Andrea Mendes, High Sheriff of Essex, with Nicholas Charrington and Phil Norton

Article by Guy Bell: Billericay's street pastors have received another prestigious award.

The group was previously recognised for improving community safety when they received a certificate from Essex's Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston in January.

Now, Phil Norton and his team have added another accolade to the collection at the High Sheriff's Awards, which were presented by the outgoing High Sheriff of Essex, Nicholas Charrington.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Phil"]This award from the High Sheriff is for our help to the local community during Friday and Saturday nights. He came out on patrol with his chaplain Julia Grant and reported back that he was hugely impressed with the street pastors and what we do and the hours we keep. It feels great to get recognition for something you believe in.[/quote]

The street pastors received a certificate for setting up a safety information service to assist the community during both the day and night. Phil accepted the award alongside fellow street pastor Andrea Mendes.

Follow @BillericaySP on Twitter

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Phil"]We don't have any agenda other than to help the vulnerable during the night time economy. We don't push ourselves forward and we don't judge. If people need someone to talk to then we are there. If others see what we do and like it and then nominate us for an award then that is great and should be valued.[/quote]

More than 43 voluntary and community organisations were at this year's ceremony, held at Hylands House in Chelmsford, and trophies, certificates and grants totalling £23,471 were handed out.

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

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Nicholas Charrington"]It is estimated nearly 400,000 people undertake some form of charity or voluntary work in Essex. This dedication and devotion underpins our communities, making for a healthier and safer society. An important part of the role of the High Sheriff is to recognise and promote the voluntary sector, with particular emphasis on those organisations which support law and order and tackle crime and social problems.[/quote]

Mr Charrington said he has met "a wide range of dedicated and impressive people" during his year.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Mr Charrington"]It is a pleasure and a privilege to help give them the recognition they so richly deserve. 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.[/quote]

Since it came under ECF's management in 1997, the High Sheriffs' Fund has distributed more than 530 grants, totalling £435,000.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of ECF"]The High Sheriffs' Fund is avaliable financial resource for the voluntary sector in Essex. We are delighted to manage the fund and work with the successive High Sheriffs so that greater support can be given to people in the county who are tackling important issues.[/quote]

Article by Guy Bell, Billericay Gazette

More local news