June has been no easier for an active High Sheriff as the lockdown is still enforced, but the virtual Sheriff and his FLOSH (First Lady of the Sheriff High) have been continuing a busy programme of meetings, webinars and calls throughout the month. High Sheriffs have been around for over 1,000 years and it will take more than a pandemic to stop them operating – and the volunteers of Hertfordshire have shown that it takes more than a pandemic to stop the wheels of the county turning in all aspect of community life.
Perhaps the highlight of the month was being able to put on the High Sheriff’s Court Dress and join Chris Luff of Watford Chamber of Commerce, Lynne Misner of Small Acts of Kindness and Emma Power of Home Start Watford & Three Rivers with the wonderful film to celebrate the work of the voluntary sector in Watford. It was a great afternoon of fun (you can still have a laugh 2m apart) making the film under the wizardly organisation of Ian Port (www.thinkfilming.com) who put it together. I feel this demonstrates so well how communities come together and bring out the best in our hour of need. To view this fantastic film, click here.
I have also met with Chief Constable Charlie Hall at Police HQ and been to see their Operations Room in full swing and met the team at Watford Workshop who have kept working through the lockdown with a skeleton operation to produce much needed goods – adapt and persevere is the theme at this local centre.
With my Hertfordshire Community Foundation hat on I joined a webinar to launch our Hertfordshire Matters research with our Foundation Director, Helen Gray. This document is the result of considerable independent analysis to identify the key challenges facing Hertfordshire residents and highlights the inequalities that exist in the county. If you would like a copy please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or an online version can be viewed by clicking here. I must also draw attention to the work of the HCF Grants team who have distributed over £400,000 in the last three months to over 100 organisations in the county.
Finally, our Heros of Hertfordshire certificates have been launched – a joint initiative between the High Sheriff and the Lord-Lieutenant. Many certificates and heroes badges have gone out and I know there are many more deserving folk out there who are true heros of Hertfordshire but we haven’t quite discovered them yet. Please nominate anyone you hear of or know who has stuck up their hand or gone the extra mile to help others over these harsh months. We want to find them all and reward them as Heros of Hertfordshire. Nominations can be sent to my PA, Nicky Stokes, by clicking here.
The pubs are opening as I write this blog for the first time in three months and I wish the staff at McMullen’s Brewery, a great Hertfordshire family run business and institution, all good fortune – and also the many other pubs, restaurants and hospitality businesses who have suffered so cruelly over these dark times but hopefully they can now open their doors once again.