West Sussex charities and voluntary organisations celebrated at High Sheriff's summer reception

​​The High Sheriff of West Sussex has hosted a summer reception at Fishbourne Roman Palace to celebrate the contribution to the county made by charities and volunteers.

Andy Bliss, the High Sheriff, wanted to highlight charities and voluntary organisations that protect and care for people in particular, as well as reflect his support for organisations which promote the history and heritage of the county.

He said: "The event was held primarily to celebrate the outstanding work of charities and volunteers that protect and care for people in West Sussex. Because I am also keen to support charities that promote the history of the county, I held the event at Fishbourne, which is run by Sussex Archaeological Society, and a number of heritage organisations were represented.

"I set out this year as High Sheriff with a couple of really simple aims, to support those organisations that protect and care for the public and, a bit of a personal interest and passion, to support the charities that promote this county's very rich history.

"West Sussex is perceived to be a very affluent, lovely county, and it many respects it is that, but there are many challenges. One of those would be the cost of living impacts on some people in the county. This is a complex web.

"Protecting and caring for the public must always be a top priority. "

Mr Bliss described the Roman palace as 'one of Sussex's most fantastic heritage assets', adding: "There are others. We have a fantastic history here and a great future as well."

The palace dates back to 80AD, shortly after the Roman invasion, and the scale mirrors Domus Aurea, built by the Emperor Nero in Rome. The mosaics are world class

Leanne O’Boyle, executive director of Sussex Archaeological Society, spoke of the history and importance of the site. It has the country's oldest planned garden, which would have been twice the current size originally. The building would have been larger than Buckingham Palace, the largest Roman residence north of the Alps.

She said: "I firmly believe in the power of places like this to enrich people's lives, whatever their background, and working with local communities and volunteers is absolutely critical in this.

"As a charity, we absolutely rely on the volunteer members of our team to provide the service that we do. We have over 200 volunteers across the county and definitely in need of more."

Working with Heads On and the Brighton Dome, the society has recently launched the Good Space volunteering project, putting wellbeing at the heart of the volunteering experience.