During my year in office I shall be fund-raising for the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which was established within the Essex Community Foundation in 1996 to reward community initiatives that address crime and antisocial behaviour. Each year the High Sheriff of Essex awards grants totalling about £30,000 to voluntary groups and charitable organisations, and gives recognition to individuals who are tackling local problems.
I shall be fund-raising by taking part in sponsored litter-picking across the county; my aim is to join groups in each of the county’s twelve districts and the unitary authorities of Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea. Litter is more than just a visual blight and litter-picking is about more than being tidy. Much of what is casually dropped or thrown from cars is hazardous to people, animals, and the environment, whether it be plastic that pollutes our streams and rivers and finds its way into the sea, or glass that may break and cut, or even cause fires. Studies have shown that the presence of litter encourages antisocial behaviour generally. And the big brother of litter is fly-tipping, the clearing up of which is a real problem and considerable expense for local authorities and landowners.
So I’ll be joining litter-picking groups over the next twelve months, helping them with the valuable job they do to make Essex both a cleaner and a safer place in which to live, and I hope others will want to help me recognise the service they provide by contributing to the High Sheriffs’ Fund.
For further information about the High Sheriffs’ Fund, how to make a donation, and how to apply for a grant, please go to the website of the Essex Community Foundation.