Thanet community news: Extension for Ageless Thanet, Christmas hamper giveaway, Foreland Fields, Thanet Lions and more

Extension for Ageless Thanet

Ageless Thanet

Social Enterprise Kent is delighted to announce that the Ageless Thanet programme has been awarded an extension from the National Lottery Community Fund to continue working with local older people to alleviate loneliness and social isolation. The project is part of a national programme called Ageing Better, designed to improve the lives of people over 50, by reducing loneliness and social isolation, and improving mental and physical wellbeing. Almost 150,000 people have been involved in the programme across 14 locations, including Torbay, Middlesbrough, Birmingham, and the Isle of Wight.

The Ageless Thanet project was planned to finish at the end of March 2021, but has now been extended until December 2021 in order to alleviate the difficulties faced by so many due to COVID-19.

Rebecca Smith, Ageless Thanet Programme Manager, said: “We are thrilled to have been given the opportunity to continue our work here at Ageless Thanet. This has and continues to be an incredibly isolating time for many people, so it has never been more important that projects such as Ageless Thanet are able to support those who are lonely. In the last five years since the project began, over 10,000 people have benefitted from our work, whether that is attending wellbeing activities, the Life Planning service, or receiving a free reward card that entitles them to discounts in local businesses. We thank the National Lottery Community Fund for their continued support, and of course National Lottery players without whom projects like Ageless Thanet would not exist.”

For more information about the Ageless Thanet project, please visit, or call 01843 210005.

M and M Personal Assistants

We here at M and M Personal Assistants are giving away two hampers worth a whopping £100 pounds each and one runner up of two free cinema tickets to the Vue cinema. Prizes will be drawn live on December 16 and given personally on December 19 by one of our clients dressed as Santa and his two little helpers. You must be okay with a few pictures taken upon receiving prizes.

We have a condition, in our line of work we look after young adults with learning disabilities, we would like the prize to go to a family with a member with learning disabilities. We believe times have been hard enough to test anyone, especially to someone that can’t comprehend what’s been going on, and we want to spread a bit of happiness during these times.

All you have to do to enter is share our post, like our page and tag someone else in the comments that meets the criteria.

Find the post here

Thanet Lions Club

This year has been difficult for us and other charities because the pandemic has hindered our fundraising events such as car boot sales, summer fete and quiz nights. We have used social media and word of mouth to generate donations from the public and friends. By this means and using some cash reserves we are again able to help needy families this coming December. Normally we pack some 260 food hampers but as this is not possible instead we are purchasing food vouchers. The vouchers will be distributed with help from organisations such as Children Centres and schools.

In Birchington the “Birchington Advent Calendar Trail” has named Thanet Lions Club as the supported charity.

For next year we do hope our fundraising can return as our main source of income to help the community. In addition we have been selected by the Coop Community Fund as one of the charities to be supported, so if as a Coop member you nominate Thanet Lions the Fund will donate a percentage to us to help us help those in need.

Foreland Fields Charity

Foreland Fields School

Foreland Fields Charity is calling on supporters to nominate the charity to win a £1,000 festive financial boost as part of Ecclesiastical Insurance’s annual 12 days of giving Christmas campaign.

The specialist insurer will be giving 120 different charities an early Christmas gift of a £1,000 donation, with 10 winners announced each weekday from 7th to 22nd December.

It’s quick and easy to nominate Foreland Fields Charity online. Nominations are open from 9th November to 21st December and you can vote for Foreland Fields Charity at

You only need to vote once.

Winners will be drawn at random and the more times Foreland Fields Charity is nominated, the more chance it has of being selected.

Foreland Fields Charity is a small charity that relies on donations and fundraising to support its on-going work with young people aged 3 – 19, living in Thanet and surrounding areas with profound, severe, and complex needs including learning disabilities and sensory impairments.

Fundraiser for the charity, Hilary Plowman, said: “Winning £1000 would make a huge difference to the charity at the present time. This year has been hard for everyone with the pandemic affecting so much, and Foreland Fields Charity has seen a major drop in income over this year with so many fundraising activities having been cancelled.

