December 2020 update

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance 

December got off to an exciting start, with a virtual tour of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance station along with ‘visits’ to training facilities and on board a helicopter! The skill, dedication, wisdom, and courage of the staff was more impactful and poignant for seeing all that was displayed from the warm comfort of my own home, which made for a sharp contrast. I commend the tour to you – link here  – It was impressive, professional, and engaging. From the descriptions of the training, the views of the thankfully comfortable team area and outlining of the deep care offered in the face of challenging and traumatic call outs, to  what it is actually like to perform highly complex and skilled procedures in less than ideal conditions was, to say the least, gripping. One of the things that has struck me during these past months of office, has been how many exceptional services we are blessed to have in Hampshire – and the HIOWAA is truly exceptional  – whether engaged in fundraising or lifesaving, everyone who presented or hosted the event radiated energy, passion, knowledge and commitment. 

Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Safer Awards Event

The awards for this event recognise the outstanding contribution volunteers and partners make to policing, the criminal justice system and in keeping the community safer.  It was, impressively for an online event, beautifully curated and a visual treat. 

Do watch here and see the wealth of excellent, creative and compassionate initiatives across Hampshire, from voluntary sector to prisons and courts.                                                                

Street Reach

Having visited Street Reach in October I was delighted to be invited to speak at their AGM at the beginning of December. My talk was partly fuelled by the report published in November from the  Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield, as she presents her vision for a better care system. You can read or watch it here  It is a sobering report and highlights the crucial importance of early intervention if we are move away from such sad statistics as these – although just 1% of children in England are in care, almost 25% of the adult prison population have previously been in care, and it is estimated that nearly half of the young men in the juvenile criminal justice system have spent time in local authority care. 

The Moving on Project 

The Moving on Project provides targeted counselling for 11-25 year olds, such a timely intervention for this age group. Despite Lockdowns and the pandemic in general, with the associated stresses and strains adding to an already challenging job, MOP have adapted to offer services to those who most need them. Counselling is, of course, behind closed doors, highly confidential – but the statistics and track record of success which MOP can evidence says a massive amount about the professionalism and commitment to excellence all the team work with. The therapeutic healing work MOP do is a superb example of what is needed in greater measure so that when carrying wounds from anxiety to trauma there may be sufficient places for Hampshire young people to go for just the right help at the right time.

Farewell lunch for The Hon Mrs Justice May DBE Winchester Crown Court 

 As Mrs Justice May ended her term as Senior Presiding Judge on the Western Circuit, a small group of judges gathered to celebrate the exceptional work she has done and to express their great appreciation for her wise and warm presence. Judge Keith Cutler CBE, the Recorder of Winchester and resident judge of Salisbury and Winchester, gave an amusing and affectionate address. She will be very much missed by her colleagues. Mrs May was the first judge I saw preside, just before I began my High Sheriff year  – I was struck by the kindness, hospitality and respect she gave to each person in the court room – from jurors and witnesses to defendants. 

Farewell lunch for The Hon Mrs Justice May DBE

The Kings Arms Petersfield and Alton

I met with Caroline Aeschliman, the chief executive of the Kings Arms, in their new home in a former restaurant on Dragon Street in Petersfield. It is hoped the space will be fully open early 2021 after inevitable delays caused by Covid, when it will be a great home for the diverse work the team of staff and volunteers engage in with local young people. As they say on their website “We want the young people of this region to fulfil their potential and know their worth. Our hope is that the young people will take ownership of their club and help us to turn it into something that meets their needs and inspires them to get the best out of life!” The charity reached 20 years of service in 2020  and also can rightly celebrate all achieved over those years plus an extension of their work into Alton, for which they are busily fundraising –

The Camrose Centre 

 The Camrose Centre offers a space, food and support to the homeless population in Basingstoke and I was reflecting as I left, how sad it would be for Basingstoke if the centre did not exist. The offering the team make of dignity, welcome, kindness and so much more – to those that it is all too tempting to be frightened of, to pass by – is precious.  I enjoyed meeting one of the volunteers in the kitchen who said how being at the centre is the highlight of her week, as seen on the picture below!  I heard about the history of the centre from the Centre Manager Clare Farrow and the Chair of the trustees Mike Browning – it has grown organically, learning from and listening to those who come and use the centre. In our recent local parish magazine in Oakley, The Link, I was pleased to see an article about the transition of The Camrose Centre from being part of the BVA to being an independent CIA.  My husband Jamie contributed the ‘Pause for Thought’ in the same magazine – he closes with this quote ‘if you can dare to hope, hope is the dynamism that changes everything’. The Camrose Centre is a place of Hope because of the hope of all who are a part of it – volunteers, staff, trustees, local church, those who donate food, clothing and more. 

Hampshire Youth Offending Team

Just before Christmas I had the joy of helping to present awards to members of Hampshire Youth Offending Team, all of whom had been nominated by their colleagues. Their overall goal is one I endorse wholeheartedly –  “to see fewer children and young people involved in the criminal justice system.” These awards highlighted for me just how passionately, intelligently, and professionally the YOT are committed to this goal in all they do, whether in front line engagement or in supporting roles. Every young person’s life which through their work is turned towards flourishing and restoration is an investment in the whole of the county – it is a crucial area of early intervention. 

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