Thanet Community News: Book deliveries for Oasis, Eid festival, Ramsgate RNLI, hospital gift, Merchant Navy Day, Pilgrims’ sunflowers and community funding

Bee's Blind Book share deliveries

Oasis Domestic Abuse Service and Bee’s Bookshop fundraiser

The Margate-based book group with a difference, Bee’s Bookshare, has raised over £900 for Oasis Domestic Abuse Service, by curating and delivering ‘Blind’ Book Bundles to readers across the Isle of Thanet.

Founded in 2012 by Bryony Bishop, Bee’s Bookshare brings together a community of book lovers to share the books they’ve loved, loathed, can’t put down and can’t get into, usually every other month at Beet Bar café in Margate Old Town. They swap a variety of reads, welcoming any type of book and any type of reader.

Covid-19 has meant that their regular friendly meet-ups have had to pause, but that hasn’t stopped organiser Bee from sharing the booky love to readers in Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate and across the UK from discovering new reads.

When a friend was looking to pass on 150 books, Bee jumped to take them. Having heard that many people were finding a renewed love of reading and sorting out their bookshelves during lockdown, as well as the growing reports of domestic abuse risk being heightened for women due to lockdown and social distancing, Bee was inspired to find a way to continue to share books and raise money for local charity Oasis Domestic Abuse Service at the same time.

The Bee’s ‘Blind’ Bookshare Bundle fundraiser was born. For a minimum of a £10 donation, people across Thanet can receive a curated, surprise book package, delivered by Bee on bike to their door, and given at a social distance.

Since its launch on National Reading Group Day on 20 June, the fundraiser has raised over £900!

Across the Isle, people have been donating their books to the cause as well as their money, in support of the initiative, to help Bee ‘Raise for Oasis’. In the last week, the bookshare love has spread across the UK with readers as far away as Durham donating to receive a book bundle.

Bee said: “I’ve been so taken aback by the response to the initiative and utterly heartened. Not only is this a charity that is so close to my heart, working with the amazing team at Oasis, it’s been joyous connecting with book lovers locally and now further away, collectively coming together to use our love of reading to help women flee abuse, rebuild their lives and heal.

“Charities across the country have faced a loss of vital income at the very time that their services are needed more than ever. Oasis has had to cancel all of its physical fundraising event, which brought in a significant amount of donations, for the rest of 2020. This is just a small way that I and the people who are supporting the Bee’s ‘Blind’ Bookshare can help them to recoup some of that lost income”.

Before the pandemic, the British Crime Survey estimated that two women a week are killed by a current or ex-partner as a result of abuse and 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in their lives. Women’s lives depend on frontline services like Oasis to provide safety planning, refuge and support – home is not a place of safety for victims of domestic abuse, even more so during this pandemic and even with restrictions lightening.

National reports suggest there has been a rise in cases of domestic abuse, with Refuge, who facilitate the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, reporting that there was an 80% increase in calls in June alone. The National Police Chief’s Council say there has been an 8% increase of cases of domestic abuse across the UK during the pandemic, compared to last year. Cases have increased by a shocking 25% year on year since 2013. The pandemic hasn’t caused domestic abuse, it’s exacerbated pre-existing behaviours.

Oasis CEO Deb Cartwright

Oasis CEO Deborah Cartwright said: “Covid-19 is not in it itself a cause of domestic abuse; but the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown is, that whatever form the abuse may take, there is a higher risk of escalation in the stages and severity of the harm done by those who perpetrate this crime. As we continue to do all we can to ensure women can reach safety, adapting our services, the challenge of raising vital funds has become even greater.

“One of our biggest worries at the moment is the amount of children stuck at home with domestic abuse – no reprieve, nowhere to get away from it, it isn’t hidden from them, they are living it. Which is why it’s so important that we recoup losses from our cancelled fundraising events, because that funding really supports our children’s work. Support like Bee’s and the many other virtual fundraisers across our community during this time has been so very welcome and gratefully received.”

