Lady Sylvia Jay, High Sheriff of Oxfordshire 2019 /20 had to step down a little early due to the Coronavirus situation. Her last official act was to distribute funds raised during her year. Meanwhile, the new High Sheriff Amanda Ponsonby had her swearing in ‘ceremony’ in her kitchen!
The High Sheriff of Oxfordshire’s Charitable Fund has been held and managed by Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) since 2016 to assist current and future High Sheriffs in raising money for charitable purposes.
The charities that shared over £15,000 in donations to the High Sheriff’s fund in 2019-20 were:
- Aspire Oxford, which helps ex-prisoners find homes and work
- Fine Cell Work, which teaches needlework skills to prisoners, mostly men
- Crisis and Arts at The Old Fire Station, which help homeless and other vulnerable people find homes, new skills and jobs, including in the artistic world
- Think Through Nutrition based in Oxford, which has done research showing that improving diets in prisons also improves prisoners’ behaviour.
Each charity has welcomed this timely addition of funds.
Victoria Gillies, Executive Director, Fine Cell Work commented: “What a very quiet end to a very active, meaningful year. I am very grateful for what I learnt and the people we meet through your events. We are so appreciative of the exposure your year as High Sheriff has given to the rehabilitative work with prisoners Fine Cell Work does. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to both sell and to showcase our work.”
Think Through Nutrition responded: “This is extremely kind and very much appreciated. We feel very privileged to have been asked to be one of your shrieval charities, and although we did not have the live lecture, you gave us a wide circulation that I am sure will have long- lasting and positive consequences.”
Paul Roberts, CEO of Aspire said: “We are hugely grateful to the outgoing High Sheriff, Lady Jay, for her generous contribution towards Aspire’s emergency response appeal. In the current crisis, Aspire Oxfordshire is collaborating with other support services in Oxford City to enable access to treatment programmes and prioritise emergency housing for those who cannot self-isolate. This will directly help fund our team to cater for immediate needs and prevent evictions by stepping up our homelessness prevention service and employment support so that we are ready to meet an unprecedented level of demand.”
The High Sheriff’s Awards were due to be presented at a ceremony in central Oxford on 24th March 2020. As this event was cancelled, all winners had their certificates posted out to them. You can read the list of winners from the High Sheriff Community Awards 2020 Programme
The new High Sheriff of Oxfordshire for 2020/21, Amanda Ponsonby, was sworn in for the voluntary role at her kitchen table with only her husband and three children as official witnesses! For the shrieval year 2020/21, Amanda is delighted to be supporting OCF as her chosen charity.
We will soon share more details on Amanda’s year as she rethinks her plans during this time of virtual events and remote working.