The Hertford and Ware Volunteer Police Cadet unit were presented with the ‘Special Award for Outstanding Potential’ for their ACHIEVE CARE (Alzheimers & Cadets Helping Intimidated Elderly Vulnerable Victims Engage via Community Action RAPPAW* Engagement) social action project, which aims to tackle loneliness in the elderly community.

Working in partnership with Quantum Care, Sanctuary Housing, Network Homes, Hertfordshire Constabulary’s RAPPAW scheme, Team Herts and Simon Balle school, the cadets, and other local youngsters, are befriending older residents and people living with dementia to help them feel less isolated.

During the visits the cadets play games, talk to the residents and use technology to build memory clouds. RAPPAW therapy dogs also visit the care homes to provide further stimulation, therapy and support.

The scheme was among 44 worthy applications for the awards, which were whittled down to a final 11 who had to do a presentation in front of a testing panel.

Having only been running for around four months, the panel of judges commented how they were “enormously inspired” by what the ACHIEVE CARE project had achieved in such a short space of time.

As a result, they were presented with the special award by the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Stelio Stefanou OBE DL, during a recent ceremony at County Hall in Hertford.

Detective Constable Robert Scott, who leads the Hertford and Ware Volunteer Police Cadet unit, said, “This was an award that we worked hard for and that means an immense amount. The cadets’ commitment to this project over the past four months has been outstanding. On every visit they do an amazing job and are making life-changing impacts on the elderly.

They have also been very fortunate to have the backing and support of such amazing partners who have made this project what it is and will assist in its development and future success. We couldn’t have done this without them so I want to say a big thank you to everyone involved.”

Going forward, the aim is to expand the project by building links with more local schools and youth groups. An office has also been provided by East Herts Chief Inspector Gerry McDonald to allow for administration to be carried out more easily.

"I am extremely pleased that these cadets have been recognised for their great work with the ACHIEVE CARE project."

Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “I am extremely pleased that these cadets have been recognised for their great work with the ACHIEVE CARE project. They have managed to achieve so much in such a short space of time and I’m looking forward to seeing how the scheme progresses going forward.

“In my Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan it shows my hope to increase the number of cadets in Hertfordshire and extending the opportunities for them. I'm pleased to see this is already happening.”

* RAPPAW is a scheme which utilises trained volunteers and their dogs to help victims and witnesses.  They visit those who may be feeling vulnerable and often traumatised, to offer support.

A group of Volunteer Police Cadets