A YOUNG volunteer who has worked tirelessly to support vulnerable people and victims of crime has been named the county’s top community safety hero by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
Sandeep Singh Saini, known as Sunny, has been a volunteer in Thurrock for more than four years. He works for Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions – a community interest company which is run by disabled people to support those with learning difficulties – and is also a member of the Thurrock police Independent Advisory Group.
Sunny has supported learning disabled members of his community to stay safe and overcome barriers, as well as supporting victims of hate crime, fraud, burglary and anti-social behaviour.
In recognition of his huge contribution Sunny was awarded the PCC’s Outstanding Contribution to Community Safety Award. Sunny received his award from PCC Nick Alston at the fourth annual PCC Conference at the Weston Homes Community Stadium in Colchester on Tuesday.
Paying tribute to Sunny, Mr Alston said: “Sunny epitomises everything this award stands for.
“He has worked tirelessly to support those with learning difficulties in his community. He has also supported countless victims of crime, the positive effect of which can never be underestimated. Quite simply the number of people Sunny has helped has run into the hundreds which is a legacy many of us would feel proud to call our own. Sunny is thoroughly deserving of this accolade.”
Sunny received an award and was given £500 to spend on a community safety project.
Two other nominees also received runner-up trophies and £250 each to spend on a community safety project.
The Essex Search and Rescue team is made up entirely of volunteers who are on call 24/7, 365 days a year to assist Essex Police in their search for missing people.
The other runner-up award went to volunteer driver Brian Pettitt. Chelmsford-man Brian was a volunteer driver who for over 30 years gave up his time to support people with learning difficulties, driving them to dance classes and ensuring they have all they need.
Three other shortlisted nominees were given certificates. They included: Neighbourhood Watch and Community Speedwatch volunteer Sally-Ann Judd from Rettendon; the Castle Point and Rochford Befriending Scheme; and Richard Cook a volunteer for the Basildon SOS Bus.
Mr Alston added: “I would like to pay tribute to all of those shortlisted for this year’s award, they really do demonstrate the very best of community spirit in Essex.”