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Kent Eye magazine April/May 2020


Sam Billings previews Kent cricket’s 150th season

Meet Josephine McCartney of Kent Community Foundation


Enjoy a family day out on an open-top bus


Stone Bay West Cliff

Ramsgate Bo

ating Pool

Stopping at local attractions... Broa ds Ramsgate Harbour

For dates visit



n Gap Dumpto


Inside Kent Eye April/May 2020

Eye on Business Trevor Sturgess presents a view of Kent’s business scene

Business Eye From CSR to big cat luxury accommodation, find out what’s happening with Kent’s businesses

Community Eye Find out what’s going on in your local community

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Josephine McCartney, Kent Community Foundation


The small organisation making a big difference

Education Eye Discover the world of University of Kent

Cover Story: Sam Billings Kent Eye’s editor interviews the Kent Captain with a

preview of the coming season, playing in the IPL and the World T20

Environment Eye

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20 19

Planting summer-flowering bulbs and tree planting

Property Eye What’s hot in the Kent property market

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Published by Kent Eye Limited. Kent Space, Wotton Road, Ashford, Kent TN23 6LN Editor: Charlie Vavasour Business Editor: Trevor Sturgess Features: Sananur Meric Guy Sales: Sarah Leigh Origination: Ali Scrivens For details on regular or future features, please email editor@kenteye.co.uk For advertising enquiries call Sarah Leigh: 0117 946 6848 or email advertising@kenteye.co.uk Visit: www.kenteye.co.uk @KentEyeMag © Copyright 2020 The views of the advertisers and contributors are not necessarily those of Kent Eye Ltd. No part of this magazine can be copied, reproduced or transmitted in any form without the publisher’s written consent. All rights reserved. ISSN 2633-870X


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Eye on Business

sub authour

Trevor Sturgess

Women in business are frequently under-appreciated and less noticed than their male counterparts. Their success often comes under the radar. International Women’s Day on 8 March highlighted the many

achievements of women across many sectors. We turn the spotlight on a quartet of women making their distinctive mark in the county.

COVID-19 threat to globalisation amid calls for louder voice for Garden of England Coronavirus has placed globalisation firmly in the dock. Apart from its devastating impact on health, businesses, jobs, the economy and our everyday life, it’s surely accelerated the need to ‘Think Local’. For many years, we have relied on overseas manufacturers to supply products at affordable prices, killing off domestic industries. In the food sector, growers across the world have seen off seasonality, enabling us to buy fresh produce all year round.

The mother-of-two – Felix, 12, and Oliver, 10 – comes from an entrepreneurial family who created Jumbo, the Dutch board games and wooden toys giant, in the mid-1800s. But she had no wish to follow her father Huib into the business, preferring instead to work for the Red Cross in a project management role that took her to volatile areas like Ethiopia and South Sudan. Floortje came to Kent for the first time in 2006 when she and her partner set up a tree surgery business in Folkestone.

A global supply chain has changed our buying habits and expectations – but it has led to a false sense of security.

Largely funded by member subscriptions with an annual contribution from Kent County Council (total budget is around £250,000), PinK will – post coronavirus – play an even greater role in encouraging us to buy local.

Irrespective of concerns over air miles, sustainability and carbon footprint, we see how easily supply lines can be disrupted by pandemics, war and transport disruption. We are far more vulnerable than we thought.

If we do, producers will have to boost quantity without sacrificing quality – and need more pickers just when they are likely to be in increasingly short supply over COVID-19 and Brexit fears and restrictions.

This applies particularly to food security. The UK needs to become more self-sufficient.

“I would like to think we’ve helped to influence people’s behaviour towards buying locally and sustainably,” says Floortje, who lives in Wingham. “If we can help members to do that, it will generate more traffic. We will achieve more awareness of the environment, more business for our members and that would be fabulous.”

For centuries, generations have owed much to Kentish farmers and growers for putting food and drink on our table. Their efforts have rightly earned the county’s Garden of England tag. Despite the challenges, Kent still has a vibrant land-based economy worth £2.6bn and employing 18,000. Both figures would soar if our buying habits change. Despite a trend towards local sourcing, we still don’t buy enough Kentish produce.

Rather than COVID-19, that’s the Garden of England’s important message that needs to go viral.

Produced in Kent, (PinK) binds together our growers and promotes their wares. Its new manager Floortje Hoette wants it to speak with a louder voice. The county is too “modest” about the riches it offers, she says. More noise would need greater resource and that means more organisations signing up. The current membership of 280 is well below potential. Floortje points to the thousands of producers, wholesalers, retailers, hotels, cafes and restaurants that supply Kentish produce yet haven’t joined. Her business background is helping Floortje to chart a higherprofile route for this organisation and the undervalued landbased sector. Floortje joined PinK from Kent Business School, taking over from Stephanie Durling who has retired. “I was ready for a new challenge and this is something I really wanted to do,” she says. “The Floortje Hoette in Macknade county has so much to offer.” Food Hall, Faversham u




Enterprising Isabella isn’t The Big Issue, it’s abusive Brits “Go and get a job” a woman shouted at the Big Issue seller stationed in her usual spot outside Marks & Spencer in Week Street, Maidstone. I was appalled. Like other sellers of this iconic magazine – the business was founded by Lord John Bird to give the homeless “a hand up not a handout” – Isabella Constantine is a small-scale entrepreneur. She buys her magazines for £1.25 a copy and sells for £2.50. That’s business. Sadly, it’s not the only insult Isabella hears. “Go back to where you come from” is a frequent taunt. Abuse is more frequent since Brexit, she claims, amid fears over her future status under new settlement rules. The mother-of-two, with a third on the way, came to the UK from Romania when she was seven. She enriches the Week Street scene and deserves to be valued as a local businesswoman. We should celebrate her enterprise and welcome the diversity she and other Big Issue sellers bring to our streets.

p Enterprising Isabella

Go-to Aly is just champion for Women Businesswomen often under-achieve because they lack confidence in public speaking. But those helped by Aly Harrold have seen their business fortunes transformed. Aly, from West Malling, is the 2020 Women’s Champion. She builds confidence and skills that empower women to Aly Harrold p present effectively. Judges described her as the “go-to person” for public speaking coaching After receiving her accolade at the Kent Women in Business (KWIB) Awards, Aly said: “I am incredibly proud of what my clients are achieving by being able to speak articulately about their businesses, helping them discover the power of their own voice, building their confidence and watching them inspire an audience.”

Imogen calls on business to shout out for Medway City of Culture bid Win or lose, Medway’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025 will stimulate investment and jobs, promises Imogen Robertson, the bid’s project manager. Just weeks into her dream job, she enthuses about the opportunity to do great things for her hometown. “The advantages of bidding are enormous,” she says. “It’s not a win or lose situation. Even the act of bidding is putting Medway on the map. It’s a real catalyst for investment.” Born In Chatham, growing up in Rochester and studying at Fort Pitt Grammar School, 29-year old Imogen has Medway in her DNA. That she has theatre experience and worked in public engagement for the Imperial War Museum made her a natural choice for the role. “I wouldn’t do this job for anywhere else,” she enthuses.

No previous winner has come from the south east and that may work in Medway’s favour. Being UK City of Culture 2017 cost Hull around £27 million – part of it from grants. Hundreds of thousands of pounds are needed to work up the bid. But there is payback. The East Yorkshire city attracted five million visitors and enjoyed a multi-million pound legacy boost. It enhanced skills, volunteering, sense of identity and pride. Coventry, UK City of Culture 2021 and a friend to Medway, expects similar outcomes. Would a successful bid do the same for Medway? No doubt, says Imogen. But her biggest challenge is getting everyone enthused, from businesses to community groups and young people.

Imogen is keen to engage businesses, along with community groups and young people, in the campaign.

“Whether you work or study in the area, we want you to talk about it, to contribute ideas and get involved.”

The more enthusiasm judges see from all sectors of society, the better the chances of winning.

Bids will be judged on levels of enthusiasm, involvement, commitment, youth and ethnic engagement. “We have an opportunity to be really bold and big. It’s about unlocking potential and telling our unique story.”