“If we won, it would allow the charity to continue its work supporting the mental health and physical wellbeing of the young people we work with and their families. Foreland Fields Charity has previously funded 2 fully inclusive playgrounds at Foreland Fields School. The specialist equipment is now enjoyed by the students on a daily basis and it is fantastic to watch them exploring, learning, and becoming more confident.

“We are now about to fund the installation of Sensory audio and lighting to the existing hydrotherapy pool situated within Foreland Fields School. Up until the pandemic, the pool was being used on a daily basis to provide hydrotherapy to over 250 users over the school year. There are many recognised benefits associated with hydrotherapy and the addition of Sensory audio and lighting can really help to increase these.

One of the students at the school, who is confined to a wheelchair, once told me after a hydrotherapy session ‘The water makes me feel free’ The smile on her face when she said it was beaming.

The project has been funded by means of fundraising and donations received and we are particularly grateful to the Thanet Fisherman’s Association, North Foreland Golf Club Ladies Team, The Ramsgate Mayor’s Charity Fund, and Premier Coatings (Kent) Ltd. Via FB Coales (No.4) Family Trust.”

Foreland Fields Charity is encouraging everyone to use their social media channels to ask people to vote for them to give the charity the best possible chance of winning. There are links on the Ecclesiastical voting website to make it easier to share.

Hilary Plowman added: “Foreland Fields Charity are now directing a campaign to fundraise for the conversion of an unused field behind Foreland Fields School into a sports field with inclusive pavilion, horticulture, and forest school area. It is the charities vision to create a central hub for disability sport and leisure, for use by Foreland Fields School and a wide range of partners who meet the needs of the local community. We have recently received donations totalling just over £6,000 but have a long way to go to reach our total target.”

If you would like to find out more about the charity and its current projects, please contact Hilary Plowman at [email protected]

If you are able to help the charity, please consider one of the following:

To donate directly please follow this link:

Shop though Amazon Smile and support Foreland Fields Charity (1178764):

Mark Hews, Group CEO of Ecclesiastical, said: “As a commercial company with a charitable purpose, giving back is at the heart of our business. Our annual 12 days of giving Christmas campaign will help charities change lives for the better and we know that for many charities, £1,000 can make a real difference. We’re encouraging everyone to nominate a cause close to their hearts this Christmas to be in for a chance to win a festive financial boost.”

Pilgrims Hospices

Pilgrims Hospices’ Trees of Love, east Kent’s largest remembrance, is their second appeal this year to be launched with a film. The event, usually hosted at their three hospice sites, and other venues throughout east Kent in December, has been transformed to allow all those who have lost loved ones to reflect and remember from the comfort and safety of home.

Sara Scriven, who leads the team behind Trees of Love, said: “This has been a difficult year for us all, but our staff are still here, continuing to provide vital expert care and support. Being here for families after they’ve lost a loved one is incredibly important to all of us here at Pilgrims, and we hope Trees of Love 2020 will give everyone who has lost this year a meaningful way to join together and remember at home.”

Supporters will be sent a beautiful dove to dedicate and hang on their Christmas trees, or in a special place at home, and asked to look out for the release of the Trees of Love filmed Remembrance Service on Saturday 5th December 2020 at 5pm.

“We’re so excited to have BBC filmmaker, Kerry King, back on board for this special project. Our first remembrance film, produced in July for Sunflowers Memories, was such a success that we knew we had to work with him again on our festive remembrance, Trees of Love.”

The filmed Service will be released on the Pilgrims Hospices YouTube Channel, and their website, on Saturday 5 December at 5pm, and will include supporters sharing their stories, alongside festive remembrance readings, carols and a switch on of the Trees of Love lights across east Kent.

For more information on how to take part visit or contact the Pilgrims Hospices Supporter Relations Team on 01227 782062 or at [email protected].

Save Our Sands

Recent articles in The Guardian (October 29th) and ITV Meridian (November 10th) have highlighted the Government’s abject failure to protect marine conservation zones (MCZs) such as the Goodwin Sands from commercial activities like marine aggregate dredging that damage the seabed.

