I am continuing to support the Hertford and Ware police cadets as they think about their social action project on homelessness, and arranged for a volunteer Ricky from Herts Young Homeless to come to talk to them. Ricky shared his own story and the cadets understood more about the family problems that may give rise to homelessness, as well as the cost of having to look after yourself.
I visited the Magistrates Court in St Albans with Alison McDougall (Bench Chair, West and Central Herts) and Chris Dangerfield (Deputy Justices Clerk for Crime and Business) and was able to observe the Youth Court. A few days later I was with two Magistrates in the Community volunteers watching them present to year 6 children about what magistrates do. This included a trial role play which I am sure the children will remember (and so will I!). It is amazing to learn about what these essential volunteers contribute to our justice system.
I went to HMP The Mount for the Made Visible awards facilitated by Pictora. It is hard to explain just how complicated it is to organise an art and poetry competition in a prison, but there was really excellent work submitted both by the residents of The Mount and others from local community groups. I was pleased to sponsor a High Sheriff award for the winning entry, which will go on show at the RSA. ‘Hey Miss, what’s your bling?’ was the reaction to the High Sheriff ribbon and badge!
Mr Justice Turner has been sitting in St Albans and came to dinner with other locals. I also attended a meeting with the trustees of Hertfordshire Equality Council to talk why equality and diversity matters in Herts.
Visits have included an afternoon at St Clare Hospice (serving W Essex and E Herts) to hear about their new bereavement cafes and proposed work with young people in the community as well as at the hospice, and to Music 24 music therapy group for those with dementia. Music 24 founders Teela and Graeme facilitate making music, dancing and singing and being happy in the moment and their sessions are an opportunity for carers to support each other too.
The police cadets from the different districts and boroughs had a busy weekend at the County Cadet Competition where they took part in activities that tested a variety of skills and camped overnight. Everyone had a great time and the competition was fierce!