But the Towns face tough competition from potential rivals Lancashire, Bradford, Chelmsford and Southampton.

She is keen to see wider Kent supporting the campaign as the whole county stands to benefit. Imogen cites Medway’s rich history, architecture, creativity and literary links as justifying the bid. She singles out p Medway Culture this year’s 150th vulture: Imogen anniversary of Charles Robertson Dickens’ death and COVID-19 permitting is due to be remembered in Dickens 150 events. The 29-year old daughter of Graham, a retired head teacher, and Deborah, a charity worker, adds: “Now is the time to get involved and voice the reasons why you’re proud to live in Medway, work in Medway, why you set up a business here. “It’s a real passion project for me and success will be massively transformative, putting Medway on the map in terms of identity. There’s so much happening and a real opportunity to shout about Medway. This is a real opportunity to use culture to bind us together as a society.

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Counselling & Counselling Courses

Hawkhurst Parish Council

Dartford & Gravesend Town Centres: Counselling Service: low cost, affordable; for children, teens, adults, couples….

“COVID 19 Community Support” Any residents interested in supporting neighbours should email the Parish Council so we can register you with the wider response team and keep you informed.

Whatever your concern we can help Counselling Courses: train to be a professional counsellor Levels 2, 3, 4, 5 Introduction to Counselling Courses certificated CPD: 5-week courses (suitable for those thinking about counsellor training & for care sector

workers & complementary therapists)

www.hawkhurst-pc.gov.uk parish.clerk@hawkhurst-pc.gov.uk 01580 752058

E: admin@walk-tall.org.uk T: 01474 560834 www.walk-tall.org.uk


Town & Country - quarter page:Layout 1 20/03/2020 09:03 Page 1

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Call: Natalie or Chloe 01580 762 244 Visit: www.townandcountryhomecare.co.uk These positions are exempt from the rehibilitation of offenders act.




Cherish BBC – Don’t take the Mickey The BBC faces a barrage of criticism, fuelled by dubious Government claims of anti-Brexit bias. The licence fee is under threat, potentially replaced by a Netflix-style subscription. Statistics show the young don’t watch the Beeb much, if at all. They pay several subs to streaming services but would they be willing to stump up another? If it has to rely on a subscription model, standards would likely dumb down. You only have to look at the poor quality output and sometimes fake news churned out on US television. The licence fee is my favourite tax because, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said in another context, it “buys civilisation” in the form of education, information and entertainment. In times of crisis like COVID-19, more people turn to the BBC for authority and a counter to doubtful social media claims and fake news. But the BBC is much more than news and the Today programme. It is cultural heaven, funding orchestras, promoting the Proms, supporting Glastonbury (sadly not this year) and serving a wide range of demographic, musical and speech tastes. Funding free licence fees for over-75s on benefit – surely as a state policy a Government responsibility – has forced job cuts. Kent’s Mickey Clark for one has paid the price. For years, this astute business journalist who lives in Sandwich has illuminated Wake up to Money, the BBC Radio 5 Live daily show. As a former business editor, I literally woke up to the show, hearing Mickey analysing the latest news and asking the killer questions, while also showing humour and healthy scepticism for trendy social media and dot-com businesses. Of course, the BBC is not perfect. There are issues of its licence-funded news and digital services competing with commercial media that rely on generating their own income without “subsidy.” Privately funded competitors like Netflix often match – or exceed – the BBC for quality. South East News covers too large an area. I have reported on alleged ageism when BBC South East dumped experienced broadcasters Geoff Clark and Beverley Thompson. It can be arrogant, interrupt too much, pay excessive salaries to celebrity presenters – and, a personal gripe, failed to bid enough for Test cricket. But taken in the round, this is a British institution for the public good, making programmes that reflect British interests and projecting British values worldwide. It should be cherished, not trashed. Thanks Mickey for more than 20 years of business broadcasting - you didn’t deserve the chop.

One law for ‘lying’ business leaders, another for politicians, claims Esler Business leaders found to be liars are fired – so why isn’t it the same for politicians? Gavin Esler, Chancellor of the University of Kent and one-time BBC journalist, asked the question in the Scottish Highlands village of Pitlochry where he spoke about his lively myth-busting book Brexit without the Bullshit.

p Gavin Esler

He cited the example of VW bosses sacked for “lying” in the VW diesel emissions scandal. Yet populist politicians who veered from the truth to get elected under the cover of simplistic slogans like “Get Brexit Done” and “Make America Great Again” survived. Decent political colleagues did not counter the “lies” because they preferred power and being associated with a winner, Esler told an audience in the Festival Theatre. *Brexit without the Bullshit: The facts on food, jobs, travel and the NHS, published by Canbury Press at £8.99

Cross-channel group pledges post-Brexit unity to maintain business and friendship Kent has signed a post-Brexit deal with European neighbours to underline continued friendship and trade. Council and business representatives met in the French town of Arras to launch the Straits Committee, a partnership between two French departments Pas-de-Calais and Nord, West Flanders in Belgium and Zeeland in the Netherlands. Shortly after the signing ceremony, the UK and EU were about to start trade talks in the hope of a deal by December. Coronavirus has put paid to that timetable.

p Cllr Mike Whiting signs up

Cllr Mike Whiting, Kent County Council Cabinet member for Economic Development, signed the memorandum. “This is not just a committee of ideas but has to be a committee of action,” he said. “We want to do concrete projects with concrete outcomes that benefit the people of the regions.”

p Gavin Cleary, chief executive, It was vital to ensure Kent businesses “continue to Locate in Kent

thrive and do business with their counterparts on the other side of the Channel.” Gavin Cleary, chief executive of Locate in Kent, the inward investment agency, attended the launch and welcomed the political world to ‘move on beyond the Brexit period’.

t Mickey Clark

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Community support vital for business bottom line Kent businesses are getting the message that giving something back to the community is a vital ‘win-win’ strategy. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expert Tracy-Anne Barker told delegates at a meeting in Rochester that supporting others paid dividends across the business and could even boost the bottom line. Tracy-Anne, who heads up T A Barker Associates, was speaking after the second event in the Corporate Social Responsibility 2025 – Fit for the future series, organised to help businesses understand the commercial benefits of CSR. She said that as well as being good for charities on the receiving end, CSR offered many benefits to the donor business, particularly since public sector tender documents are increasingly weighted towards companies that show they ‘give something back’ to their local community. The conference was held at the Rochester home of the Friends of Wisdom Hospice, one local charity that has benefited significantly from CSR, which is designed to encourage businesses to get involved in the community or local good causes. “Businesses across Kent are waking up to the fact that having a properly thought-out CSR policy is important for a number of reasons, not least because it can help them to win larger public contracts,” she said. “Getting involved in the community and focusing on social responsibility is good for the morale of the workforce, it can

increase productivity, it helps businesses win new clients and it can even reduce costs by making staff more environmentally aware. It’s a really good way of raising the company’s profile and boosting the bottom line.” One of the speakers at the event was Susan Buhagiar, community liaison coordinator for John Lewis & Partners at Bluewater. She said the company believed the business “should give more than it takes – to our customers, the communities we operate in and each other”. Employees – or partners – at the Bluewater store have supported more than 1,000 charities over the past 20 years and given 20,000 hours of their time as volunteers. Charities supported recently include the Friends of Wisdom Hospice, set up in 1982 to support the building and ongoing funding of the Rochester-based charity. Chief Executive Martyn Reeves showed the meeting ‘before and after’ photographs of a patio area transformed by a smiling John Lewis team. The meeting also heard from Chris Newberry, from Wildwood Media, on the most effective way of using video to highlight CSR activity, and from Jenna Wells from R J Power, who shared her company’s social media “dos and don’ts”. Tracy-Anne said that as well as being increasingly vital when tendering for contracts, a clear CSR policy was good for staff engagement, motivation and retention. She said it helped to develop brand loyalty, as well as supporting local good causes or community initiatives. The next meeting of the CSR 2025 group is planned for 11 June at the home of the We Are Beams charity in Hextable. More information is available from Tracy-Anne on 07449 041092 or by emailing tracy-anne@tabarkerassociates.co.uk

As the UK says goodbye to Europe, Bedfont says hello

Stagecoach South East appoints senior team to drive customer improvements

Bedfont, based in Kent, has purchased its first European office in Salzburg, Austria from Dr. Lahner GmbH, who was its first distributor when Bedfont began exporting in 1988.

