Thanet community news: Family Mile, Ramsgate Mayor, Margate RNLI, photo exhibition, community foundation, health trust, Pilgrims Hospices and u3a

Free fun with the Family Mile event

Family Mile free Summer event

A free family mile event will take place at King George VI Park in Ramsgate on Sunday, July 4 from 11am to 2pm.

The event invites families to ‘do the mile their way’ and will also have lots of fun activities on offer

These include:

Scavenger Hunts
Interactive Nature Miles
Fun workouts
Create our Mascot Competition
Local Community Services showcasing health and wellbeing

The Family Mile offers a starting point to a healthier and happier life, whether it’s walking the dog, pushing the pram, scooting with the kids, or simply walking together as family! This July, we are hosting our very own free family event at King George VI Park, bringing families together from all over Thanet to do ‘Their Mile, Their Way’! Expect exciting activities, fantastic giveaways, upbeat music, and open green spaces where the kids (and parents) can put down their phones and tablets and have some outdoorsy fun – all completely free.

Mascot Competition

We have decided to create our very own Mason Mile mascot and we are looking for a talented youngster to design it! There will be mascot design packs available on the day, where kids can enter this unique competition for a chance to work with a professional designer and bring their creation to life! Please head to our website on how to enter and relevant Terms & Conditions.

Download our free Mason Mile App beforehand (available on the App Store and Google Play) and join a friendly, supportive digital community where you can keep up to date with all our latest announcements!

Mayor of Ramsgate

The Mayor of Ramsgate, Cllr Raushan Ara, is promoting community activities and a chance for Ramsgate residents to meet with others, socialise and be active, whilst also helping to care for our coast and its diverse wildlife.

To help promote Ramsgate and take care of the environment, the Mayor of Ramsgate will be donating free litter pickers to members of the public to help clean Ramsgate Town Centre. as part of The Great Ramsgate Spring Clean.

Join the Mayor on Wednesday 9 June, 10.30am at the Salvation Army, Ramsgate. Covid safety rules will be briefed and hand gloves, hand santiser and face coverings will be provided.

Isle of Thanet Photographic Society

The Club’s annual exhibition of prints at the York Street Gallery in Ramsgate is due to take place from the afternoon of June 9 until the morning of  June 16, subject to Covid-19 regulations.

More about our programme and events is on our website ( or visit us on Facebook.

RNLI Margate

Photo RNLI

When Margate’s RNLI lifeboat station learned that its Mersey class lifeboat was to be replaced by a B class inshore lifeboat, the volunteer crew’s thoughts turned to the training required to operate the new boat.

A B class lifeboat from the RNLI’s relief fleet was allocated for the training in October 2020 but as the boathouse at Margate couldn’t accommodate three lifeboats it was sent to the neighbouring lifeboat station at Ramsgate where training would be based.

This arrangement meant the crew could benefit from the knowledge of their colleagues at Ramsgate who were familiar with the B class and station personnel there provided valuable support throughout the period; the B class lifeboat stations at Whitstable and Walmer also providing input.

Seven months of intensive training followed supervised by the institution’s full-time training and coast management team. Over that period and up to when the B class was placed ‘on service’ at Margate on 30 April the 26-strong crew took part in 93 afloat exercises with the training boat and two station lifeboats (70 B class, 16 D class and 7 Mersey class). Collectively the crew clocked up 609.2 hours of afloat training time and 120.29 hours of shore crew-related training making a total of 729.49 hours, or the equivalent of 91 eight-hour days of volunteer commitment.

Photo RNLI

These figures do not include eight residential courses to date at the RNLI College at Poole for six crew members totalling 18 days, home-based e-Learning or training that has continued since the B class commenced operations. Early in the period, Covid-19 restrictions brought practical training to a standstill for several weeks.

At the peak of activity RNLI training assessors provided up to three, three-hour sessions a day, five days a week covering skills including: safety procedures; navigation and communications; boathandling and advanced training for the designated helms, not forgetting the knowledge required to maintain the lifeboat and associated launching equipment. Non-seagoing crew members were trained in launch and recovery procedures at Margate from where local coast familiarisation navigation exercises were also carried out.

As well as transitioning to the new class of boat it was important for the crew to maintain the training routine for the existing Mersey class all-weather and D class inshore lifeboats at Margate and full operational availability was maintained throughout the period under the station’s volunteer management and operations team.

Photo RNLI

Derek Amas, Lifeboat Operations Manager, RNLI Margate said: “The figures only tell part of the story. Each three-hour session spent training by the crew means three hours not spent with their families, something they accept as part of the volunteer commitment so we are grateful for the sacrifices their families have made supporting us in our work. We are also grateful to local employers who have been understanding with their employees’ contribution to saving lives at sea. We feel we are now ready to meet the challenges of what is expected to be a busy summer season.”

Kent Community Foundation

Having recently launched an environmental strategy, Kent Community Foundation used World Environment Day (June 5) to highlight the financial support that is available for community projects that help to protect and promote the environment

World Environment Day is celebrated worldwide on 5 June and encourages everyone to consider how they can improve the planet by making small changes, including planting trees, creating community gardens, and cleaning rivers and coasts.

Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said, “Our new environmental strategy is designed to help safeguard our county’s natural habitat and green spaces for every community to enjoy today and in years to come.

“The World Environment Day objectives to encourage everyone to consider how they can improve the planet by making small changes, including planting trees, creating community gardens, and cleaning up rivers and coasts fits perfectly with our strategy to fund this type of community project.

