Celebrating 25 years of the Cliftonville Residents Association

Cliftonville Residents Association organised many events at the bandstand

The 25th anniversary of Cliftonville Residents Association is being celebrated today (January 12).

The voluntary organisation elected its first committee on January 12, 1996. The founding members were Councillor John Rowland, Keith Chadband, Ann Smith, Paul Rollins and Councillor Bill Palmer.

Keith was elected as the Chairman and served as such until his death in April 2017.

At its height the association had more than 800 members.

June Chadband with her son Matthew and grandsons Callum and Jordan Photo John Horton

Keith’s wife June, who still runs the association, said: “When the old Bungalow Café, on the site that was near Bethesda Medical Centre was demolished after a fire, the CRA suggested it would be ideal for a Seacology Centre.

“We went through all the procedures and at the last moment it fell through. It is now the Coastguard Station. We also became the custodians of the old Victorian Bandstand and the Oval Lawns. We used to open the old wooden kiosk for Tony Savage in 1996.

“In the early days, we held as many concerts and events as we could afford. We did not have Comic Relief, English Heritage, National Lottery or any other body to go to for funding. We had to fund our events ourselves.

Keith and June received awards

“In 2001 Farmers’ Markets were taking off in the county and we decided to try one in Thanet. In September of that year we held our first with just six stalls and many locals came to shop. We are the third oldest in Kent. The market grew and built up a band of very loyal shoppers.

“Over the years it has won many, many awards, four times Produced in Kent’s ‘Best in Kent’, three times ‘Pride in Thanet’ and twice Kent Life Food and Drink winners 2017 and 2019.

“We have five men who prepare the market for the stallholders each month who are all members of the CRA.”

Cliftonville Farmers’ Market Photo John Horton

June has been the manager since that first market and gives her time for free. Two committee members from the CRA also give support to the market each month.

In December 2001 June started organising trips to the theatre, stately homes, opera, ballet, concerts and holidays for the community. All the trips are not for profit and give members a chance to visit venues at a greatly reduced price.

June said: “In 2019 we held 32 events and hosted two holidays. The trips are open to Friends of the CRA. We have been to Venice, Prague, Tuscany, Amsterdam, Belfast, Scotland and many places in the UK and Wales.

“Many friendships have been forged through the trips and for some are a lifeline.”

The old Victorian Bandstand was falling into dangerous disrepair when first taken on by the group and Keith managed to access the funding in 2006 for the existing replacement. From then CRA started to hold summer concerts each year, funded with help from Thanet and Kent councillors.

June said: “We held 16 to 18 concerts each summer on Sunday afternoons, for all age groups, from June until the end of September.

“In June each year, we also held a classic car show, run by Richard Strevens until 2016 when he decided that with all the paper work involved he could not give his time to it anymore.

“We held week long events on the lawns, with fun rides, music, craft fairs, the farmers’ market, baby shows, in fact you name it we tried it.

“We also ran the Cliftonville in Colour competition for many years, sponsored by Will and Louise Friend, of East Northdown Garden Centre. It was for entrants from the whole of Cliftonville.

“Northdown Road traders were also included, with a competition for the most attractive shop window display with a seaside theme. All the shops sportingly entered. The first winners were two little toddlers with their buckets and spades and plenty of sand in the shop window!”

The last summer of concerts in 2016 was helped by a small grant from Thanet council and funded mostly by CRA and kind members.

In 2017 when Keith passed away, at his funeral the family asked if instead of flowers a donation could be given to hold a few concerts in his memory. Some  £1800 was donated and County Councillor Barry Lewis donated £500 from his funds. This enabled CRA to hold the very last concerts on the bandstand.

June said: “They meant so much to Keith as he was always the driving force of the CRA and the bandstand was his passion.”

The bandstand has historically been an entertainment venue

From April this year the Oval Bandstand and Lawns will be transferred from Thanet council to the Gordon Road Area Street Scheme.

June said: “We are sure they will continue with the entertainment theme that has been there for over 130 years. That is what it was built for and should be used for. We wish them well and CRA hopes to fund some concerts this coming year, particularly in June in memory of Keith.”

The Cliftonville Farmers Market continues to run, 10am to 1pm, on the last Sunday of each month.

Community group GRASS launch crowdfunder to help restore iconic Oval site

36 Comments

  1. Well done to CRA all run by volunteers l was vice chairman for many years but had to give up due to business commitments my wife is still membership secretary so here’s to the next 25 years well done

  2. Congratulations Cliftonville Residents Association. I have served on the committee for many years, helping with our events. The band concerts were always my favourite and I hope we do have some concerts this year.
    I also like helping at the market and going on June’s Jaunts. I so miss them and the coffee mornings.

  3. I am amazed that a residents association has been going for so long!
    Congratulations to you all for all that you have achieved as a group.
    I did not realise your group had played such a big part in the history of the Oval Bandstand, right down to accessing funding for the the one that is there now. Well done for that.
    I do shop at the excellent farmers market. You have certainly given a lot to the area.