Stagecoach South East has appointed two new members to its senior team, in order to continue improving services for its millions of customers.

Bedfont is confident this move will only strengthen its presence in Europe by increasing both brand and product awareness, helping them to gain access to new markets, including, Germany. Jason Smith, Managing Director, comments, “The plan has always been to branch out with additional offices strategically located across the globe but Brexit has expedited this process to a small extent – regardless, I am very happy to announce that we have acquired our first European office and we’re excited to work alongside the team.”


Mark Wallis and Grahame Patterson have been appointed to the roles of Engineering Director and Fleet Engineer respectively. Mark said: “With 32 years’ worth of  Mark Wallis (L) and experience in the bus industry, I am confident that in my Grahame Patterson of new role, I can help Stagecoach South East make strides in Stagecoach South East making sure our buses are even more punctual, reliable and clean.” Grahame, previously Acting Engineering Director, has worked in various roles within Stagecoach South East for over 25 years and is a highly experienced Transport Manager. Grahame added: “I’m excited to take up the position of Fleet Engineer – having worked for Stagecoach South East for many years, I am well aware of what we do well but also of what we can do to improve. We believe in acting on feedback and a large part of my new role will be to focus on the issues that people have told us matter to them.” In 2018 Stagecoach celebrated 25 years since taking over the East Kent Road Car Company in 1993. Since then it has almost doubled its fleet to 459 buses, with its new vehicles offering the latest cleaner engine technology to provide greener travel. The company employs more than 1,300 people and carries more than 43 million passengers a year.



Community Eye Hospices of Hope and Bagpuss raise funds for seriously ill children Kent based charity, Hospices of Hope, has launched its new Bagpuss Appeal to raise funds for seriously ill children. The children are cared for in the Bagpuss Wing at Hospice Casa Sperantei in Brasov, Transylvania.

Emily Firmin with the original Bagpuss and Simon Postgate with hospice mascots Bagpuss and Lizzie Mouse.


The Wing is named after the much-loved “saggy old cloth cat” in recognition of Oliver Postgate’s generous support for the charity’s work. Oliver was one of Bagpuss’ creators. He and co-creator Peter Firmin wanted Bagpuss and his friends to raise funds for children’s hospice services. Emily Firmin, (Emily from the Bagpuss TV programmes), officially opened the Wing in 2002 and members of the Postgate and Firmin families continue to support the charity. Emily brought the original Bagpuss to the Appeal launch event in Sevenoaks. The appeal’s target is £215,000 which is the cost of running the Bagpuss Wing for a year. For more information or to make a donation visit www.hospicesofhope.co.uk/Bagpuss

Stagecoach declares zero tolerance approach on staff abuse

“My dad is a bus driver please be kind to him.” Ellie (aged 8) Daughter of David We’re proud to serve our community. We want everyone to feel safe on the bus - including our staff. Abuse of any kind won’t be tolerated and we will seek to prosecute.

Joel Mitchell, Managing Director Stagecoach South East

A proud partnership between

Stagecoach South East has involved the families of its staff in the campaign with employees’ children dressing in mini uniforms to help get the message across. The zero tolerance campaign has been launched in partnership with Kent Police and Sussex Police.

With incidents of verbal and physical abuse on the rise, Stagecoach South East has launched a ‘zero tolerance’ campaign to help protect its staff and look after its customers. The bus company intends to seek to prosecute anyone who is verbally or physically abusive to its employees, particularly the drivers out on the road. Joel Mitchell, Stagecoach South East’s Managing Director, said: “We have an opportunity to work together to provide a fantastic bus service for our community and we want our customers to be part of it. There’s a lack of kindness in the world at the moment and we want to change that.  We’re hearing more and more stories from our drivers “ about the abuse they receive when they’re simply doing their job. Nobody should have to go to work worrying about whether they’ll get hurt, sworn at or spat on. These incidents are just not acceptable, so we’ve decided to take action.

Medway receives nearly £5 million government funding for Medway Tunnel improvement works Medway Council has been awarded nearly £5 million of funding from the Department of Transport for works for the Medway Tunnel. The funding will be spent on new ventilation fans, crash barriers, a vehicle monitoring system and slip road improvements. Works are expected to begin later on this year and are due to be completed in the next five years. Cllr Phil Filmer, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be awarded nearly £5 million funding from the Department for Transport. “This comes as a result of the continuous lobbying and meetings with the Transport Secretary by Medway Council for government funding for an essential part of Medway’s infrastructure. We are committed to keeping Medway moving.”

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German dive bomber sculpture lands at Battle of Britain Memorial in Kent A full-sized sculpture of a crashed German World War Two dive bomber is on display at the Battle of Britain Memorial site to reflect a ‘spirit of reconciliation’ and highlight the international outlook of the charity that maintains the National Memorial to the Few.

Garden. It will remain at the Memorial for the summer, during which the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain will be commemorated. With just two Fighter Command veterans of the 1940 conflict thought to be still alive, the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust is planning to broaden its approach as it develops its role as the international authority on the Battle that changed history. The Secretary of the Trust, Group Captain Patrick Tootal, explained: “In early 2019, on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Trustees re-examined the charity’s role and decided it should also address and record the role of the Luftwaffe in the Battle in order to provide a comprehensive and authoritative overview of the events of 1940.” That decision coincided with an approach from the artist to ask if the Trust would be interested in displaying his piece, which has a wingspan of 14m – wider than either the Spitfire or Hurricane.

The crashed Junkers Ju87 Stuka, made of stainless steel, is sited next to the replica Mk 1 Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft that are major attractions at the memorial’s clifftop home at Capel-leFerne, just outside Folkestone. The sculpture, by Bavarian artist Mr Hex FRSS, is called Down. Two.Earth and has been on display at Burghley House Sculpture

Mr Hex has a particular interest in the Battle as his father and the German artist Joseph Beuys both served in the Luftwaffe, flying in the same Stuka squadron. He has told the Trust he is “proud and privileged to be part of your Memorial for a time”.

Electrical donation lights up Riverbank children’s ward at Maidstone Hospital A little piece of the outside has been brought inside to Riverbank children’s ward at Maidstone Hospital thanks to a generous donation. Children undergoing treatment or waiting to go down for day surgery can now gaze up at blue skies, white floating clouds and rays of golden sunshine after Yesss Electrical, an electrical wholesaler based in Tunbridge Wells, gifted Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust a light display worth £3,120. Branch Manager Elliot Swann and Sales Manager Matthew Bromley came up with the idea when the showroom was undergoing a small refurbishment. Matthew said: “There was still plenty of life in the Visualite sensory and wellbeing lighting solution so we knew we didn’t want to simply discard it. “Visualite wellbeing lighting solutions are specifically designed to provide a calming and therapeutic effect in any healthcare space. They not only help patients to relax during procedures but also provide an aesthetically pleasing environment for staff and visitors too. Jackie Tyler, Lead Matron for Paediatrics, said: “We’re very grateful to Yesss Electrical for their generous donation.

 L to R: Health Play Specialist for Gastroenterology Vicki Belton, Yesss Electrical Sales Manager Matthew Bromley, Nurse Lisa Pudan (blue uniform) and Nursery Nurse Lisa Burton-Duff (pink uniform).

“Visiting a hospital ward can be scary and quite daunting for children and their families but I have seen first-hand how the new lighting installation is helping to put a smile on the faces of everyone who visits the ward which is just lovely.”

