Thanet community news: Rotary, RTC ‘gritting machine,’ TOFFs, SONIK, Youth Resilience and Martha Trust

President Hughie Horton of The Rotary Club of Thanet (RCoT), on the left in the picture with Rotarian Rex Morley, is proud to mark Rotary Day on 23 February 2021.

Thanet Rotary Club

President Hughie Horton of The Rotary Club of Thanet (RCoT), on the left in the picture with Rotarian Rex Morley, is proud to mark Rotary Day on 23 February 2021. Rotary is now 116 years old.

‘Now more than ever, Rotary must show itself relevant in helping the Thanet community to overcome hardship’

Over the last 10 months, RCoT has donated over £12,000 to Covid-related support causes, drawn largely from members’ donations and also supplemented from the club’s charitable Cinderella Fund.

Fortunately through kind donations, we also raised £5,300 from our sponsored walk along the Thanet Coastal Route from Minnis Bay to Pegwell Bay in September 2020. This funding has enabled us to maintain our ongoing support to Porchlight, Pilgrims Hospice and Millmead Children’s Centre with additional donations totalling £3,000.

However as with many things, it is not all about money! The best of times are to be found when we can work with others in support of a great idea. We asked how we could help young people to continue their learning during Covid and laptops was the No. 1 answer. Together with the Rotary Club of Margate, we have been collecting used laptop computers from friends, family and the people of Thanet.

These laptops were then wiped clean electronically, installed with an up to date educational software package and are being distributed to local schools. By early February 2021, RCoT had contributed almost 40 donated devices to this very worthy cause. In addition, RCoTwill be donating a further four new Chromebooks to Millmead Children’s Centre for their use.

The emergence of vaccines – the result of so much international collaboration and delivered with so much voluntary effort – brings us all hope for much better times ahead. And rightly we need to think about our responsibilities towards people in other parts of the world.

Rotary is committed to humanitarian causes worldwide. Our longstanding involvement in the End Polio Now campaign offers one model of what can be achieved on a global scale. This has led to the eradication of the disease almost worldwide, with just Afghanistan and Pakistan to go. Over the last 3 years RCoT has raised almost £6,000 to End Polio Now which, through the generosity of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation bolster funding is then trebled, bringing the total value of our donations to date to over £17,000.

The greatest part of Rotary, though, is through the fellowship and fun which is to be found within our club. We meet every Monday evening (currently over Zoom) and we would love to have you join us.

Please have a look at our website and get in touch if you would like to join in with this fellowship whilst helping us to support the less fortunate in our society.

Ramsgate Town Council

The RTC Technicians were gritting the streets every day during the cold snap. We ran out of salt/grit several times ,but were kept topped up by TDC, who ran backwards and forwards to the local KCC Highways depot in Sandwich.

I think we must remember that these cold snaps are very rare and spending a lot on specialist kit is not a good allocation of resources. I do have a plan, as always, which might help if KCC get caught short in a similar situation, however.

It was a joint effort. KCC supplied the grit;  TDC and RTC, spread it out as quickly as they could.No fossil fuel was used by RTC, during this activity.

The floats are not speedy, but quick enough and narrow enough for the streets of Ramsgate. Bearing in mind that they were designed to carry a lot of liquid milk, a few tonnes of salt is no problem. That float is 40 years old and still going strong. How many vans of that age are still working?

Thanet Over Fifties Forum

Join our last financial workshop on February 25 at 11am “Financial Resilience”

 The Money Charity’s 1-hour Financial Resilience session has been designed to help you explore ways to be more in control of your money and more financially resilient. The session will cover all aspects of financial resilience including planning, budgeting, saving, borrowing, and making your money go further. There will also be guidance and signposting to organisations offering independent, free financial support.

Frances, Financial Consultant, said: “People often feel powerless and hopeless but there is always something that can be done. Don’t keep quiet and struggle. Nothing is a quick fix, but you can take small sustainable steps such as tracking your spending to see where your money goes. With every single step, you will move closer to the goal, while building confidence.”