  4. Shame they didn’t keep the bandstand in good shape they have left it become a terrible mess.

    Shocked to learn in this article that’s the Cliftonville residents association take people on holidays to Prague, Tuscany and Amsterdam (the market must be doing well) there are so many poor people in Cliftonville that are struggling to even put food on the table surely they need to get their priorities right.

    OUTRAGEOUS

    • I would like to answer Laura
      firstly the residence association only raised funding to rebuild the bandstand
      but as the bandstand belongs to TDC as such the association were unable to do any thing to upkeep of bandstand that was and still falls to TDC.
      secondly the residence association do not pay for these trips Mrs Chadband only organises them
      Les Strevens (former vice chair)

    • Hi Laura
      I own the coach company who generally takes the association on day trips and holidays and I must say I think you have got the wrong end of the stick. They pay for their own trips from money saved by the individual. Cliftonville residents association organises the trips at a discounted price negotiated though the vendors enabling more people to go. They have been unable to go on any trip or holiday since February 2020 and apart from the farmers market which adheres to all government guidelines some have have been unable to even go out. The Farmers Market is not for profit and its aim is for local businesses to establish themselves and sell their goods at a reasonable price which in turn helps the local community. Please also understand that even though the Cliftonville residents association is responsible for both the Farmers Market and Junes Jaunts to help the community, the trips etc are paid for by each individual person and any money taken by the association at the Farmers Market goes on covering the cost of the event. I think Thanet is very lucky to have an association like this and help residents remain social and valued whilst also helping small business continue to trade during this very difficult time.

    • I am sorry for people who cannot afford to go on holidays. When I was young my parents did not have two pennies to rub together and there was no benefits as there are now, but I would not dream of running anybody down because they could afford to go on a holiday.
      Regarding the state of the bandstand, until the asset transfer it us still owned by TDC and not the residents association. I live near it and it has been systematically vandalised over the last 10 years. It is not the residents associations fault.
      Please get your facts straight before running a group down.
      They have given so much to the area over the 25 years and should be applauded for it as they are all volunteers.
      As far as I know the residents who go on the breaks pay for themselves and they are organised by Mrs.June Chadband.

  5. Congratulations to everyone especially June and her family and volunteers. Keith is very sadly missed and his drive sense of humour and enthusiasm always remembered.

  6. Congratulations to the CRA committee for all that you have done over the years, especially to my mother June Chadband for keeping everything going
    since my dad Keith passed away. She is one of life’s grafters.

  7. Congratulations to the Cliftonville Residents Association committee and to my mother June Chadband who has kept things running since keith my father passed away. It has been hard for her but she is one of life’s grafters.

  8. I cant believe the CRA has been going for 25 years. Congratulations!
    I loved all the summer band concerts and June and the ladies selling lovely cake and ice creams from the kiosk.
    I also remember when they had a week long festival which included a funfair with a carousel and lots of rides.
    The children all loved it and I think some adults also! They were great times. I do hope you can put on some concerts this year. I for one will be head of the queue!

  9. What a lovely read. Well done to June and all the members of the Residents Association. Also, thank you for keeping the farmer’s market going. It is a real highlight of the month selling local and even specialist vegan produce. Sustainability in action.

  10. Well done. At last we can see how much of a big part you have played in the bandstands history. On social media sites and leaflets put in doors there is no mention of CRA’s involvement.
    Most locals were aware of how much you have done over the years though. Besides the concerts I also think you deserve praise for a great farmers market.
    It has a lovely atmosphere, fab choice of produce and deserves every award it has won.

    • Hi Shar, I think you may have missed the GRASS ROOTS newsletter from October in which we did a feature on the Cliftonville Farmers Market and the CRA – https://grasscliftonville.org/grass-roots-october-2020.
      We know the CRA have done a huge amount for the area over the past 25 years and we frequently post about their events on social media, as we do for all the Cliftonville community groups – https://grasscliftonville.org/community-groups.
      If the CRA were more active on social media I’m sure they would happily do the same for us, as they know we share many common goals and by working together we can achieve so much for the community!

      • Before the October article there was no mention of the CRA’s history with the bandstand. Yes, you have mentioned the farmers market but that was all up to that point. I am not going to get into an arguement about it, I know what I have read.

        • Shar, I agree with you. I live in Cliftonville West and have received Grass Roots and it always ends with Tony Savage. There is no mention of the concerts after Tony Savage. I did go to one of his concerts and I have to say there was nowhere near the audience CRA’s band concerts had.
          Maybe their (CRA’s)concerts were not up to the standard that Gordon Road expected. They do on occasion mention the farmers market though. I have also been on their social media sites and it is the same there.
          Such a shame for the CRA.

          • Hazel, I also agree with you. I have not seen anything that they have written giving due credit to the residents associations history with the Oval Bandstand. They do mention the market.
            Considering the CRA were the group who got the funding for the replacement it beggars belief.
            After the bandstand is painted up I am sure it will still be there in 100 years time.
            I wonder what the late Keith Chadband would think about it all.