10 www.kenteye.co.uk


Advertise volunteer and trustee vacancies for free Kent Recruitment is offering Kent charities the opportunity to advertise their volunteer and trustee vacancies on the Kent Recruitment website free of any charge. Any charity that needs new volunteers or trustees, can contact Kent Recruitment for help. Recently the recruitment firm has partnered up with charities such as: The Bay Trust, Carers Support, Catching Lives, Communigrow, Demelza, Ellenor, Imago, Kent Wildlife Trust, Pilgrims Hospice, Young Lives Foundation as well as smaller organisations such as Necessary Furniture and The Woodchurch Driving Group. For more information, please contact Tony Line. www.kentrb.co.uk

Nelson Arms is West Kent’s top pub The Nelson Arms in Tonbridge has been named the West Kent CAMRA Pub of the Year. Hard on the heels of the pub’s first entry in the Good Beer Guide, the Nelson Arms, in Cromer Street, has become the first Tonbridge pub to take the title, in an area which includes Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells, Edenbridge and Brenchley. Landlord Matthew Rudd and his partner Emma Cole rescued the popular pub from closure two years ago, since when the duo have introduced speciality foodie nights, live music, darts and Sunday roasts. When judges visited the pub they found ‘a comprehensive range of wellkept ales, served in tip top condition in a friendly environment and in a professional manner.’ Matthew, 54, said: “Both myself and Emma, along with bar manager Jason Pope and our bar staff Ella and Debbie, were delighted to learn we had won this award. We are thrilled that the judges selected our pub out of more than some 120 others in the region and is a credit to the whole team and to our customers, who continue to enjoy our ever-changing range of guest ales.” www.thenelsonarms.com

Medway awarded funding to continue work with rough sleepers Medway Council has been awarded more than £860,000 to continue providing help and support for rough sleepers in Medway from the government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative for the 2020/2021 financial year. The funding will be used to continue the council’s work supporting those residents who find themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness. Medway Council offers a range of support for people with nowhere to live, including a specialist outreach team which liaises with rough sleepers and advises them of the support available from a range of organisations. The council also offers specialist help to vulnerable women, people with mental health problems and provides a variety of accommodation all year round. Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, said: “We welcome this funding which will allow us to continue to offer a range of support for people with nowhere to live. Thanks to this additional government funding we have helped house more than 100 rough sleepers since July 2018.”

Further £5 million investment in Kent full fibre broadband provider Kent-based full fibre broadband provider Trooli has attracted a further £5 million in investment to support the rollout of its fast-growing network across rural Kent. The ultrafast broadband provider, which was launched 18 months ago and is based in Kings Hill, secured the funding from NatWest to help fund operating costs as the network spreads to more local towns over the next few years. The new funding complements the €30 million secured from European investors in May 2019 to fund the capital costs of installing the network. Trooli delivers full fibre broadband connections directly into customers’ homes to overcome the issue of poor broadband speed in rural towns, providing guaranteed broadband speeds of between 300Mbps and 1GB. Work has already been completed in Kings Hill, West Malling, Leybourne, West Peckham, Paddock Wood and parts of Coxheath with work under way in East Peckham, Longfield and Wateringbury and further plans to keep expanding in the immediate future. In the next 30 months, the company aims to be available to 150,000 Kent homes and businesses, rising to 500,000 in five years. Ashley Atkins, CFO for Trooli, said: “We’re extremely passionate about rolling out our full fibre network to as many communities in Kent as possible and delivering the broadband speeds they deserve.”

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Making a difference in Kent For a small organisation of just 14 people, Kent Community Foundation (KCF) certainly packs a punch with its impact on local communities through Kent and Medway. Kent Eye met the woman driving the organisation forward to make even more of a difference to people throughout the county. KCF was originally established in 2001 by Simon MacLachlan, who wanted to set up a process for companies and individuals to donate funds to worthy causes. Based near Mersham, KCF is a professional grant-making organisation that in the past year has given grants to over 700 organisations, totaling £3.2 million. Community Foundations originated in the US and Canada and the first foundations were established in the UK around 30 years ago. There are now 46 foundations in the network and while they are all independent, they all sign up to following the same ethos and way of working. KCF Chief Executive Josephine McCartney explains: “In simple terms we connect people in the county who want to give, with people who need the funding. The recipients are often small organisations with a low profile, but which are doing a great job and providing a valuable service. KCF acts as a go-between, identifying great causes that need funds and providing doners with the confidence that their funds are going to credible organisations that will use the funds appropriately to make a real difference.” It is not just small organisations that KCF supports; last year it provided a grant of £700,000 to a homeless charity in Tonbridge; but the average size of grant is £4,500 - £5,000. “The benefit for the donor is that KCF will do all the leg work, the due diligence, administration, legals, monitoring and reporting, providing the donor with the peace of mind that their funds are being targeted where they are needed and that they are being used appropriately. We work with companies, trusts and individuals; some set up their own fund that we manage for them, others just donate to programmes we run (pooled funds) and some just want to get an idea of the organisations that are looking for support and will then fund direct.

The impact of Coronavirus, COVID-19 within the charitable sector in Kent will be unprecedented and Kent Community Foundation has responded with a new Emergency Fund. KCF will be supporting charities and community groups facing extreme difficulties or closure, as the impact of government measures to reduce the spread of the virus, affects their crucial fundraising activities. The KCF Coronavirus Emergency Fund will take applications for grants of up to £10,000, from charities, with an annual income of £200,000 or less, to fill the gap that not being able to fundraise during the Coronavirus restrictions, will inevitably create. The Fund will initially give priority to applications from charities supporting the elderly and vulnerable. Josephine McCartney said: “The impact of COVID-19 will see many in the charitable sector facing a very uncertain and worrying future. The new KCF Coronavirus Emergency Fund will initially support charities and community groups working with the elderly and vulnerable, but we will closely monitor developments to assess which other groups may also need support from this Fund. “It is impossible to estimate how many urgent applications we will receive, and we hope that people across the county might help us by donating what they can, at this unprecedented time.” Charities that have already received funding or have a grant pending should visit the Kent Community Foundation website to read a statement explaining how the Foundation can offer additional support during the next few months. Josephine McCartney KCF with Ian Priston - Boys and Maughan Solicitors q

“Many people are cautious about donating funds unless it is to a big national charity as they worry about what will happen to their money. KCF provides those donors with the confidence to support small local charities.” KCF currently has 83 fund holders, and they are always on the lookout for organisations that need help. “There are over 3,000 registered charities in Kent and Medway, but KCF also funds ‘consolidated groups’ – any organisation that has a small committee and a separate bank account, that is delivering a service the local community needs and that people are benefitting from. “Organisations can contact KCF and say: ‘we’re looking for funding for this project’, and we will always see if we can help. Unlike some other grants we also fund core costs as well as projects; so, providing

12 www.kenteye.co.uk


Josephine visiting We-Are-Beams pi t Kent Community Foundation Team

funds for things like rent and electricity bills that will help the organisation to survive. The easiest way to apply is online through our website, but if anyone is at all unsure whether they are eligible to apply they can simply call us – we always answer and will be able to give advice and guidance over the phone.” Originally from Glasgow, Josephine has spent over 20 years working in the voluntary sector and joined KCF three years ago. “It was serendipity, the role felt it was meant to be from the first day in the job and I haven’t looked back since. KCF is special because we care, both for the voluntary sector and for the service that we provide to fundholders – our aim is to make sure they are fulfilled in their charity giving. We dedicate a lot of time on getting things right and we really do care about the organisations that we support – everything we do on the charity side is free.” When asked about her favourite projects that KCF has supported, Josephine hesitates: “There are so many great projects, it’s really hard to pick individual ones out. The issue of homelessness is particularly close to my heart and there is a growing homeless problem in Kent. The support we have given to Porchlight, Kent’s largest charity for homeless and vulnerable people, has been great as they are so well placed to address the issues and the individual impact really is life changing. “Adult mental health is another big area for us, and we have found a real lack of an out of hours service for those in crisis. People have nowhere else to go, so usually end up at A&E or the police, so KCF has pulled together a funding consortium to set up and run a three year pilot project in Folkestone to take the pressure off front line services. The Folkestone Haven project will open in April and will be available 365 days a year for anyone suffering a mental health crisis to just walk in and get support. This will be the first project of its kind in Kent and we are really excited to be involved in it. “Another favourite is Dandelion Time, a small charity based just outside Maidstone that provides alternative therapy for children of families dealing with trauma. It uses animals and nature to help children to cope and recover and is extremely successful.” Last year KCF set up a special women’s fund having received funding from the Government’s tampon tax. “We launched the

