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Paul Barrett, High Sheriff of Kent 2019/20

The High Sheriff of Kent, Paul Barrett, has made a number of awards to charities and organisations through the High Sheriff Awards. 

The annual High Sheriff Awards celebrate the charitable work of organisations who contribute their time and care to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of the community and is the final role for the High Sheriff at the end of his term of office. 

With law and order very much the remit of a High Sheriff, Mr Barrett was honoured to be able to recognise organisations that work with offenders, individuals who have rebuilt their lives following a prison sentence to prevent crime today, as well as those who are helping ex-offenders gain skills, confidence and employment. The High Sheriff was also pleased to highlight the work of charities reaching some of the most vulnerable within Kent communities.

The winners of this year’s High Sheriff Awards are: The Gables, (Childhood First), Reform, Restore, Respect, The Community Hub, (HMP Swaleside), Lily’s Social Kitchen, and the Volunteer Police Cadets, Ashford and Canterbury.

In addition to The High Sheriff’s Awards, a High Sheriff’s Consort Award was presented to Beating Time, (HMP Maidstone).

Paul Barrett, The High Sheriff of Kent, 2019/20 said, “Over the past year I have visited some amazing charities and community groups throughout the county and the High Sheriff Awards are my opportunity to formally recognise the brilliant work being carried out by organisations supporting the most disadvantaged and vulnerable across Kent and Medway. 

"As I surrender the role of High Sheriff I look back on a full, interesting and enjoyable year. I have been honoured to visit a great number of worthwhile and very different organisations, and never ceased to feel humbled by the dedication of the teams, working selflessly for the good of others. I feel blessed to have held this position and I would like to wish the new High Sheriff, Mrs Remony Millwater all the best as she takes on this very rewarding role.”

As well as an awards certificate, each of the winning organisations receives a donation of £500.

Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said “This year’s High Sheriff awards have been given to some amazing organisations who are doing fantastic work in the county. It has been our pleasure to support The High Sheriff throughout his term of office and we would like to wish Paul all the best for his future and welcome the new High Sheriff Remony Millwater as she takes on this important role.”

This year's awards ceremony was no longer able to go ahead unfortunately due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but watch out for images and videos of the High Sheriff's winners coming soon. 

The High Sheriff said of the awards event: “I had been looking forward to having the chance to congratulate the winners of the High Sheriff’s Awards personally at a ceremony to celebrate their achievement. However, owing to the current regulations, sadly that has not been possible.

"I send my warmest congratulations to each of the organisations receiving a High Sheriff’s Award and we are making plans for the certificates to be presented to them at a future date. I would like to thank them for all their hard work, and at this difficult time, hope they manage to continue offering help where it is so desperately needed. On behalf of all in the county of Kent, thank you for all you do.”

Kent Community Foundation has managed the High Sheriff's Award Fund since 2015 and has invaluable experience in introducing High Sheriffs to voluntary groups in Kent and Medway.

More on this year's winners:

The Gables, – Childhood First - The Gables is a residential therapeutic community and special school providing specialist therapeutic care, education and treatment for children with complex needs aged 10-18. When the High Sheriff visited, he met young residents who had serious challenges in their lives so far, yet displayed great resilience and were engaged and enthusiastic. The Gables gives these young people a safe environment to grow up in and continue their learning. Visit the website.

Reform, Restore, Respect - Founded by Francis Osei-Appiah FRSA, Reform, Restore, Respect was set up to educate, encourage, inspire and transform the lives of young people who are vulnerable or at risk of offending or re-offending. After turning his life around, Francis now runs sessions in schools across Kent to show young people in detail what life in prison is really like, how easy it is to get drawn into gangs and crime, and explain the devastating effect a prison sentence can have on your and your family’s lives. The High Sheriff and his wife found Francis’s talk both inspirational and thought-provoking. Visit the website

HMP Swaleside, Community Hub - When the High Sheriff and his wife visited HMP Swaleside, they were totally blown away by the Community Hub. The small team of prison residents work in the Hub, acting as a point of liaison between other residents, officers and governors, working to resolve issues where they can and perhaps open  lines of communication which may have broken down. The Hub was a shining example of residents turning their lives around while serving their long sentences, and trying to do good for others’ benefit, and the High Sheriff was keen to commend this with an award.

Lily’s Social Kitchen - Zoe Rodda set up Lily's Social Kitchen, a bistro in Canterbury, to respond to a need to get people who struggle to gain employment, to develop new skills. Those working at Lily's, either as volunteers or paid staff,  have faced, and continue to face, great challenges of various natures in gaining skills and employment, but where others may see unskilled or unemployable, Zoe her team are determined to give their employees the best chance to make the most of themselves without judgement. The High Sheriff found the team at Lily’s inspirational and wholly deserving of an award. Visit the website

Volunteer Police Cadets, Ashford and Canterbury Divisions - The High Sheriff is impressed with how the Police Cadets organisation involves children and gives them valuable structure and training. Representatives from the Ashford and Canterbury divisions played an important role at the High Sheriff’s Justice Service in the autumn, presenting themselves extremely professionally, and so the High Sheriff wanted to acknowledge the part they played with this award. Visit the website 

The High Sheriff, Consort Award went to Beating Time, HMP Maidstone - Mrs. Barrett accompanied the High Sheriff on his visit to Beating Time at HMP Maidstone not long after Gareth Malone’s television programme about working with prison residents aired. The brilliantly named Beating Time works with prisons to give residents a sense of community. Mrs. Barrett thought Ciara Considine, the choir master, was truly inspirational and had a great rapport with the residents, who were all ages and nationalities, and wanted to recognise this in making her award. Visit the website

MASSIVE 'thank you ' to everyone at Kent Community Foundation. Your funding support is HUGELY appreciated and has enabled us to get into the heart of local communities with REAL, affordable, healthy and tasty food that does so much more than feed people.

Community chef Mike Spackman, Sheppey Matters

KCF's enthusiasm for what we are doing and hoping to do, coupled with helpful advice, gave us the confidence to take this daunting step which has paid off.

Liz Turner, Octopus Foundation

It's great having a foundation that empowers organisations and charities in our community to make real positive differences and changes!

Tom, MMK Mind