However, it is not only the government that has a duty of care towards our environment but also those who wish to exploit it.   As a considerable commercial presence in Dover, Dover Harbour Board should be taking their own responsibility for the environmental impacts of removing 3 million tonnes of sand from the Goodwins.  Not only are they a marine protected area but also act as a vital sea defence for the unstable coastline between Kingsdown and Deal.

DHB claims that DWDR will create 600 new jobs but this is over 15 years, amounting to just 40 annually and doesn’t take into account the several hundred redundancies that have sadly taken place at the port this year.

Experts have advised us that the impacts from offshore dredging can take 20 years to manifest themselves. By this time the current members of Dover Harbour Board will be long gone and it will be left to us, the taxpayers, to pick up the pieces.

East Kent Hospitals

A grandfather has thanked hospital staff for giving him his life back after he underwent a ground-breaking procedure for prostate problems.

James Allen-Harvey had to have a catheter fitted after his enlarged prostate meant he was unable to pass urine without it.

He was facing an invasive operation to cut away part of the gland until East Kent Hospitals interventional radiology consultant Neelan Das offered him the option of pinhole surgery instead.

Dr Das was able to successfully block blood flow to the prostate gland by using x-ray imaging to guide a thin tube to the blood vessels that supply it. Tiny plastic particles were then injected into the vessels to block the flow, causing the gland to shrink. The procedure took place at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, one of only around 20 NHS hospitals in the country to offer it.

Mr Allen-Harvey, who lives in Westgate and is a retired builder and tiler, said: “Dr Das is a hero in my eyes. He has given me my life back.

“I had lost so much weight my children thought I was going to die, but now I am lifting weights at home, walking the dog four times a day and going running.

“It has been absolutely fantastic.”

His problems began in June 2019 during a visit to relatives in London when he suddenly found he couldn’t urinate.

Medics fitted a catheter and he was told it could only be in for a week – but it ended up in place for more than a year.

Mr Allen-Harvey, 65, said: “It was just dreadful. It was very painful, and I really couldn’t go anywhere at all. I couldn’t wear shorts or jeans because of the bag on my leg and I was forever worried about it leaking.

“My muscles were wasting and everyone kept telling me how terrible I looked – and I felt it too.”

After a multitude of tests he was told his prostate gland was enlarged but it wasn’t cancer.

His original surgery date had to be postponed because of the Covid pandemic but was rescheduled this summer. But then Dr Das offered him another option.

He said: “Dr Das said the alternative procedure, prostate artery embolisation or PAE, would be better for me, and I decided to trust his opinion.

“The original operation would have involved a lot of shaving and cutting, but with the PAE it was all done through a tiny hole in my groin.

“I was awake throughout, which was a bit scary but I didn’t feel any pain. I was chatting to the staff and looking around while they were working.”

He stayed overnight as a precaution and had the catheter in for another six weeks until it was removed at a post-op check-up.

Mr Allen-Harvey said: “They had to make sure I could urinate and I think it was the best wee of my life.

“Now every time I go to the toilet I say thank you.

“I want anyone in the same position to know you will feel well again, and you will get through it – I would recommend the PAE to anyone.”

Dr Das said: “When I hear stories like the one Mr Allen-Harvey has to tell, it totally makes my day and reaffirms that this job is worth doing.

“Our department was the second highest recruiter to a national study on PAE which resulted in it being approved by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and therefore the NHS.

“We look forward to more patients being offered this procedure.”

He thanked the urology team and consultant urologist Sashi Kommu for asking him to see Mr Allen-Harvey.

The interventional radiology service at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital is led by Dr Robert Kaikini and treats around 1,200 patients per year.

As well as prostate embolisation, the service offers minimally invasive solutions to many medical problems. Women with fibroids can also avoid major surgery such as a hysterectomy thanks to techniques using interventional radiology.

The interventional radiology team provide a 24/7 emergency service alongside elective procedures. Emergency procedures include inserting a device to seal a ruptured aortic aneurysm (a bulge in the main artery of the body) and stopping bleeding to internal organs such as the liver, stomach and kidneys.