women’s fund last November as a way of supporting charities who support women on the margins, and this fund will be our focus for 2020. Anyone who has a passion for causes to support women can donate to the pooled fund and it’s already become really popular both for funders and applicants. The funding focuses on domestic assault, poverty of opportunity, homelessness and mental health and NEETS (not in education, employment or training) and the first round of funding was four times over-subscribed.” As well as working with donors, KCF also supports professional advisors, such as wealth managers, accountants and solicitors, by providing free advice to their clients about their wills and legacies. “Solicitors in particular are not able to recommend charities to their clients, so they bring us in and we can advise of ways to leave money that will go to deserving charities. We spend a lot of time doing the research on the best way to make a difference and we are happy to meet anyone to offer advice.” When asked: ‘what do you say to people who claim that the government should be sorting these issues out?’, Josephine responds: “There will never be enough money to meet all the needs, there will always be gaps and that is why we have a civic society. It’s not the fault of government necessarily, there is just not enough to go around – that is a fact and it is naive not to realise it. In an ideal world it would be fantastic not to need the voluntary sector, but we are currently a long away off that.” When it comes to leisure, Josephine is looking forward to spring and getting back out on the golf course. “I am a golf fan, and love playing the Leeds Castle course which is perfect for me – nice and local, challenging with great scenery. I also love to spend time on the beach and with our dog and I’m an avid reader, especially of Irish writer Marian Keyes who writes fiction about modern women in a modern world. Her books are always funny, hard hitting and heartwarming, and thoroughly recommended.” To finish up Josephine has one simple message: “We are always wanting to hear from organisations that need help and for funders who want to engage with the local community, so I’d encourage people to just contact us and see how we can help them make a huge difference throughout Kent and Medway.” To find out more visit: www.kentcf.org.uk/

www.kenteye.co.uk 13

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Community grants continuing to support local groups Sevenoaks District Council will again be supporting local charity and voluntary groups by allocating £153,340 to help them continue their valuable work across the District. The grants will support organisations which provide services to Sevenoaks District residents, particularly those in greatest need. Amongst the organisations that will benefit from the grants are North West Kent Volunteer Centre, Age UK Sevenoaks & Tonbridge and Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services. This year, several new charities and groups have been granted funding including PSB Breastfeeding, Fegans and The Hygiene Bank, who will use their grant to fund volunteer toolkits.

Plans approved for new Swanley leisure centre Planning permission for a modern leisure centre for Swanley has been approved. The new centre is intended to replace the current White Oak centre, which, at more than 50 years old, is coming to the end of its working life. The new energy efficient centre includes a six-lane swimming pool with a movable floor, available to a wide range of clubs, a learner pool, a 100 plus station fitness studio with modern equipment and a multi-purpose sports hall. Flexible, multi-use studios for classes and events alongside new activities, including Tag Active, and a soft play area form part of the plans. In all, the new centre would cost around £20 million to build and equip and will

be constructed in the grounds of the current White Oak Centre, which would remain open during the works. Cabinet Member for People and Places, Cllr Lesley Dyball, says: “Gaining planning permission is a big milestone in the provision of a new leisure centre for Swanley. This is the culmination of years of work.” In April, the centre will be considered by the Council’s Cabinet and then Council, consisting of all 54 Councillors. If they approve the proposals, building work could start this summer with the new centre opening its doors to the public in late 2021. q Artists impression of the new leisure centre

The Council’s Cabinet Member for People and Places, Cllr Dyball said: “The community grants scheme is a fantastic way to show our support to the incredibly valued voluntary sector across the Sevenoaks District. Residents’ wellbeing is one of our top priorities and our grants allow these wonderful charities and groups to continue helping our most vulnerable residents.”

History and heritage to be focus for new Artist in Residence Exploring the heritage of Dover Place and working with Hitachi Rail Europe are among the top priorities of the new Artist in Residence at the Coachworks site in Ashford. Liz Wilson will be working with visitors, partners and the local community to create artworks which explore the industrial heritage of Dover Place.

The residency will last for seven months, and will be managed jointly between Ashford Borough Council and the Coachworks. Funding for the project is coming from section 106 funding for public art from the Connect38 development. Liz said: “I am really looking forward to working with local businesses and

community groups from Ashford. In the coming months I will be creating new works responding to the industrial heritage of Ashford, and its overall significance within Kent. The works produced during the residency period will culminate in an exhibition open to the public later this year.”

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JOIN OUR WORLD APPLY NOW FOR 2020 www.kent.ac.uk




The University of Kent


Welcome to Our World The University of Kent is widely recognised for its award-winning teaching and research. This includes a recent and highly prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the work of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), one of the UK’s leading institutions in the field of global conservation. Previous Queen’s Anniversary Prizes have gone to our Law Clinic for its free legal advice and representation service to the local community, and to the Tizard Centre, which, for more than 30 years, has worked to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With campuses in Medway and Canterbury we also have a reputation for being one of the best UK universities for the overall quality and impact of our student experience, as well as our diverse, inclusive and welcoming student and staff communities. Our student employability remains one of the highest in the sector. Our students, of whom we are immensely proud, have gone on to make a difference regionally, nationally and internationally, working in areas that range from sports science to business and finance, as well as the creative and cultural industries. Many of them also live locally and utilise our flexible and supportive environment to combine their work or caring responsibilities with studying for their career or the pursuit of a long-held passion. For more than 50 years we have been committed to supporting and enriching the communities we are a part of. We continue to work in close partnership with our local and regional councils,

schools, businesses and industry, among others, to help bring about significant change and regeneration to our region. As a local university we are committed to being at the forefront of future developments for Kent and Medway. These include the Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS), which will receive its first intake of students in September 2020. A partnership between the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University, KMMS will help address the significant and well documented challenges Medway and the wider region faces in developing and maintaining its healthcare workforce. Our KMMS students will be actively training in the local community, with the goal of them continuing to work in the area after qualifying. Other significant developments include the creation of a distinct set of courses and programmes at the Medway campus, building on our extensive experience in the creative and digital industries – currently the fastest growing sector of the UK economy. Our world is filled with plenty of opportunities for friendships, personal growth and development. It is a place where students are encouraged to be the best they can be, explore new ideas and make a real difference to our world.

Artsmark journey for Spring Grove Music is for all at Spring Grove – community singing, informal concerts, orchestra and ceilidh band and full-scale musical productions. This year the children will perform an opera – ‘Noye’s Fludde’ – in Wye Church in April. Add to this mix an energetic and creative art department, gallery and theatre visits, art competitions, French drama club, and the extension of art into the natural world through the school’s award-winning Forest School programme.

Spring Grove School was delighted to receive the news recently that the school has been accepted into the Artsmark community – the start of a two-year journey to full accreditation. The prestigious Artsmark is a quality standard for schools awarded by Arts Council England with the aim of ‘inspiring young people through arts and culture’. Spring Grove is already well known for its excellent music, art and drama provision – and the journey towards Artsmark will allow the school to further develop its arts and cultural education.

Importantly Artsmark also allows Spring Grove to further its school vision of developing pupils ‘who believe in their abilities, who become independent learners, and who strive to make a difference in the ever-changing 21st century.’

www.kenteye.co.uk 17

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King’s Rochester celebrates excellent inspection results When the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) team carried out their rigorous, routine inspection of standards at King’s Rochester at the end of January, their conclusions were summed up in one word – EXCELLENT!

All three parts of King’s – Nursery and Pre-Prep, Prep and Senior School were scrutinised for the quality of their work with pupils, academic achievement and personal development and well-being – and findings in every section were first-class. Principal of King’s Rochester, Ben Charles said, “Everyone here is delighted with the comprehensively excellent findings in the ISI inspectors’ reports. It would be easy to take for granted that we study and work in a very special place, but it is wonderful to have the hard work and constant striving for excellence in all that we do underpinned by the findings of such an eminent public body as ISI. “Thank you to every member of the school community who played a part in securing such a wonderful outcome from this inspection”.

