Two organisations working to address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour in Epping received recognition and grants at the High Sheriffs’ Awards.

Around 180 guests attended this year’s ceremony, held at Hylands House in Chelmsford, with support from Essex County Council, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex and Chelmsford City Council. BBC Essex presenters, Steve Scruton and Ian Wyatt, announced the award winners and conversations were broadcast live throughout the evening show.

Trophies, certificates and 23 grants totalling £38,000 were presented by the outgoing High Sheriff of Essex, Nicholas Alston CBE DL.

This included £1,500 to Limes Farm Community Group to run footballing sessions for children aged four to 13 as a diversionary activity aimed at reducing the risk of them becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and criminality.

A further £1,500 was also awarded to Epping Team Ministry to run and expand a project supporting survivors of domestic abuse in Epping and surrounding districts.

Epping Forest Guardian: Phyllis Njuguna from Epping Team Ministry received a certificate from the High Sheriff of Essex Nicholas Alston. Image: Steve BradingPhyllis Njuguna from Epping Team Ministry received a certificate from the High Sheriff of Essex Nicholas Alston. Image: Steve Brading

Phyllis Njugune, project co-ordinator, said “Since our project started it has attracted a diverse group of women and many have enjoyed meeting others going through a similar stage in their survival journey.

“Our facilitators hold space, actively listen, refer our survivors on to appropriate local services where needed, and explore trauma-informed mindfulness techniques on our wellness sessions such as journaling, conscious breathing and grounding exercises.”

The grants came from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which was established to give credit to local initiatives that address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour, and is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Nicholas Alston CBE DL, the 842nd of High Sheriff of Essex, has visited voluntary organisations around the county during his year of office, learning about their work and presenting certificates of recognition to dedicated volunteers.

He said: “The awards ceremony is a wonderful occasion and gave me, and the other attendees, the chance to acknowledge more publicly, and to reward, some of the outstanding work being undertaken by groups of all sorts around the county, that help build and sustain safer communities.

“These organisations often work with those who are vulnerable or marginalised and, at a time of a growing cost-of-living crisis, sadly their needs are increasing. I had the privilege to visit many of these groups during my year, to learn about their work, and to thank them.”