Voluntary Sector Support

It is estimated that nearly 400,000 people at any one time, undertake some form of charity or voluntary work in Essex, whether it is running the local scout group, volunteering on the SOS buses, working to help troubled young people, ensuring that elderly people keep safe in their homes or giving time freely in some form of service, for example as a special constable. It is this dedication and devotion to our local communities that makes our society what it is today.

The High Sheriff plays an essential role in being able to visit, encourage and support community groups and volunteers. The High Sheriff’s post is unpaid, and the individual receives no expenses, so he or she can therefore also be seen as an Essex volunteer.

Since Saxon times, High Sheriffs have been associated with Law and Order. Today they give their support to people who strive to make their communities safer places in which to live and work.

During their year of office, the High Sheriff raises money for the High Sheriffs’ Fund which was established in Essex in 1997 to reward community initiatives that address crime and anti-social behaviour.  The Fund is managed and administered by Essex Community Foundation (ECF), an independent grantmaking charitable trust.

At the end of their year, the High Sheriff presents grants and certificates at a special awards ceremony to voluntary groups and individuals that are tackling local problems. To view details of the latest awards click here.

Grants are made annually from the High Sheriffs’ Fund. The programme opens in September and the deadline date for applications is 1 December. To apply for a grant please contact Essex Community Foundation on 01245 355947 or visit their website www.essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk

High Sheriffs Awards

The High Sheriffs’ Fund is managed by the independent grantmaking charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).

Successive High Sheriffs help to grow the endowed Fund by organising fundraising events and encouraging donations.  This enables ECF to deliver an annual grants programme and provide funding, in perpetuity, to support the work of voluntary and community groups that are tackling crime and contributing to community safety in Essex.

Since the High Sheriffs’ Fund was established in 1997, £760,000 has been awarded in grants.

2023/2024 – to read more about this year’s awards and view a full list of grants click here

The High Sheriff is pictured all the category winners at the 2024 High Sheriff’s Awards event.

Pictured L-R are:  Sarah Coppin (Sanctus), Sophie Mattei (YMCA Essex), Marie Edmonds (Aspirations Program), Lora Draper (The Change Project), Jamie Sawtell (Bar’n’Bus)

As well as receiving £2,000 to provide moving-in packs of essential items for former homeless young people at their Colchester supported housing accommodation unit, YMCA Essex were presented with the coveted High Sheriff’s Shield which the High Sheriff Judging Panel awards to an organisation for their outstanding contribution to community safety.

To view more photos of from the awards Click Here

County History

Essex is a diverse county, steeped in history, where rural communities sit alongside urban ones. Essex has a population of around 1.8 million living in fourteen Districts, two of which, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock, are unitary authorities. To find out more about what Essex has to offer visit www.visitessex.com/discover/cultural/ 

The records show that Essex has had a High Sheriff since the Norman Conquest. For most of the years up to 1567 the shrievalty of Essex was combined with that of Hertfordshire. A full list is held by the Under Sheriff of the County.


2014 Nicholas Charrington DL
2015 Vincent Thompson
2016 Mrs Lorna Rolfe JP
2017 Simon Hall MBE
2018 Bryan Burrough
2019 Dr James Bettley JP DL
2020 Julie Fosh
2021 Simon Brice
2022 Nicholas Alston CBE DL
2023 Charles Bishop

To view the list of High Sheriffs from 1900 click here



The Essex High Sheriffs’ Fund is managed by Essex Community Foundation (reg. charity no. 1052061). For information about the High Sheriffs’ Fund in Essex and how to apply for an Award please visit the Foundation’s website at www.essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk

Essex Police: www.essex.police.uk/

Essex County Fire & Rescue Service : www.essex-fire.gov.uk

Essex County Council: www.essex.gov.uk/

To find out all that is going on in the County of Essex visit the website: www.visitessex.com