    • Congratulations to CRA present and past committee members on reaching
      25 years. Especially Maureen & Hazel who have supported my mother June at the market since my dad passed away.
      I know how proud and pleased he would be that the association has reached this special anniversary.
      Good on you dad!

  11. The GRASS community group would like to congratulate the Cliftonville Residents Association for all their hard work over the past 25 years, it really is an incredible achievement as this informative article shows. We look forward to working productively with the CRA when we take over the running of the site in the spring, and we hope that the Cliftonville Farmer’s Market will continue at its home at The Oval for many years to come!
    A huge round of applause to June, Ann, Maureen, Hazel and the rest of the committee, and we look forward to meeting you all (perhaps virtually) at the CRA’s annual general meeting at the end of January.

  12. I think the cliftonville farmers market is a fantastic place to go and the residents association is fantastic for what they have done in cliftonville.keep up the good work June and family and ignore all the pathetic negativity from all these sad people that have nothing good to say about anything

  13. What a lovely piece for the residents.
    I am the veg farmer from Marshborough
    who joined the Farmers Market in September 2001 and have been with them every market since.
    They are a lovely group and the men so helpful to me (I am getting on a bit now) They do all the heavy lifting for me.
    It is a really great market with friendly customers and other stallholders. We all get on together.
    June makes sure of that!

  14. i sell the meat at the farmer’s market, june and the CRA have really helped our business over the last few years. keep up the good work CRA XX

  15. June and Keith worked tirelessly for the CRA. They organised so many delightful events for the area and we joined them on numerous occasions (holidays, theatre trips etc). My highlight of the week was the Sunday afternoon bandstand concerts, running every week from June to September.

  16. Congratulations to June, her family/volunteers and the CRA on their fabulous work.
    Being part of the Cliftonville farmers market as a trader over this last year has really helped to keep small independent businesses like myself going on many levels and is a great market to be at with fabulous people.
    Thank you June xx

  17. I have had a stall at the farmers market for the past 8 years and loved it, I have met such lovely customers and great stall holder
    Well done June and all your helpers, you are doing a great job
    Many thanks
    Emma

  18. I would just like to make a few comments about the Oval Bandstand.
    Although we were the group who were lucky in accessing the funding for the
    replacement bandstand, it remained the property of TDC.
    It was not very long before the vandalism started, not only with graffiti, but also with the removal of the slabs on the stage and steps. This happened on at least four occasions and to be fair to TDC they replaced them each time. Then the electric junction box was vandalised and smashed on at least three occasions. The tiles on the toilet block started to disappear and have never been replaced.
    Before the shutters were erected on the toilet block and we were instrumental in obtaining them,the area tucked around the corner near the loos was used by the homeless, who were no problem, but before every Farmers’ Market we had to clear all the human excrement up and wash away the stale urine, before we could even get to our storeroom for the equipment.
    It is bad enough on market days clearing up all the dogs mess before we can even begin to erect the gazebos.
    When the old wooden kiosk was vandalised and needed replacing the existing metal one was erected.
    Sadly, once again it was covered in graffiti and regularly had to be repainted. The door and shutters
    were constantly being forced open and even now we cannot open the kiosk door.
    The police have been called out many many times with incidents in that area.
    Vandals have been up on the toilet block trying to break in.
    Every Sunday afternoon, before a concert, it would take us at least an hour clearing up all the broken bottles, cans, soiled nappies, used
    condoms, dogs mess and human mess before the musicians arrived.
    So please, before you make scathing comments about the state of the bandstand, do your homework.
    I reiterate, it is still a TDC property until the Spring.
    I know we have always done our best with looking after it.
    It would be nice, to get a little recognition from TDC, for all that we have given to the area over 25 years.

    • I have seen you Mrs.Chadband picking up mess before the market from where I live. After reading what you have just
      said it is a wonder the CRA continued with it, but glad we are that you did with the concerts and I hope the excellent market continues.

  19. I can reiterate all what has been said and repeat that the residents association could have done no more and should be praised and not put down by the few.
    If a few more people had volunteered and not put up bad comments like I have read earlier in this list of comments perhaps more could have been done.
    Les Strevens (former vice chairman)

    • Is is really 25 years?! My brother, Keith, would be very proud to see the 25th anniversary of CRA and to see the continued dedication of June and their family to the Farmers’ market and how much has been achieved over the years. Also to June and her ‘jaunts’ for helping to provide trips and a lifeline to residents. We live in the Midlands but were always delighted, when visiting, to see the concerts and the thriving Farmers’ market. We are very proud of the achievements of Keith, June and their family who are to be congratulated and I am just sad my lovely brother is not here to see the 25th anniversary. Much love to you all. Rhoda Brandist

  20. Keith Chadband did a wonderful job organising live music on the Oval Bandstand and is missed by so many people. Keith, his lovely wife June and his son Fraser became friends. I performed on the band stand many times with my bands – Brad Pittance & the Pirates, Nylon Tigers and Swing that thing and the events always attracted an enthusiastic crowd of all ages. I would love to perform on the Bandstand in the future and hope to do so when restrictions are lifted

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