Motivational speaker, counselor and legal adviser Bernadette MacDonald-Raggett was named as Volunteer of the year for community members by the New Societe organisation for Caribbean affairs for her outstanding contributions to the community.
Prior to accepting her award, Bernadette was interviewed by the New Societe organisation for Caribbean affairs representative Claudine Lewis.
On the CPS Bernadette said she had been doing community conversations with CPS as she is on the Wessex scrutiny hate crime panel and the Wessex scrutiny panel against violence to women and girls. She also uses her position as a panel member to help community members gain access to relevant solicitors and barristers. A lot of our community members were saying it would be nice to meet solicitors and barristers to ask questions so this is one of the things I helped to organise with the other solicitors to great success with and wide engagement from different ethnic groups.
On being a McKenzie friend
“I do a lot of tv work and the CEO Mr Rhoden saw me on tv and realized the value an ex-magistrate could bring to his organisation. He managed to track me down and asked me to come and work with him.
He asked if I would like to be a McKenzie friend for his organisation because a lot of people could not afford a real solicitor or barrister. I have also been attending Courts with some of our clients and our members of the community and helping them and I am delighted, to say I’ve won 53 out of 54 cases and only lost one as my client didn’t listen.”
On working with young offenders.
“I visit prisons on behalf of the New Societe Organisation for Caribbean affairs.
I receive phone calls from inside prisons and assist in helping to support families of prisoners. I
have been successful in running focus groups with young black offenders, some as young as 18
and teach them to leave the past behind and to start studying whilst they are still young to prepare for when they leave prison. Many of them are intelligent with the ability to turn their lives around. We want to help everyone who wishes to be helped and equip them with the skills to be successful when they leave prison. Part of fulfilling that mandate involves working with other agencies.
On Local community engagement
I am the Business Engagement Volunteer Lead with the PCC ( Police Crime Commissioners Team ), again working with other agencies including the police, small businesses, big businesses making sure their needs and concerns are addressed.
I also hold meetings with members of the public to hear their concerns and what they would like addressed and get them the help they need. With a focus to getting support for families and children.”
On what she enjoys most about the new society.
“Speaking to the community is what I enjoy most. Talking to the community understanding what’s going on, getting to know them and helping get the things they need most addressed.
Bernadette was then pleased to accept the award for Volunteer of the year granted by our members
Of the New Societe organisation for Caribbean affairs for outstanding services rendered on behalf of the enhancement of society. “
Claudine Lewis who presented Bernadette with the award said “let no one say you didn’t play your part”
Due to the current situation, Bernadette is currently only available for limited in person appearances subject to conditions, She continues to be available for T.V appearances and online conferences. For availability email bernadettemacdonaldraggett @gmail.com