High Sheriff of Essex recognises Harlow charity

High Sheriff of Essex recognises Harlow charity

LONG-standing local charity Rainbow Services was recognised with an award from the High Sheriff of Essex and the prestigious Essex County Council Bowl for its work within its Recycling Workshop on Wednesday night.

Around 200 guests attended this year’s ceremony held at Hylands House in Chelmsford, where trophies, certificates and grants totalling £32,500 were presented by the outgoing High Sheriff of Essex, Bryan Burrough. The grants came from the High Sheriffs’ Fund, which was established to give credit to community initiatives that address crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour, and is managed by the independent charitable trust Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Rainbow Services received a financial award from the High Sheriff’s Fund, matched by funds from Essex Community Foundation, to employ additional staff in the woodworking Workshop, which supports adults who have committed crimes and young people who are at risk of gangs, drugs, violence and exclusion from school.  The project was also awarded the Essex County Council Bowl in recognition of the positive difference it makes to people’s lives through skills development, mentoring support and partnerships with community organisations to build meaningful and sustainable links between people who have felt disenfranchised and the communities within which they live.

Workshop supervisor Jason Shaves collected the awards and said “In the 5 years that I have worked on this project I have seen people go from feeling angry and believing they have nothing to offer to returning as mentors themselves to help others make positive choices.”

Bryan Burrough, the 838th High Sheriff of Essex, has travelled to all areas of the county during his year of office including Harlow, visiting Rainbow Services’ Workshop and meeting some of the service users and staff. Bryan said, “It has been a privilege to undertake this role and I have learnt a lot during the past 12 months. During my visits to local charities and community organisations, I came to realise that many are small and are running with limited resources, powered by the sheer determination of its people, who are often volunteers. The Awards ceremony provides a wonderful opportunity for us to come together to recognise and applaud them, which they thoroughly deserve”.

The Workshop has recently started a new partnership with another local charity, St Clare Hospice, upcycling donated wares to then sell in the Hospice’s new shop on Broad Walk in Harlow. The Workshop receives donated furniture and homeware items from St Clare Hospice, manually restoring them using carpentry and DIY skills. St Clare then donates 20% of sales profits to Rainbow Services after an item is purchased from Scarlet Vintage & Retro. This has been extremely successful and service users have enjoyed the creativity required in bringing new life to used goods and learning skills in how to create ‘shabby chic’ looks. The project is currently seeking business partners to support this venture through the donation of vital resources to aid in the upcycling such as paint, varnish and sandpaper.

Rainbow Services’ CEO Jemma Mindham says “We are so proud to have received these awards which recognise the hard work of our staff and volunteers and also appreciate the efforts of our services users to turn their lives around. It is so important to have connections to the community within which you live and feel proud to contribute to it, and the Workshop enables young people at risk of negative choices and adults who have already made those negative choices to do that.”

If you are a business and would like to find out more about donating resources, please contact Jason Shaves on workshop@rainbowservices.org.uk or call 01279 308150.

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