6th Apr 2022

Photo: The High Sheriff of Tyne & Wear presenting Neetzotz with their ‘Top Award’.

For the first time in three years, the High Sheriff events for Tyne & Wear and Northumberland returned in person. Over £100,000 was given out in awards to 88 organisations from across the region who focus on providing opportunities for young people.

Rob Williamson, Chief Executive at the Community Foundation said: “We were delighted to welcome back the High Sheriff events after a Covid enforced break. It was a great opportunity to recognise so many local charities, voluntary organisations and uniformed groups who have worked tirelessly to engage with young people throughout the pandemic and as we return to a ‘new normal’”.

The awards are divided into two areas: Tyne & Wear, presided over by the High Sheriff of Tyne & Wear, Farooq Hakim and Northumberland, presided over by the High Sheriff of Northumberland, Joanna Riddell. Both High Sheriff areas have a fund held by the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, from which the awards are made. The High Sheriff’s take responsibility for fundraising for these funds each year.

The High Sheriff of Tyne & Wear Awards took place on 23 March hosted at the University of Sunderland featuring guest speak Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the university. With well over 100 people in attendance, Farooq handed out the certificates including to the overall Top Award winner, Neetzotz. The organisation based in Gateshead, works primarily with orthodox Jewish young people who are at risk of dropping out of education.

Farooq Hakim, High Sheriff of Tyne & Wear said: “As High Sheriff this has been an amazing year. It has been my privilege to meet the many community organisation and see the wonderful work they are all doing with young people. “A big thank you to the volunteers and young people for making us all so proud of what you do and achieve. You do an amazing job.” “A final big ask from me. Please do tell us your stories as that helps us get even more funding. Please re-apply next year as this is an ongoing process and please do develop a relationship with the new High Sheriff of Tyne & Wear”.

Photo: The High Sheriff of Northumberland and BBC North's Jeff Brown presenting 1st Whittingham Scout Group with the Best Group prize

The following week on 30 March, the High Sheriff of Northumberland Awards were hosted at the Northumberland Church of England Academy in Ashington. Joanna gave out the awards with the help of BBC Look North presenter, Jeff Brown. Of the many organisations being awarded, 1st Whittingham Scout Group took home the prize of Best Group. The Group provides opportunities for young people to develop physically, mentally and spiritually predominantly through outdoor activities.

Joanna Riddell, High Sheriff of Northumberland said: “The Awards Ceremony was a true reflection of my year, having visited the vast majority of the youth groups and it was fantastic that my fund raising effort enabled me to give awards of £1,000 to 49 groups with a further £1,000 to five Special Recognition Awards.

“My thanks to everyone at The Community Foundation for all their support and help over my year in office. Most of all, my thanks to all youth leaders across Northumberland for all you are doing to support and provide opportunity for young people”.

Photos and a recording of the live stream of both events can be found on our Facebook page here.

The High Sheriff funds will open again for applications for 2022/23 later in the year.

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