Milton Keynes Community Foundation would like to welcome Julia Upton MBE, who has been appointed the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire for 2019-20. Previously, Julia was Chief Executive of MK Community Foundation, developing philanthropy and leadership while enhancing the property portfolio to enable subsidised rents and grants of almost £2M to be distributed to community groups and charities in Milton Keynes each year. At Milton Keynes Community Foundation, Julia led the initiative to increase and develop the portfolio of property of both land and buildings.
The appointment of High Sheriff is made by the Queen, and after the Monarchy, is the oldest civic office in the country, going back over 1000 years. The role of High Sheriff supports the judiciary and all those involved in law and order. She has a number of non executive roles including being a Trustee of MK YMCA, the Milton Keynes Cenotaph Trust, Wavendon Allmusic Plan (Stables Theatre), a member of the Development Steering Group of MK Gallery, and until recently, a Board member of MK Business Leaders Partnership.
Julia was a Trustee and Vice Chair of UK Community Foundation (UKCF) working to develop Community Foundations across the UK. She Chaired their Local Network Fund to support children and young people’s enterprises. Julia was influential in developing a ‘Quality Mark’ for all Community Foundations across the UK and Chaired the UKCF Quality Mark Committee to ensure the highest standards of running a Community Foundation were met. Working with UKCF she was instrumental in creating and launching ‘Vital Signs’ research, organising the national launch of this initiative in Milton Keynes at the Open University. This research enables Community Foundations throughout the UK to identify the successes and challenges in our communities.
Originally from Somerset, where Julia worked as a teacher, she also taught in London, later relocating to Milton Keynes and working for ten years as Deputy Head and Head Teacher. Throughout her teaching career she developed projects to engage art and cultural organisations to work in schools and the local community.
In 2015 Julia received the Women Leaders’ Award for Outstanding Contribution to Milton Keynes; in 2016 she was privileged to receive an MBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours, and also that year the MK College Principle’s Award for Partnership in the Community.
“It is an honour to have been appointed High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire. I am looking forward to meeting some of the many organisations and people that make such a difference to our community. Partnerships help to create successful communities and I will seek to encourage collaborations that unlock opportunities and the potential in our county, and shine a light on the wonderful work of others who do so much in Buckinghamshire. As High Sheriff I am concerned about the issues that lead to crime and wish to focus on initiatives that prevent crime and reoffending, and have a particular interest in arts and culture.”
We would like to wish Julia all the success in her year as High Sheriff and we look forward to working with her closely throughout her year in post.
Photo credit - Marian Mason Images