To secure a place please email [email protected] or ring 07812 487971 visit

Census 2021

Join the CENSUS 2021 session “learn more about what it may mean to you”  Thursday 4 March at 11am and again at 6pm.

We are holding two virtual information sessions one at 11am and the second one at 6pm. The session is being delivered by Leigh Poppy, Census Engagement Manager for South East Kent, Office of National Statistics.

It’s the first time in Census history that it is moving to a ‘digital-first’ census.

The Office for National Statistics wants as many people as possible to fill in their questionnaire online. It is easy to do and can be done on any device with internet connectivity.

Very soon households will receive a pack telling them how to join in.

There’ll be plenty of support available if you have any concerns about filling it in. If you prefer, you can still return a paper form which is available upon request.

To join the session email: [email protected] for the Zoom meeting link.

Save Our NHS in Kent

Many extra deaths every year will result if health bosses decide to centralise health services for east Kent in a new Canterbury “super hospital” claim health campaigners Save Our NHS in Kent (SONIK) following the publication of an image of how the super hospital is planned to look.

Carly Jeffrey of SONIK said: “This new image is just an attempt to dazzle us with a pretty looking mock-up of a new building while ignoring the grave implications of cutting the A&E, consultant-led maternity and stroke units at both Ashford and Margate.”

She added: “Studies show that unnecessary deaths result when health facilities are moved further away from where people live. Thanet is a severely deprived area, and as a result has poorer health and fewer people with access to a car. The road network is poor in east Kent, and therefore centralising all these life-saving services in just one hospital is dangerous and will lead to worse outcomes.”

Currently two alternative plans for hospitals in east Kent have been proposed by NHS bosses.  Option 1 would mean all major services centralised at the William Harvey in Ashford, with Margate’s A&E unit expanded and the K&C downgraded to a hospital specialising in diagnostics and routine planned surgery. Option 2 would mean the centralising of services in the super hospital in Canterbury and the downgrading of the A&E departments at Ashford’s William Harvey and the QEQM in Margate to “urgent treatment centres”.

Carly said: “Urgent treatment centres, which will replace full A&E at Margate and Ashford are GP-led, meaning that there are no consultants on hand. Most of the medics will be below GP level and there will be a lack of specialists to treat people. It would be like going to a GP surgery in an emergency, but one with only one doctor available. They are not comparable to an A&E. If option 2 is allowed to go ahead, no patients will be taken to Ashford or QEQM in Margate by ambulance any more – every ambulance call will go to Canterbury for all of east Kent.”

If option 1 goes ahead, the shell of the super hospital would be built by the developer Quinn as part of a wider housing development of 2,000 homes on surrounding land, with the NHS having to find the money to equip it.

SONIK believes the public is being presented with a false choice.

Carly said: “Canterbury hospital does need upgraded buildings and better services — but not at the expense of neighbouring areas. The matter of east Kent’s hospital provision is not a zero sum game, in which local towns are pitted against one another. Thanet, Ashford and Canterbury ALL NEED an A&E within a reasonable distance, and they all need their local hospitals to thrive and not be downgraded to cottage hospitals.”

Speaking about the hospital plans last year Caroline Selkirk, Managing Director of the four east Kent clinical commissioning groups, said: “We want the NHS to provide excellent healthcare for everyone in east Kent. To achieve that, it has to change. Our proposals include major improvements to hospital care and local care in east Kent, with significant new investment to deliver high quality hospital services including emergency services, bringing together specialist inpatient services into one hospital, and separating planned and emergency orthopaedic surgery.

“To be included on the shortlist, both options were assessed against five detailed criteria, developed with clinicians and tested with the public. The criteria have been designed to ensure the options being proposed can deliver improvements in patient care, are accessible for patients, are deliverable within the timeframe needed, sustainable for the future, and affordable within the money available.”

