In conversation with Thomas Sheppard, High Sheriff of Somerset

learning disabled staff and volunteers plus staff of Quartet Community Foundation and High Sheriff of Somerset(Left to right) Suzanne Rolt, CEO Quartet Community, Thomas Sheppard, High Sheriff of Somerset 2021-2022, and Julie Newman, Quartet Philanthropy Officer (second from far right) visit Strawberry Line cafe and get a warm welcome from Staff and volunteers

Angela Emms, Philanthropy Manager talks to Thomas Sheppard

Whether you are a professional adviser, an established charity or someone trying to develop a charitable project, a conversation with Quartet will leave you better informed and supported.

Thomas Sheppard – High Sheriff of Somerset, 2021-2022

Tell us a bit about yourself

I qualified as a solicitor in 1977. Over my working life I have been in private practice with Thrings, a top 100 law firm, and this includes over ten years as the managing Partner and now, as a consultant, looking after clients of the firm.

Alongside my professional life I have always been actively involved with charities and not-for-profit organisations; this is usually as a trustee and often as the chair. These charities have followed my interests and include arts-based charities, such as Bath Festivals, Bath Theatre Trust and the Arnolfini in Bristol; health care organisations, such as Dorothy House Hospice Care, the Royal United Hospital NHS Trust and the mental health charity RICE.

I have held local roles such a parish councillor and churchwarden, over ten years on the Council of Management at the University of Bath and a director of Bath Rugby in its first years as a professional rugby club.

At the moment I am the chair of the Bath Preservation Trust and the Bath Boules Charitable Trust which gives away the proceeds of the annual boules competition in Queen Square.

I have the immense privilege to be the current High Sheriff of Somerset. Each year Her Majesty appoints 55 High Sheriffs across England and I am the 960th such appointment for Somerset. The role is to support the rule of law by giving encouragement to the Police and all those who provide services and care for the citizens of Somerset.

What is your involvement with Quartet?

As High Sheriff there is the opportunity to take an interest in the County’s voluntary sector which includes supporting the Community Foundations. Quartet is the Community Foundation which serves the northern parts of Somerset and over a number of years I have come to know their team and engage with the support they give to so many organisations.

Why do you think a relationship between Professional Advisers and Quartet is important?

Quartet is also well placed to help donors who want to plan effective charitable giving and who need reassurance their donations are being well used. As part of its approach to corporate responsibility, Thrings maintain a charitable fund where we and our staff can be actively involved in grant-making decisions.

Quartet has a team of Philanthropy Managers who are able to provide practical advice and signposting from their strong local knowledge. The help may be access to funding but it may also be an introduction to others or publicity for funded projects underway or achieved. I have seen this first hand when, as High Sheriff, I have visited charities and volunteer groups with Quartet and heard about the impact of their grants have made and helped identify further need.

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