A mum who launched a youth club to entice youngsters off the streets and away from trouble has been awarded for her work.
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Community Safety Hero Awards recognise people from across the county who have made an outstanding contribution to community safety.
More than 50 people and organisations were nominated for the awards by members of the public. They were shortlisted to six finalists, with the overall winner receiving £500 to go towards their work in the community and two highly commended winners receiving £300 each.
At the annual PFCC conference, the overall winner was announced as Shirley Hume, founder of Springfield Youth Group in Chelmsford. She was also voted as the People’s Choice Award winner, scooping an extra £100.
Judge Jane Gardner, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “We all know of lots of people who go the extra mile. They do not shout about it; they just get on with it.
“This is an opportunity to thank the people who have done that.”
Shirley was concerned about the lack of youth facilities and was saddened to see so many young people hanging around the streets with nothing to do. So, two years ago, she set up a committee to start a youth group and a place of safety for young people to spend time in. The group now has 368 members.
Shirley, who is in the process of setting up two more clubs and campaigning for her own building, said: “The kids were getting bored and causing trouble. Someone had to do something about it, so I did. Without my team of volunteers, the community and funding from the PFCC, I would not be able to it on my own.
“I am shocked and overwhelmed to have won. This is for the kids. It will always be for the kids.”
Runners-up were Kirsty Fields, of Off The Streets in Southend, and Tony Ellis, Crime Prevention Assistant in Epping Forest district.
For the first time, the PFCC also hosted the Young Person’s Awards. Connie Lunn, a volunteer with Halstead Youth Club, was named as the winner.
She joined the Halstead division of St John’s Ambulance at the age of six and, in 2014, she campaigned to keep the Essex Youth Bus and other services open for young people in Halstead.
Thurrock Youth Cabinet – made up of Success Popoola, Lucia Lucioni, Grace Okutubo and Mercy Okutubo – were the highly commended runner-up after giving a presentation around gangs and knife crime at a gang related violence conference hosted by the Thurrock Community Safety Partnership.
The awards were kindly supported by Essex Chambers of Commerce. Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive of the Chambers, was part of the judging panel and co-hosted the awards with Jane Gardner and fellow judge Essex Police and Essex PFCC Volunteer Mandy Chapman Also on the judging panel was Janet Bloomfield, Essex Police’s Children and Young People and ASB Manager.
Denise said: “Reading the nominations was a humbling experience. It was amazing to see all of the fantastic work people are doing in their communities to help make Essex a safer place. It was really difficult decision to decide who went through the final as all of the nominees were of such high calibre and deserve the Community Safety Hero title.”
The finalists were:
Young Person’s Award:
Connie Lunn – Halstead Youth Group
Success Popoola, Lucia Lucioni, Grace Okutubo and Mercy Okutubo – Thurrock Youth Cabinet
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