Adam Henson launches the national #FEEDMETRUTH Campaign BBC Countryfile presenter and farmer Adam Henson has launched #FEEDMETRUTH, a national campaign so children know where the food on their plate has come from. He hopes to encourage every nursery and school to commit to making their food supply chain transparent, thereby creating a generational shift in how the nation engages with and values food provenance. Adam explains: “The appreciation and understanding of food starts with children simply knowing how and where the ingredients on their plate were produced, but many don’t. Every school dinner has a story to tell – a journey. It leaves a footprint. We need every child to explore it and be inspired and learn from it.”

founded by farmers to validate the provenance of food ingredients and empower consumers to know where their food is from.

can create a seismic change in understanding for the future that impacts positively on their health and nutrition, the environment and sustainable food production.”

Happerley founder, farmer Matthew Rymer, explains: “The food industry remains one of the least transparent and we are not told the origins of most of the ingredients in our food. Children are particularly susceptible to buying into brands and clever marketing because they do not know or understand better.

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) Survey which was conducted with 27,500 children across the UK produced some shocking statistics. Nearly a third (29%) of five to seven-year-olds thought that; cheese came from a plant, not an animal, tomatoes grow underground, fish fingers are made of chicken, plus according to more than one in 10 (13%) of eight to 11-year-olds, pasta comes from an animal.

“By working through the food chain to deliver the full story of the ingredients that make their school dinners, our hope is we


The campaign will offer for nurseries, and free of charge for state primary and secondary schools, a way to show the journey of every plate of food and drive the change through supply chains. Adam hopes every school and nursery in the country will commit to making their food supply chain transparent, using technology to deliver into school dining rooms this journey. The service and technology is being provided by Happerley, a not for profit organisation

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Sam Billings, Kent Cricket Captain 2020 is a major year for Kent Cricket as the club celebrates is 150th year since its formation in 1870. To preview the forthcoming season and find out what lies in store, Kent Eye caught up with England international and Kent Cricket Captain, Sam Billings. Cut Sam Billings and the chances are he will bleed Kent. A one-county man he was born and raised in Kent and has been playing cricket for the county since the age of eight. “I still vividly remember bursting into tears at the age of seven when, having recently trialled for the Kent U10s, I received a letter through saying it was just a bit too early. I was very clear even then that my ambition was to play for Kent, and a year later I started my journey.” Since making his debut in 2011, the 28-year old Kent Cricket Academy graduate has played 218 matches for Kent in all formats. Throughout his Kent career, the wicketkeeper-batsman has amassed 6,408 runs, including 10-hundreds and 34-fifties, also taking 260 catches and 32 stumpings. Sam’s career as a sportsman could have been predicted given his family’s enthusiasm for all sports. “My grandad, Ron Billings, had four sons and in 1972 decided to set up Corinthian Football Club initially as a youth team for eight and nine-year-olds. He then developed a purpose-built football ground at the family’s Gay Dawn Farm. I used to play for Corinthian and my cousins Jamie and Jack still play, and the whole ethos is around playing sport in the right way.” The Billings family also boast a current World Champion in another of Sam’s cousins, Tom, who became world rackets champion in 2019. “It’s great to have a world champion in the family and I’m very proud to say that I have never lost to him at rackets. I used to beat Tom at school and when he started to get pretty good decided it was best not to play him anymore – but the fact is that the world champion has never beaten me!”  Kent 2019 Vitality Blast Squad

Having played all around the world for different T20 franchises, Sam is pleased to be home and gearing up for a big summer. “Kent is special because it’s home and playing for Kent means a lot as it has provided me with all my opportunities. I am very proud to be captain of a county with such a rich history. Kent used to be a powerhouse in county cricket, and it can be a huge part of English cricket again.” Kent Cricket certainly seems to be on an upward trajectory. Last season was Kent’s first year back in Division One of the county championship for over a decade. “Despite being the bookies favourite to go back down, we ended up finishing 4th in the division and played some great cricket. We were constantly seen as the underdog with the perception that we are punching above our weight, but I completely disagree. Over the past three years the club has changed and is now in a far better place both financially and on the field. Paul Downton came in as Director of Cricket and has introduced the structures and organisation we needed to become more professional. Paul deals in strategy and this can clearly be seen in our recruitment of overseas players, all of whom have come in and fitted seamlessly into the squad.” This season Kent welcome back New Zealander Matt Henry who was a great success during his previous spell with the club. “Matt fits into our culture and environment and he is arguably one of the best overseas players ever and is a firm fan favourite, so it’s great to have him back. We also welcome back Afghanistan international Mohammad Nabi to play in the Vitality Blast for us, and he brings great quality having recently been named as the best T20 all-rounder in the world. “Kent will never be as financially successful as some of the test counties, so to a large extent we need to be self-sufficient. We have recruited experienced bowler Tim Groenewold from Somerset and Jack Leaning from Yorkshire as well as exciting England U20s off spinner Hamidullah Qadri from Derbyshire and all three can have a big impact this summer. But the core of our squad still comes through our Academy. Our current England players Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, myself and Ollie Robinson in the ‘A’ squad are all Academy graduates and that is what Kent needs to produce more England players in the future. “We’ve got a pretty young group of players who are growing each year and the potential in this squad is enormous. 2020 is such a big year for Kent, not only in celebrating our 150 years but also with what we can achieve. Last season we came so close in the Twenty20 tournament, and it’s a huge focus for us this year. The 50 over cup will also be very interesting as the country’s best players will be involved at the same time in The Hundred, which means that the depth of our squad will come into play and our younger players will get lots of opportunities to shine.” On a personal level, Sam also has a big year coming up. Having decided to limit his T20 franchise contracts from around the


COVER STORY world to freshen up for 2020, he is now ready for a big domestic summer. He was selected by the Oval Invincibles in the inaugural player draft for The Hundred and he’s looking forward to the new format. “I’m pleased for any opportunity to play in The Hundred and it will bring a different dynamic. It’s a great period to be a cricketer as the game changes. I feel I have been slightly put in a box as a one-day slogger, but my game is about much more than that. I scored three centuries in a row in the championship last season and my ambition is still to play Test Cricket. “It’s always tough to get the balance right between the different formats, but I am so excited to play a whole season in England and I feel really driven to play 4-day cricket. For me, playing for England is paramount, whatever the format – but I know my dad would love to see me play Test Cricket.” With the World T20 coming up later in the year, getting back into the England squad is a major focus for 2020. “I very much hope to be involved in the World T20. This season I’ve got an opportunity just to play cricket, do my thing and play consistently for Kent and then hopefully England selection will come. The current depth in English white ball cricket is huge and has never been stronger, which is great for the game.” Representing England is an accolade that Sam shares with his best mate, Saracens rugby union hooker Jamie George. “Jamie and I were roommates at school, and we made our England debuts within six weeks of each other, which was fantastic.” Like George, being an international sportsperson, has enabled Sam to travel the world plying his craft. “I’ve been so lucky to play

 Sam in action for Kent Spitfires

cricket around the world in the Australian Big Bash, the Pakistan Super League and the Indian Premier League (IPL). The IPL is ridiculous, I’ve never experienced crowds like it and playing with the very best players from around the world. My Captain at Chennai Super Kings was MS Dohni, who is phenomenal, an absolute freak of a player. He is under the most intense pressure you can imagine, and I learnt a lot from the way he went about his business. I still think he is underrated as a player; he is that good.”

 Jamie George, The RFU Collection via Getty Images

Despite facing the fastest bowlers in the world, it’s a leg spinner that Sam respects the most. “For some reason Yuzvendra Chahal from India has developed an annoying habit of getting me out. That is bad enough, but he constantly reminds me of the fact when we meet on the pitch and through social media! But he is a great guy, and the IPL has enabled me to meet so many interesting people like him. “In the IPL you are treated like a megastar wherever you go – it’s very different from walking down Canterbury High Street! Playing in games like that there is huge pressure, but ironically it is easier to deal with as it is not as personal as when I am playing for Kent. “The home crowd at Kent games are fantastic and make a real difference to the players. My England colleagues all say that Kent is the most partisan crowd in the country, and it’s great to play in front of such a loyal fanbase who are so emotionally involved. Fan feedback isn’t always positive, especially on social media, but with the club on the up the vast majority is very supportive.” In its 150th year, Kent Cricket is in rude health. “The current squad finds Kent’s history inspirational, but we also want to write our own history and a new chapter in Kent Cricket’s story. While I have a great ambition to play for England again, Kent is at the forefront of my mind and I really want to win a trophy as Captain of this fantastic county.”

