cadets gain valuable skills, knowledge and experience towards their own self development. The partnership includes Network Homes, Quantum Care, Sanctuary Housing Association, RAPPAW and TeamHerts Volunteering.
In third place, we had Small Acts of Kindness, a rapidly growing organisation that sources and distributes gifts to older, often lonely and isolated people in Hertfordshire. Working with their partners, they identify recipients for the gift bags, source and secure funding, organise purchasing, storage, packing and distribution. Their projects include ‘Warm in Winter’ gift bags which contain a large fleecy blanket, thermal socks, hat and gloves, a mug and hot drinks and ‘Celebrate Christmas’ gift bags which contain an advent calendar and traditional small wrapped Christmas gifts. The partnership includes Hertfordshire Independent Living Service, Age UK Hertfordshire, Contact the Elderly, Groundwork Hertfordshire, Warner Bros Studios Leavesden, Freedom Communications and Tesco.
In second place, we had Welwyn Hatfield Domestic Abuse Forum, which brings together professionals from voluntary, community, public and private sectors on a regular basis to share information on domestic abuse. The forum updates its members on existing services, shares best practice and provides networking opportunities to strengthen partnership links. They also support joint initiatives to reach out to the community and raise awareness. The forum includes representatives from Hatfield Children Centre, Welwyn Garden City Children Centre, Welwyn Garden City Schools Partnership, Hatfield School Partnership, Paradigm Housing Small Steps Project, Welwyn Garden City United Reformed Church, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Welwyn and Knebworth Children's Centre, and Hertfordshire Community Health Trust.
In first place, we had the Community Navigators Scheme. This scheme helps people in Watford, Three Rivers, Dacorum, St Albans and Hertsmere to access local community services by teaming up the voluntary and community sector with health and social care providers. The scheme’s ‘Community Navigators’, who have strong local knowledge and relationships, are based in the four leading community organisations within the partnership: Watford Community Housing Trust, POhWER, Dacortium and Carers in Hertfordshire. They receive referrals from their public sector partners - Hertfordshire County Council and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group - about people with multiple or complex needs who would benefit from more community support. The Community Navigators help the people referred to them to stay well and independent, while reducing the demand on primary and acute care services.
Organisations who received a Highly Commended Award include:
Panshanger Park project
Mediation Hertfordshire project
Stand By Me project
Emmaus St Albans / HACRO ‘Leaving Prison Behind’
Road Victims Trust
Stevenage Crucial Crew
Visitor Centre & Café at HMP The Mount project
It was a remarkable evening and I'm so proud of all of our winners, and so grateful to everybody who applied. Congratulations all round!