A draft pre-consultation business case is being assessed by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s South East team and the South East Clinical Senate (an independent group of clinicians). Their feedback will be incorporated into a final version. Because both options require significant capital funding from central NHS budgets, the final pre-consultation business case must be approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s national team before consultation can begin.

Youth Resilience UK

We are based in Kent. We have been given some money by the Kent and Medway Violence Reduction Unit to run 2 mental health awareness sessions for young people in Kent. We think this is very important especially at the moment when so many young peoples mental health is being being impacted by lockdown.

Both are on 01.03.21 and are for 16-21 year olds; the first is from 5.00 pm to 6.00 pm and is about mental health and will help young people understand their own mental health and how it impacts those around them. You can book via this link…

The second is 01.03.21 and on from 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm so if anyone wishes to they can do the first one and then go straight into the second one. The second one looks at stress and how a young person can reduce their stress leading to more positive mental health. If you are from 16-21 you can book this sessions via this link…

If you are a young person and would like to come along please feel free to contact us on [email protected] or book via the links above. The sessions will be run by Mid Kent Mind on our behalf and are very well worth attending

Martha Trust

Bessie, Steve and Kerry

Once upon a time, there was a little old green car called Bessie parked on a road in Gravesend. She was waiting for someone to buy her because her owner had bought a brand new car…..

Bessie’s rag to riches story sounds like a fairy tale; since 2016 this £200 car has travelled with Jill Burford and Pat Wilson (aka Grans on the Run) to Rome (2016) and Monte Carlo (2017) and then with Jill and Fay Franklin to Barcelona (2018).

Bessie’s team have raised £20,000 for Martha Trust to date through sponsorship, casino night, raffles, auctions, quiz nights, music events and many generous donations. Guest appearances on TV, radio, newspaper and magazine articles, NEC Craft Show, in Montreuil for World knitting day and has become a popular celebrity around the Deal area firstly in her beautiful knitted cover and then emblazoned with the Team Es-Car-go logo.

Pat Wilson and Jill Burford in Monte Carlo

Jill, Pat and Fay donated brave little Bessie to Martha Trust to give her another adventure to Monte Carlo in 2020 however due to CoVid19, the trip was unable to happen. She has lots of experience, conquered the Pyrenees on her way to Barcelona and skirted Mont Blanc on the way to Rome, despite her dislike of hills!

Bessie has also recently become a Martha pool car so will be used regularly with all her sponsorship company logo stickers proudly displayed on her bodywork.

Perrys in Whitfield, Dover have been generously been responsible for keeping her engine running, her bodywork intact and regularly servicing and making sure Bessie has her yearly MOT.

Manager Chris Lavery said: “Perrys Dover is more than happy to do whatever we can to keep Bessie on the road. The money she is raising is for such a worthwhile cause and is great; we love that we can make a difference and be part of this journey.”

Jill & Pat and The Colossieum in Rome

Fundraising & Events Officer Kerry Banks BEM said: “Bessie’s story is truly heart-warming and we feel very privileged that Jill, Pat and Fay bought her to take part in 3 of our annual car challenges and then donated her to continue to raise funds for Martha. We are incredibly grateful to the fabulous team at Perrys Dover who have made sure Bessie is roadworthy and safe for her adventures on a yearly basis – their support is invaluable! “

This year’s car challenge is Monte Carlo Madness, leaving on September 4, which will see intrepid teams set off from Dover for Monte Carlo in cars worth no more than £200 with full tax and MOT. Each team has to pledge to raise a minimum of £1,500 in sponsorship. In return Martha organises channel crossings, accommodation and flights home.

To sign up, please visit, email [email protected] or call 01304 610448. The event has been rolled over from 2020 and hopes to go ahead, pending restrictions.

1 Comment

  1. A very informative write up, although the photos could have been chosen that do not include fly tipped furniture left on the pavement.

    Nice article thou, ta.

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