Kent’s Upcoming Home Fixtures Kent vs. Gloucestershire – County Championship Sat 25 Apr – Tue 28 Apr 2020 at 11.00 The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury Kent vs. Surrey – County Championship Fri 8 May – Mon 11 May 2020 at 11.00 The County Ground, Beckenham Kent vs. Essex – County Championship Fri 22 May – Mon 25 May 2020 at 11.00 The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury Kent Spitfires vs. Surrey – Vitality Blast Fri 29 May 2020 at 19.00 The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury Kent Spitfires vs. Hampshire – Vitality Blast Sun 31 May 2020 at 15.00 The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury Tickets available via: www.kentcricket.co.uk

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Spring bulbs to brighten our days Pat Crawford The government has advised regular and thorough handwashing using soap and plenty of water in order to help control the spread of the coronavirus – and gardeners aren’t exempt. One positive point: the water companies cannot complain that this advice comes at a time when their reservoirs are empty! Despite incredibly wet weather that was often accompanied by strong winds, daffodils and other early bulbs stood up bravely and lifted our hearts on even the dullest day. Now we can enjoy later-flowering spring bulbs well into May. (Make a note of particular successes and occasional disappointments; the information will be helpful when it comes to replanting.) Once the bulbs have finished flowering, allow the leaves to die down naturally – tying them up while they die is no longer advised. Remove bulbs from pots and containers and dig up from beds and borders. Any bulbs that were planted to naturalise should be left in the ground to multiply. Add the dead leaves to the compost bin and discard (in the waste bin) any bulbs that are soft or showing signs of disease. Store the bulbs somewhere dry and rodent-free and they will be ready to plant again in the autumn. Now is a good time to give thought to planting summer-flowering bulbs because many of them are resilient to weather extremes.

l They are excellent for filling in gaps in planting schemes. l A lot of summer-flowering bulbs are scented. This makes them especially suitable to plant in containers located near sitting-out areas where their scent will be especially appreciated. l Containers provide adaptability because they can be moved around to comply with changing needs (or drastic changes in the weather!). l Achieve maximum effects in beds and borders by planting bulbs in groups – not just in one and twos. Some areas of the UK are still water-logged, even flooded; in gardens that are affected, it is important to be aware of what not to do! Water-logged lawns are best left until the water drains away; do not walk on them as this will impact the ground and increase the problem. Climate change indicates we might suffer lengthy periods of winter rain more frequently – thus in areas with heavy clay soil it might be advisable to implement measures that will mitigate potential future problems. Digging in plenty of organic material and horticultural grit will help but, in very extreme cases, it might be advisable to arrange for the installation of a pipe drainage system.

l They represent very good value because, with relatively minimal care, they reproduce and flower year-on-year. l The range available includes bulbs suitable for beds, borders, pots and tubs.

Consideration for the environment is already big on the agenda – and it’s climbing higher. Bog gardens are fascinating – and they are brilliant for attracting wildlife. Installing one could be satisfying and fun. (They are especially suited to gardens with ‘dips’ that inevitably get very damp or fill with water.)

Bid to create carbon neutral borough launched Residents and businesses across Tonbridge and Malling are being invited to help shape plans to combat climate change. A recent consultation launched by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council is seeking views on a 10-year strategy to reduce carbon emissions, cut pollution and protect the environment. Government figures show that Tonbridge and Malling’s biggest source of carbon emissions is transport which accounts for approximately 450 kilotonnes a year. Domestic energy releases nearly 250 kilotonnes and industry around 150 kilotonnes. t Cllr Robin Betts on his Fairseat farm which is powered by solar and wind energy.

The council has published an action plan alongside its strategy to kick-start a drive to become a carbon neutral borough by 2030. The proposals being put forward cover areas such as home building, transport, recycling, energy conservation and air quality. Launching the consultation, Cllr Betts said: “No one organisation can achieve the ambitious target we have set but by working in partnership at a national and regional level, we can make a massive difference in the borough’s carbon emissions.”  he consultation runs until 1 May 2020 T and can be found at: www.tmbc.gov.uk/ services/council-and-democracy/consultations/ climate-change


Climate change is happening The British Government has changed its mind about onshore wind farms receiving public money. Funding was withdrawn in 2016 when David Cameron was prime minister but, with the 2050 target for net emissions growing ever-closer, the government has said that solar and onshore projects can take part in the low-carbon auctions that award energy contracts. The government’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund has resulted in 13 projects being given the go-ahead as a result of which 22,000 large and 28,000 smaller trees will be planted in England. The initiatives will each receive a share from a £10 million pot. The fund is administered by the Forestry Commission whose chair, Sir Harry Studholme, said: “Not only do trees in urban areas help to improve wellbeing but they also offer benefits in many other ways, like helping tackle climate change and mitigating flood risks.” Meanwhile increasing numbers of British gardeners, combining consideration for the environment with desire to produce food, are planting fruit trees. ‘Business’ and ‘the environment’ clashed when the Court of Appeal blocked Heathrow’s proposed third runway on grounds that the Government had failed to take account of its commitment to the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Regarded as a massive relief by environmentalists, some leading business leaders are warning that failing to proceed with the project will have vast impact that will destroy the hopes of a global Britain. THE RURAL FOCUS GROUP includes representatives and individuals from the National Farmers’ Union, Country Landowners’ Association, Action for Communities in Rural Kent, The English Apple Man, Hadlow Rural Community School, Greenwich University, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Kent Farmers’ Market Association, Friends of the Earth, Kent Young Farmers, Professor Ian Swingland, Produced in Kent, Men of Kent and Kentish Men, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, Kent Tree and Pond Partnership, East Malling Research. The Group, set up by Pat Crawford who is the main sponsor, is supported by Professor Chris Atkinson, David Bartholomew Photography and Kings Hill Marketing Consultancy Ltd. Other rural-related groups are invited to apply for membership. Please direct enquiries to: patjournalist@waitrose.com

Ightham Mote leads the way with the National Trust Tree Planting 2020 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Trust, and Ightham Mote’s 700th anniversary. Nature is at the heart of these celebrations, and the National Trust is encouraging visitors to get up close and personal in the outdoors with #leapfornature. As part of the celebrations, the Rangers were joined by more than 30 visitors of all ages to plant 190 native trees. The trees including alder, crab apple, blackthorn, hawthorn and hazel have been planted along a field boundary to provide homes, shelter and sustenance for birds, small mammals, insects and other native wildlife. They also support the work of the tenant farmer by acting as wind breaks and help lessen the risk of flooding by reducing and slowing water runoff from farmland to adjacent properties. James, aged 11, described his day: “First, we found an unoccupied stake, we would pull it out and place it to one side. We would dig a slot by pushing a spade back and forth, then we would get a tree and feed the roots through the slot. After we would cover the tree in the soil, place the stake next door. Finally, we wrapped a guard round the tree for protection. It was super fun to do during my half-term.” Steve, Area Ranger at Ightham Mote said, “Volunteer and public assistance has been instrumental in helping us meet our tree planting requirements. This is just one of the tree planting sessions we are planning on running this year, so there will be other opportunities for you to join us and help nature.”

Residents deliver record recycling rates The amount of household waste being recycled by Tonbridge and Malling residents has passed the 50% mark for the first time. The increase follows new kerbside collections of plastic, metal and glass introduced in September 2019. A report to the Council’s Street Scene and Environment Services Advisory Board says that, despite problems with the roll out of the new service, the proportion of waste now being recycled has risen from 42% to around 55%.

