High Sheriff rewards charities & voluntary organisations in Rochford District

Monday, March 20, 2017


Voluntary organisations and people in Rochford District who make a significant contribution to community safety and crime prevention have been given well deserved recognition at the prestigious High Sheriff's Awards.

Among the organisations to be honoured were, Footprints Community Group, Rayleigh Horticultural Society, SOS Rape Crisis and Rayleigh Pubwatch.

More than 40 voluntary and community organisations were represented at this year’s ceremony held at Hylands House in Chelmsford where trophies, certificates and grants totalling £25,804 were presented by the outgoing High Sheriff of Essex, Lorna Rolfe.

The grants came from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which is managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF). 

The Rayleigh Pubwatch scheme was awarded the Essex Police Cup to acknowledge the contribution it continues to make to community safety. The scheme has united local landlords to share information, prevent disorder and can ban troublemakers from pubs, bars and clubs in the town.

The scheme has been taking  a series of innovative measures to ensure that the town maintains its reputation as a safe and secure place to visit. This has included purchasing a defibrillator for Rayleigh High Street which will be available 24 hours a day, after all the shops and pubs have closed, enabling visitors to have access to life-saving equipment should they suffer a heart attack.

The group, which has been running for four years with the support of Rochford District Council’s Licensing Officers and Essex Police, currently has 40 people who are banned from their premises for up to two years under the Behave or Be Banned Scheme. They are now in the process of purchasing the Face Watch secure database for secure distribution of banned individual photos and these will be  shared between Members, Police and  the Licensing Authority.

The group attends monthly meetings with the Police and Licensing Authority and facilitates annual training for licensed premises in Rochford District and Castle Point, which includes presentations from Police, SIA (the Security Industry Authority), Trading Standards, the Drug and Alcohol Partnership, the Fire Service, Border Force, Children’s Services and Counter Terrorism.

Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Governance , Cllr Cheryl Roe, said: “I would like to congratulate Rayleigh Pub Watch on winning this prestigious award, which is a wonderful recognition of all the hard work that goes into such a scheme.
“I would particularly like to thank them for their efforts to bring a defibrillator to Rayleigh High Street, which will be available 24 hours a day, as this will benefit all of our residents as well as the many visitors to our thriving Night-Time Economy.
 “Most importantly, the combined efforts of those involved in this scheme ensure that Rayleigh continues to remain such a safe and enjoyable place to visit.”

Lorna Rolfe, who is the 836th High Sheriff of Essex, has travelled to all areas of the county during her year of office.  As well as visiting a great many voluntary organisations, she visited the Courts and spent time with Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and the Ambulance Service.  
She said, “It has been my privilege to spend time with all the organisations that look after our well-being.  I have been warmly welcomed and have been constantly struck by their ‘can do’ approach to the many challenges they face.”
She paid tribute to the voluntary sector in Essex: “During my time as High Sheriff I have had the opportunity to meet members of the voluntary sector who tackle a wide range of issues.  I have been so impressed that accentuating the positive appears to be their everyday motto and have been amazed and humbled at what they accomplish against all the odds.  
“They really do make a difference and can dramatically change the lives of others for the better.”

Although an ancient role, Lorna believes that the High Sheriff can offer society much needed continuity and stability.  She said, “It is a unique position offering a privileged overview of the county which enables the holder to make connections between its various and complex social strands.  I feel deeply honoured to have been appointed to the role in the county of which I am so proud.”

Since it came under ECF’s management in 1997 the High Sheriffs’ Fund has distributed nearly 590 grants totalling £485,000 to voluntary and community organisations.
“ECF has been of great value to me during my year of office and the High Sheriffs’ Fund gives much needed support to the organisations helping to prevent crime and promoting community safety” said Lorna.  “The Awards ceremony provides the opportunity to give them the recognition that they so rightly deserve.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF, said, “We are delighted to manage the High Sheriffs’ Fund and work with successive High Sheriffs’ so that greater support can be given to the people in the county who are working hard to tackle community safety issues at a local level.”

The High Sheriffs’ Award Scheme recognises community initiatives which address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour. The office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment for a single year. The High Sheriff receives no expenses and the role comes at no cost to the public purse.

For more information about Essex Community Foundation and the High Sheriffs’ Fund, the Awards presented this year and to view photographs of the event visit www.essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk 
To find out more information about the history and role of the High Sheriff, visit www.highsheriffs.com/History.htm.