The 2018 High Sheriff Awards took place on Thursday 15th March at County Hall, Maidstone. Guests enjoyed tea and cakes in the Stone Hall before being welcomed to the award ceremony by Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive of Kent Community Foundation, who explained the key role of the Foundation in managing the High Sheriff’s Award Fund, and KCF’s valuable experience in introducing High Sheriffs to voluntary groups in Kent.

The High Sheriff, George Jessel, DL gave a brief overview of his inspirational year visiting charities, and the challenge in choosing organisations for this very special award. With law and order very much the remit of a High Sheriff, he was honoured to present certificates and cheques to organisations that work with offenders, witnesses, young drivers, those with mental health problems and vulnerable children across the County, giving them inspiration and challenge to live fulfilling lives.

The winners were:

• Shannon Trust, Maidstone. Award given for The Shannon Trust Reading Plan, which transforms lives by inspiring prisoners who can read to reach prisoners who cannot.

• Licence to Kill with five partner organisations: Kent Police, Kent Fire & Rescue, SE Coast Ambulance Service, Kent County Council, Medway Council. A long-term partnership between these organisations and individuals to successfully deliver safety information and advice to thousands of young drivers from Kent’s schools.

• Canterbury & District Early Years Project. Works with families to promote positive outcomes for children.

• Citizens Advice Witness Service Kent. Providing free and independent support for both prosecution and defence witnesses in criminal court.

• Relate East Kent. Providing counselling services to the local community in Canterbury, Broadstairs, Ashford and Dover.

• Margate Sea Cadets. Helping teenagers to stretch themselves and become the best they can.

Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive of Kent Community Foundation who manage the awards on behalf of The High Sheriff of Kent’s Award Fund comments: “There are some fantastic charities and groups working very hard here in Kent and this is an opportunity for the High Sheriff to reward just some of those he has met over the year of his office.”

George Jessel comments: “My year spent as High Sheriff provides an insight into the workings of the criminal justice system and allows me to meet people from many varied organisations throughout the county. It was a challenge to choose the recipients of the awards, but I have chosen organisations that work within law and order and also those that help our young people.”

“It is so important that witnesses can be supported in Court, both children and their parents or carers can benefit from early intervention, prisoners can be offered a chance to rebuild their lives through the medium of reading, youngsters can learn through real life reinterpretations of the danger of senseless driving and finally learning about responsibility and challenge, can give a child a great start in life.”

The afternoon provided a brief respite from the daily work of the award winners and a chance to share experiences and enjoy well deserved recognition for their work.

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
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