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Season's Greetings from the Bedfordshire VERU

Wow, I feel like I've not long finished drafting last year's Christmas message and yet here we are again.

Like most years, the work that has been undertaken across the VERU with the support of partners has been immense, at times trying, but above all else rewarding. 

As always I take this time to extend my gratitude to you all, for joining us both in celebrations and through our challenges - we thank you and look forward to your continued support.

2023, where do I begin?

We started off the year by showcasing 'the best of Bedfordshire' to the Home Office in January, while March saw us host our very first Hope Hack and support the Police and Crime Commissioner's second annual Youth Conference.

In May we were praised by the HMICFRS for our child first approach to violence and exploitation and hosting the county's second Kick Off at 3 football tournament.

Over the summer we helped to amplify the efforts of the county's grassroots organisations as they provided countless activities and events for young people to get involved with. We also proudly saw our Bedfordshire Kick Off at 3 winners take second place at the national finals - a huge achievement.

The end of the year saw no change in momentum as Luton Town FC backed the launch of Just Drop It - the county's first ever anti-knife crime campaign - while our VERU Village relaunch event attracted more than 100 people to Central Bedfordshire.

Even without noting the numerous other events we supported, young people we worked with, partnerships we developed and of course our brand new website, you can see a small glimpse into all that has taken place throughout this year.

As I embark on my journey completing the College of Policing and National Police Chiefs Council Executive Leadership programme, I leave the VERU in the very capable hands of the unit's interim manager Cara Gavin (who I'm sure you'll soon connect with) and the wider team that you already know and love.

I will very much still lead as Director, but I take pride in knowing that the team will continue to thrive during times when I'm otherwise engaged.

With that, the only thing left to do is to wish those that celebrate the reason for the season a very Merry Christmas. And to our partners and friends that enjoy the holidays for other reasons, I hope this time brings you joy, contentment and a fresh wind for 2024.

....and Happy New Year in advance.

Kimberley Lamb - VERU director

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