After a restful Christmas with friends and family, January has been another busy month and Kate and I have enjoyed getting around the county, meeting more wonderful organisations and individuals.
The month began seeing some of the organisations who have been shortlisted for my High Sheriff Awards, which take place on the 8th March. We received nearly 30 applications and it was a very tough job for my panel to extract the very best applications from such a fantastic selection. Decisions have now been made on who will be receiving awards and I am very much looking forward to the event in March.
Over the course of the month I was also privileged to visit Watford and Three Rivers Trust, Home Start Watford, Shiva Foundation, Elstree UTC and Playskill in Hemel. I also had a day out with ‘Hertfordshire Independent Living Service’ delivering meals to the elderly in the Rickmansworth area. There are many clients for whom the meal delivery is the only personal contact they have that day. Loneliness and isolation really is a serious issue throughout the county and the UK.
The month ended with two wonderful experiences.
First, I was honoured to help launch the Chilterns MS Centre’s Family Friends Scheme, alongside the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Vinod Tailor. This centre supports over 100 people living with MS in Hertfordshire and it’s Family Friends scheme encourages people commit to a monthly donation to ensure funding remains available for their vital work, which includes offering over 1,400 treatments a month. One of the clients I met, called Beverly told me "The atmosphere at the Centre is unbelievable. You might come in feeling miserable, but you never leave feeling that way.” I also met Tracey who said the Centre was "amazing. I just love being here.” If you would like to find out more about the Family Friend initiative, please click here.
Finally I was honoured to join the Mayor of Stevenage, Cllr Pam Stuart, to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at a special ceremony in Stevenage, and to see the lighting of the memorial candle. Cllr Stuart said “We’re fortunate here in the UK not to be at risk of genocide, but discrimination has not ended, and nor has the use of the language of hatred or exclusion. I am pleased that so many people from different cultures and religions attend Holocaust Memorial Day to show the town’s strong sense of community to remember and honour those that have been lost in the atrocities of the holocaust and other genocides.”
Picture at top of article - Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony, Stevenage
Below - A wonderful afternoon at the Chilterns MS Centre