‘Inadequate’ hare coursing legislation in need of urgent reform, argues coalition of farming and animal welfare groups Leading farming, animal welfare and countryside organisations, alongside rural Police and Crime Commissioners, have urged the Government to revise ‘inadequate’ legislation that is hindering attempts to tackle the devastating impact of illegal hare coursing on the British countryside. In a letter to the Secretary of State for Defra and the Home Office, the coalition has called for the 1831 Game Act to be amended to give enhanced powers to the police and criminal justice system. In a joint statement, the coalition said: “There is no doubt that hare coursing is as prevalent as ever and having huge impacts on rural communities. Whether it is farmers being intimidated and threatened by coursers, the damage their vehicles cause to our iconic landscape or the cruelty this inflicts on our native wildlife, the impacts on the British countryside from illegal hare coursing are huge.”

www.kenteye.co.uk 23


Sales – and drone – take off at Ledian Gardens Off-plan reservations have rocketed at Ledian Gardens, Inspired Villages’ latest retirement village, in Leeds village, Kent. More than 20% of the first 66 one and two-bedroom apartments for over 65s have now been reserved, although completion is not expected until spring 2021. Inspired Villages has hired local company FlyingPix to record progress on site and the first flight took off in February, showing little more than a muddy field, following several weeks of heavy rain. As building commences, a time-lapse video will eventually show the complete construction phase for the new occupiers, some of whom were on site for the groundbreaking in January. Ledian Gardens, on the site of the former Ledian Farm, has been welcomed by people in Leeds, as it will bring them not only a gym, spa, swimming pool, restaurant and bistro, but a muchneeded village shop. Inspired Villages, backed by Legal & General, is a best-in-class operator and was named ‘Retirement Living Operator of the Year’ at the Resi Awards 2019, and ‘Property Investor of the Year’ at the Health Investor Awards 2019. Inspired Villages owns and operates six other later living villages and aims to open up to 50 more by 2025. The company’s philosophy is centred around residents’ holistic wellbeing, at the same time as addressing the chronic shortage of age appropriate housing. www.inspiredvillages.co.uk/village/ledian-gardens

HRH The Princess Royal opens Danemore sheltered housing scheme in Tenterden Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal officially opened Ashford Borough Council’s new £7.5m Danemore sheltered housing scheme in Tenterden. Earlier, during an escorted tour of the award-nominated scheme and its facilities, The Princess Royal was welcomed into the home of resident Mrs Barbara Williams who chatted to her Royal guest about her experiences of living at Danemore. Barbara said: “She was lovely. When I heard that the Princess Royal was coming to visit I was thrilled and hoped I would get to see her. When she called into my home you can imagine how delighted I was to meet her. We had a lovely chat and a laugh.” Before unveiling the commemorative plaque, The Princess Royal met and chatted with residents of the scheme in the communal lounge, much to the delight of the people who are now proud to call Danemore home.

Last-time buyers can benefit from Park Homes In recent years, the Government’s Help to Buy scheme has provided help for new homebuilders to deliver homes for buyers with small deposits. But in a recent report – The Last-Time Buyer; housing and finance for an ageing society – author Professor Les Mayhew appraised the market situation. Focusing particularly on how those from the baby-boomer generation were finding it harder to make the move to smaller homes due to associated, prohibitive costs such as stamp duty, the report also identified the lack of availability of smaller homes. Discussing the ‘under-occupation’ issue, Professor Mayhew highlights how this will mean that those of, or close to, retirement age, will be caught in homes that are too big for them when, if a range of smaller homes were available, this family sized housing stock could become available for those in the chain demanding this type of property. One solution that faces challenges outlined in the report, is that of quality park homes as provided by Serenity Parks. Unlike a bricks and mortar home, there is no stamp duty payable on park homes. This tax applies to the land being purchased and, when you buy a park home, you don’t actually buy the land that your home is situated on. Whilst other costs are still applicable such as ground rent and council tax, the one tax that is prohibitive to house buyers is eradicated, meaning park homes are much more attractive as a downsizing solution. Another issue that last-time buyers face is that of accessibility. With 72% of UK adults expressing thoughts that all new homes should be built to suit occupants of all ages and abilities (report commissioned by Centre for Ageing Better CfAB), it is worth exploring a park home as a tangible solution to housing needs. All are single storey and single level and, as part of a gated community, neighbours and residents keep a discreet and watchful eye out for fellow park home owners. At Serenity, you can choose the style of home that suits your needs. All homes come fully furnished so you can create a brand-new space that is to your exact taste – perfect for the last-time buyer. www.serenityparks.co.uk

24 www.kenteye.co.uk

East Kent Railway - quarter page:Layout 1 19/03/2020 13:17 Page 1

Kent County Show

10,11,12 July 2020

Once a thriving industrial line serving the Kent Coalfield, the four-mile round trip takes you on a scenic journey between the pretty villages of Shepherdswell and Eythorne. Rolling countryside, steep chalk-lined cuttings and the fascinating Golgotha Tunnel make this a visit to be remembered. Don’t miss the new model railway exhibition, woodland miniature ride-on railway or the signal box. Special Events: Easter Bank Holiday £2 a ticket day 26 April Fish and Chip Steam Special

Pre-book your Tickets Kent Showground, Maidstone ME14 3JF

All new menu available in the Colonel’s Cafe and at our pretty Tea Room in an old elephant van at Eythorne!

24 May Cream tea Steam Special 21 June Dads ride for £1 on Father’s Day

Book online www.eastkentrailway.co.uk

01622 633060 | www.kentshow.co.uk

Battle of Britain - quarter page:Layout 1 17/03/2020 15:21 Page 1

Adults: £10.00 OAPs: £9.00 Children: £4.00 Museum Shop, No.25 Squadron Mess and Tea Room Free parking for cars and coaches

Opening Times:

4th April to 1st November 2020 10am to 4pm April and October 10am to 5pm May to September Last entry one hour before closing Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays Closed November to Easter

www.kenteye.co.uk 25

Sittingbourne's Steam Railway Four Days of Steam 10-13 April

Jack the Station Cat 24/25 May

Steam & Beer 4/5 July

Edward Bear’s Picnic 30/31 August

Wild West Weekend 12/13

Gala Weekend 26/27 Sept

www.sklr.net info@sklr.net 01795 424899 www.facebook.com/SandKLR Twitter: @SandKLR Sat. Nav. use: ME10 2XD Reg. Charity No. 1057079

Registered charity number 306016.

d Farm Blacklan

x e ss u S , m r a F BlacklaOnutddoor activity centre Bring your family and friends for a day of fun and adventure at Blackland Farm. We’ve exciting activities for all ages and abilities including canoeing, archery, zip wire and many more. Book your birthday party with us too!

Contact u s and book today!

01342 810493 blackland@girlguiding.org.uk girlguidingactivitycentres.org.uk/blackland

Detling Antiques, Vintage & Collectors Fair Up to 300 exhibitors in two buildings, marquees & outside offering a wide range of antiques, vintage, retro and collectables.

Sat 18th & Sun ED LL19th

E C April CAN

Cash only entrance: Saturday: 8.30am (early entry) - £6 Saturday: 10am - 4.30pm - £5 Sunday: 10am - 3.30pm - £4 Kent County Showground, Detling, ME14 3JF.

Tel: 01636 676531 www.b2bevents.info 26 www.kenteye.co.uk

Show Homes Open Daily We invite you to take a close-up view of Kingsdown Meadow Residential Park – our stunning new development exclusively for over 45’s. Show homes open Monday - Sunday, 10am - 7pm. Call FREE on 0800 644 4499, option 1. Find us at Kingsdown Meadow Residential Park, Romney Street, Knatts Valley, Sevenoaks, TN15 6XW serenityparks.co.uk

T: 0800 644 4499 E: info@serenityparks.co.uk

Happier and healthier or your money back. At Inspired Villages we believe our stunning properties, first-class facilities, focus on holistic well-being and real community spirit offer the key to the very best retirement. Our belief is so strong we now offer a money-back guarantee: If you don’t have a better sense of well-being and feel happier after six months with us, we guarantee to return your deposit in full.

Experience the years of your life? Get in touch for more details:

0808 3019 801 www.inspiredvillages.co.uk/guarantee *Terms and conditions apply, see above link for more details

Visit an Inspired village near you

Profile for Kent Eye Magazine

Kent Eye Magazine - April-May 2020  

The April-May edition of Kent Eye Magazine. Focusing on news, views, community, culture and commerce from around the county.

Kent Eye Magazine - April-May 2020  

The April-May edition of Kent Eye Magazine. Focusing on news, views, community, culture and commerce from around the county.

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