The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Safer Essex and the Essex Community Voluntary Services network held their fourth joint conference at the Weston Homes Community Stadium on Tuesday 26th January 2016. The event brought together representatives from Essex Police, voluntary and community groups and public sector organisations from across the county to explore the topic of ‘Tackling Hidden Harms Together’.
Building on the success of previous conferences, the event hosted 250 people and placed a spotlight on themes such as domestic abuse, human trafficking and hate crime. Speakers and facilitators who are experts in their areas included Baroness Newlove, Victims Commissioner and Andrea Williams, Young People’s Sexual Violence Counsellor and Training Coordinator, South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre.
Tracy Rudling, Chief Executive Officer of Colchester Community Voluntary Services, said, ‘We have seen this regular event grow from strength to strength over the past 3 years and are overwhelmed by the response from so many different organisations who want to come together to make a difference by tackling the important themes of the conference.’
The day was brought to a close with the announcement of the winners of the annual Police and Crime Commissioners awards for people who have made a difference in their communities by addressing issues of community safety. The nominees included volunteers who go out of their way to support and protect vulnerable people and frontline public servants who go above and beyond to deliver an outstanding service to their community. The winner of this award was Sandeep Singh Saini, a volunteer with Thurrock Police Independent Advisory Group and a strong advocate on behalf of many vulnerable people. The runners up were Brian Pettitt, a volunteer driver for Mencap and Essex Search and Rescue team.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex said, ‘There was a tremendous atmosphere and strength of partnership on show today. Success is being shown in the numbers attending and the connections building in the room. Long may it continue.’
SAVS in Southend opened a new charity shop in April 2013 and alongside it developed a project to work with ex offenders. This exciting project provides work experience to offenders thus giving them the skills they need to take them on to paid employment in the future. For example, providing a routine to the day, learning new skills (including interview skills) and ultimately providing reference. The project is proving to be a real success with the volunteers reporting how much they love coming to help out in the shop. One volunteer has gone on to find paid employment after being out of work for over 8 years!
Chelmsford, Maldon and Braintree CVSs collaborated recently to deliver a major Health & Wellbeing Showcase event in Chelmsford, bringing together voluntary and statutory sector health & social care providers. Thanks to everyone’s enthusiasm and willingness to co-operate the Showcase was, quite simply, buzzing! Sir Thomas Hughes Hallett, Chair of the Who Will Care Commission and Dr Lisa Harrod-Rothwell, Chair of NHS Mid Essex CCG spoke at the event and spent the afternoon linking with organisations and local volunteers. 154 people signed in on the day and we squeezed 30 voluntary sector exhibitors into the City Council Chambers, with Healthwatch, 5 providers and the City and Maldon District councils exhibiting in the break out area. “Wow!” said Sir Thomas as he entered the marketplace of voluntary and community organisations who all work to provide health and wellbeing support to people in Mid Essex. Throughout the afternoon, health professionals shared inspirational stories of how voluntary action is essential to their service delivery. We had an amazing response to the event: “What a fantastic day yesterday was! So much energy in the room and had some fantastic conversations……” and we’re already planning the next one!
SAVS in Southend is working through our Turning Tides project with older, vulnerable people in the community in Southend to help keep them safe in their own homes. The initiative which is funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner involves 15 fully trained volunteers who visit older people in their homes to advise on all aspects of keeping safe in the home and also when they venture out.