In May, Oasis launched ‘Raise for Oasis’ – a fundraising campaign that invites the public, community groups, businesses and organisations to help raise funds by taking part in fun, safe activities that can take place at home or in close surroundings, at a social distance. So far over £6,700 has been raised.

Loukia Michael, Oasis Fundraising Manager, said: “The response to our Raise for Oasis fundraising campaign has been incredible – people have gone to great lengths to raise money for us, such as Bee and her Blind Bookshare. We continue to be astounded by the creative ways people are finding to dig deep during this time in terms of their kindness, time and commitment, all to raise donations for us. Seemingly small acts are making a huge impact, not just on our fundraising but also on morale. The women and children we work with directly benefit from the enormous kindness shown by our community, for which we continue to be hugely grateful.”

All proceeds raised go to support Oasis’s work as it continues to respond to the pandemic. Bee is one of Oasis’s ‘Virtual Fundraisers’ and is aiming to reach and even surpass £1,000 donations, can you help her?

Donate and find out more

Donate to the Bee’s ‘Blind’ Bookshare Bundle fundraiser at

Discover more about Bee’s Bookshare at

Find out more about Oasis Domestic Abuse Service at

For further information and to fundraise for Oasis, go to
Download a Virtual Fundraising pack at

Festival of Eid il Adha

Photo Frank Leppard

Several hundred people attended a celebration of the Muslim festival of Eid hosted by Margate football ground on Friday (July 31).

Ramsgate mayor Cllr Raushan Ara arranged the event which invited members of  various religious organisations, church leaders, synagogue members, and the manager from the Salvation Army.

Photo Frank Leppard

Cllr Ara, who is Ramsgate mayor, said: “”A peaceful Eid il Adha service has been conducted by Imam Abdullah. The service was attended by several hundred of the local Muslim community at Margate FC ground, observing self-distancing rules.

Photo Frank Leppard

“ A huge thank you to Chris Carter and the management team for allowing us to use the ground. A special thank you goes out to our special guests, Rabbi Cliff Cohen, and his wife, Hélène.”

Carl Whitewood from the Salvation Army (pictured below), Police Inspector Daniel Carter, and Mark Comley from Thanet Community Safety Task Force, Cllr. Barry Lewis, and Sharon Goodyer from Summer Kitchen also attended the event.

Photo Frank Leppard

Cllr Raushan Ara said in her statement that she proposed Thanet District Council acknowledge different religious festivals throughout the year.

Photo Frank Leppard

Madeleine Homer, the council’s Chief Executive, said that she will follow this up with the communications team.

Photo Frank Leppard

Cllr Ara said: “ We live in a multicultural society and I feel that the more we know about other peoples’ cultures and beliefs, the better for all if us. Thank you again to the TDC council officers and Cllr Steve Albon for overseeing this event. May we wish everyone Eid Mubarak.”

Ramsgate RNLI

Our volunteer crew member Emma Sutton was asked by the RNLI press team to read a poem of thanks to all of the RNLI’s supporters.
This came about as Emma was invited to talk at the Royal Temple YC in Ramsgate for International Women’s Day by club member and Lifeboat Press Officer Karen Cox. As a result of the coverage they asked Karen if she and Emma would like to work together to film the poem.

On Friday they got together at Ramsgate Lifeboat station and filmed the poetry reading on Karen’s iPhone. This was sent off to the RNLI press department at Poole, who worked their magic and today it was released on the RNLI’s social media channels.
It just proved that even with social distancing, and finding new ways of working, the RNLI can still show their heartfelt appreciation to everyone who supports them. Without the public’s donation we would be unable to continue our role of saving lives at sea,

QEQM Hospital League of Friends

Although many of our fundraising activities have been affected by the pandemic, we continue to support the Hospital and were recently pleased to approve an application from the Hospital’s dementia nurses for a Readybed sleeper chair costing just over £1,160. Its primary use is for relatives supporting their loved ones during their last few days. Designed for the hospital environment, it transforms when needed from a comfortable chair – demonstrated by Dementia Nurse Gemma – to a full-length, adult-sized pull-out bed.

Please help us to continue providing such support by donating online at: or by posting a cheque made payable to League of Friends to League of Friends, QEQM Hospital, St. Peters road, Margate, CT9 4AN.

