Working jointly with our local community radio station Radio Verulam (92.6 FM and online at radioverulam.com), we are recording a series of interviews with representatives of local charities, voluntary groups, and social enterprises.
Each interview provides an opportunity to find out more about what each is doing, how and for whom. As the public purse shrinks, the role of organisations working to meet the needs and expectations of local people is ever increasing. The range of those involved in this project also includes some whose remit is more about involvement, participation and enjoyment. We plan to add two new interviews each month and offer as much variety as we can.
Update from the Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF)
HCF is a major provider of financial support for charities, voluntary groups and others who work with those in need across the County. In January 2021, CEO Helen Gray explained how the Foundation has been able to assist individuals as well as groups during the first year of the Coronavirus pandemic - a time when funds were often in short supply just when needs were on the increase.
In this interview recorded in 2018, Sian Tomlinson (the-then CEO of Mind in Mid Herts) explains to Rob Pearman the wide range of mental health and support services provided by this organisation by both professionals and volunteers through its offices across this part of the County.
In this revisit to the work of HWSF after two years, one of its founding members, Irene Austin, describes progress made in meeting the needs of incoming Syrian families, while Kerim, a young Syrian now studying in the UK and living with his family in Hertfordshire, explains how they were able to leave behind the trauma of war and start to build a new life.
Fiona Gaskell, Chairman of Harpenden Seniors Forum, tells Rob Pearman about the Forum, its history, its aim to be a primary source of information for senior citizens in and around Harpenden on local events and activities, clubs and other organisations, and also about the Forum’s annual fair at the Public Halls on 16 October (2018).
Clive Webb, Chairman of the Managing Committee, describes the activities of the Village Choir, an established community choir which performs at St Leonard's Church in Sandridge. The choir - under its Musical Director Cyd Waters - aims to produce three 'shows' each year: one in June, one in October and one in December.
Colin Dunkerley, Chairman of the St Albans Choral Society, tells Jill Burridge about the activities of the Society, including its fund raising and care home support, as well as recent and forthcoming performances.
After more than a quarter of a century’s involvement with Open Door in St Albans, Kerry Pollard tells Rob Pearman about the history, current situation and future hopes, plans and aspirations for this vital local service for rough sleepers.
Chair of the Management Committee Maralyn Pollard explains the work of the local Women’s Refuge to Jill Burridge and discusses the causes and impact of domestic abuse in its many forms. An interview timed to support International Women’s Day 2018.
Sue Varvel, Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Director of Nursing and Clinical Services, and Les Pedrick, volunteer at Grove House Day Hospice, St Albans, explain to Rob Pearman the work of one of the region’s leading providers of day and home hospice care.
Sandy Walkington, President of the Arc + Arc (St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society) delves into the past, present and future of this local charity and ‘learned society’ while adding loads of information about the architectural & archaeological history of St Albans.
Robert Voss, the recently appointed Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, tells Rob Pearman about his background and about the historic role that he has undertaken, as well as his commitment to education and young entrepreneurs.
Samantha Dukelow, Hertswise Locality Worker for the St Albans District, tells Rob Pearman about the work of this County-wide charity. Hertswise works in partnership with other local charities to provide a range of support services including home visits for those with memory loss, mild cognitive impairment or dementia. Help and guidance is also offered to family and friends.
The Jumbulance Trust is an accessible travel charity whose accessible coaches (the “Jumbulances”) make travel possible for adults and children who are disabled or have a serious or complex health condition. Trustee Gill Berry and Secretary Nicola Offer explain to Rob Pearman how the Trust operates and the wide range of groups and individuals that are able to enjoy holidays, short breaks or a day out in the UK or Europe thanks to the Trust and its affiliated groups of professional, medical and lay volunteers. With a new vehicle launched in January 2018 and a special link formed with football’s Premier League, the opportunities just keep increasing.
Jill Burridge talks to Stuart Falconer, founder and CEO of the OLLIE Foundation. OLLIE stands for One Life Lost Is Enough and it was founded by three sets of local parents whose teenage children took their own lives within the last three years. The charity's aim is to raise awareness of suicide in young people and to provide training for those who come into contact with them, e.g. teachers, youth group workers, et al.
Iain Murtagh, Project Manager at The Crescent in St Albans, describes the work of this centre which is committed to supporting those who are living with HIV or AIDS, as well as their families and friends. Iain begins by reminding us about the history of HIV/AIDS and the huge steps that have been taken in its management; he then explains the range of confidential services provided by The Crescent as well as its outreach into schools, colleges and the wider community. This interview was recorded shortly before World Aids Day 2017, and one year before The Crescent will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Roger Barnes, former Secretary of the ERO and an active member (cellist), explains to Rob Pearman why so many local amateur musicians participate in weekly rehearsals under their professional conductor, never performing to a paying audience yet enhancing their musical skills by playing and learning a wide range of new and established pieces.
Sarah Wren, founder and CEO of this County-wide service, tells Rob Pearman about the services provided by staff and volunteers that help local elderly and vulnerable people continue to live in their own homes in safety and comfort. It’s more than just Meals on Wheels – vital though that is!
In the first of this new series of conversations, Jill Burridge finds out how the County’s fostering services work and hears from a current foster parent just what the experience has been like for her and her own family.