Independent Vindicatrix of East Kent Association – M.N

September 3 has been dedicated Merchant Navy Day when merchant seafarers remember shipmates lost in wartime. It was on this day in 1939 that within hours of World War Two being declared our Merchant Navy suffered our countries first casualties when the liner “ATHENIA” was torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 118 lives, both crew and passengers.

During World War Two alone we lost 2,524 merchant ships, 30,248 seafarers lost their lives and 15,081 either missing or held as POWs, this was a higher percentage than the Armed Forces.

On May 7, 1945 we suffered the last casualties of the conflict when the cargo vessel “AVONDALE” was sunk with the loss of two lives.  Without our Merchant Navy and merchant seafarers our country could not have survived as we kept our country and the Commonwealth supplied with food, clothing and oil plus we transported thousands of troops and millions of tonnes of equipment to the theatre of war to enable our troops to fight and ultimately win the peace.

Sadly this year we are unable to hold our commemoration services around the country due to the Coronavirus and that includes our major parade at the National Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill in London but WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.  May I ask members of the general public to also remember the debt owed to our Merchant Navy and seafarers at 11am on September 3; as we will remember.  Thank you very much.

Pilgrims Hospice

Hundreds join together online to enjoy UK’s first Hospice Remembrance Film Pilgrims Hospices has created an innovative remembrance film, as a way to continue its annual summer remembrance Sunflower Memories, bringing it into the homes of hundreds across east Kent.

The event, which would usually be hosted in the hospice gardens at Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet, was transformed into an online celebration. Supporters had their sunflower memory markers sent to them to keep in a special place at home, and were invited to make a dedication to their loved one on an online Memory Wall.

The UK’s first Hospice remembrance film, was put together by Sara Scriven, Individual Giving Manager, with the help of BBC filmmaker Kerry King.

Sara said: “Instead of inviting our supporters into our hospice gardens, this year we brought Sunflower Memories to them. The film was months in the making, and we hope it has given our supporters a real insight into the world of the hospice, and the extraordinary collaborative effort that helps bring Sunflower Memories together each year.

“We’re go grateful to the supporters, volunteers and staff who shared their stories with us as part of this very special remembrance. With your help, Sunflowers Memories has been our most successful to date, with over 750 people dedicating a sunflower to their loved ones, raising an incredible £31,700 so far. This amount will help support thousands of patients living with terminal illness in east Kent, and with donations still coming in, the Hospice will be able to reach so many more.”

The film can be viewed on the Pilgrims Hospices YouTube channel or on their website on, where you can also still dedicate a sunflower memory marker to someone you love.

For more information contact the Pilgrims Hospices Supporter Relations Team on 01227 782062, or [email protected].

Kent Community Foundation

Kent Community Foundation has received £470,000 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to support organisations across Kent and Medway. This new funding will be used to award grants to those who had previously applied to Kent Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Fund and were initially unsuccessful as the Fund was oversubscribed.

The £470,000 from central government will be awarded by Kent Community Foundation as grants of up to £20,000, to cover essential running costs to organisations with an annual income of less than £1m, who are continuing to support communities affected by the Coronavirus pandemic as they start to recover and rebuild post the crisis.

Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said “This additional funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is most welcome and will enable Kent Community Foundation to financially support more of the good causes that originally applied to the COVID-19 Fund.

We are also continuing to support organisations who are reaching people who have lost jobs because of the impact of Coronavirus and are supporting them with either financial/practical/benefits advice or around employability/re-skilling/raising confidence etc. Similarly, we are happy to consider requests for workplace adaptations.

Organisations that have already received emergency funding from Kent Community Foundation are welcome to apply again, but only if they can demonstrate a real need for additional resources to deal with the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

As well as the emergency funding we are still actively awarding grants from our other Funds to help charities and community groups and my team is available to help with advice about the application process.”

For more information about Kent Community Foundation visit

The Fund will award grants up to £20K to cover essential running costs. Grants will be paid by October, and all monies must be spent by 31st March 2021.