“Over the last twenty years we have funded many projects which help to protect the environment and address social issues. Our new environmental strategy will enable us to award grants to more projects supporting local community action like The Friends of The Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond, Sunflower House and Sheppey Matters.

“If you belong to a community group that is trying to make a difference to your local environment, please do get in touch with us as  by funding projects supporting local community action, we can make a big difference to the Garden of England now and for the future.”

To find out more about Kent Community Foundation’s environmental strategy visit,


Pilgrims Hospices

Local charity Pilgrims Hospices has been celebrating the difference volunteers make to their organisation during this year’s Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1-7 June.

Volunteers at Pilgrims Hospices are being welcomed back as the government road map opens and the charity is able to offer an environment that is safe to return to. Many of the shops opened again with the support of dedicated volunteers, the charity generated new and much needed income which is helping to support 100s of people who need expert care. A wide variety of roles are being fulfilled including gardeners, administrators, drivers, to name but a few, and in many cases, part of the welcoming team at the hospice receptions in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet.

The well-known and much-loved local charity provides end of life care throughout east Kent and has done so for over 38 years. With almost 1,600 volunteers, all playing an important part to ensure the charity remains here for everyone who needs their care.

Helen Bennett, Pilgrims Hospices chief Executive said: “Volunteers’ Week is a time to say a heartful thanks and welcome back to our volunteers as we restore our services and move through the national roadmap to ease lockdown.   We wholeheartedly recognise the significant contribution you all make not only to Pilgrims Hospices but to organisations across the UK.

“It has been said many times, but it remains the case, that volunteers are the backbone of our organisation.”

Jeff Southon, Pilgrims Voluntary Services Manager said: “It’s wonderful to be inviting our volunteers back again. The pandemic has been challenging to say the least, we had to ask the majority of our volunteer workforce to remain at home and stay safe, we’ve missed them and are delighted they are returning to help us again. We remained in contact throughout these difficult times, sharing relevant information as things progressed and it’s been an absolute pleasure to speak to so many people who are really keen to come back to help us move forward in the future.

“We’ve introduced robust measures to provide additional support, and ensure the safety of volunteers;  providing training for those who are taking on fresh challenges and we’re comfortable that the experience is one that our amazing volunteers will enjoy and they will feel valued as part of the Pilgrims Hospices family. It reflects how important they are to our teams; we really can’t do our work without them.”

The charity has been sharing volunteer stories throughout Volunteers’ Week, they can be seen on Pilgrims website and on Facebook and Twitter.

If you are interested in volunteering for Pilgrims, visit

Kent Community Health Trust

People recovering from COVID are being offered a new walking test, as part of their rehabilitation.

The test has recently been introduced at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT). It is predominantly used for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but in the past few weeks, it has been used for post-COVID patients too.

It allows physiotherapists to gain a precise and accurate measurement of a patient’s fitness and ability – allowing them to prescribe an exercise plan, which will meet a person’s specific and individual needs. The result is that patients with chronic respiratory conditions have a faster and better recovery.

The incremental shuttle walking test is new to the pulmonary rehabilitation service at KCHFT. It is considered to be best practice and is in line with British Thoracic Society guidelines.

Its introduction aimed for more than 58 per cent of patients to see an improvement in their exercise capacity, following a six-week programme with the trust. However, more than 70 per cent of patients have seen an improvement.

Kate Savage, clinical lead physiotherapist who has led the project, said: “We are getting much better results now. Patients are improving more than before, because we can now accurately prescribe what exercise they should be taking.

“Evidencing the improvement patients are making, linked to their daily living and quality of life, provides additional motivation for them and their carers to engage with rehabilitation. It also provides job satisfaction for our staff.”

The test is similar to a bleep test, but is at a slower, walking pace. The patient walks for as long as they can until they are either too breathless or can no longer keep up with the beeps, at which time the test ends. The number of shuttles is recorded.

The walking test means a person’s fitness, health improvement and ability can be measured and recorded.

The test was first introduced 18 months ago and ran until March 2020, when it was paused as a result of the pandemic and when virtual consultations and assessments took place. Face-to-face tests resumed in October 2020, in a Covid-secure way.

The service is now exceeding the national average for the percentage of patients who demonstrate an improvement in their exercise tolerance following a course of pulmonary rehabilitation. The national average is 60 per cent. The KCHFT average is 70 per cent.


u3a members across the country joined forces with the Centre for Ageing Better on the first ever annual u3a day (2 June) to call for an end to damaging and stereotypical views of later life, shifting the focus to positive, more realistic depictions instead.

A survey of u3a members found that nearly 40% had heard ageist language used about their age group. Terms most commonly described by members as offensive included ‘wrinkly’ and ‘past it’. 63% of members had heard their age group described as ‘frail’ and 53% had heard their age group described as ‘geriatric’. A fifth (20%) of surveyed u3a members in their sixties said they had been described as ‘elderly’ despite nearly two fifths (37%) of them finding the term offensive.

The results contrasted strongly with how members saw themselves, with common responses in the survey including ‘friendly’, ‘curious’, ‘intelligent’ and ‘independent’.

u3a is a UK-wide movement of locally run groups, aiming to encourage people in their third age to come together and continue their enjoyment of learning in subjects of interest to them. The Centre for Ageing Better is a charity focused on ensuring people can enjoy a good later life.

The organisations’ call for an end to ageism came on the first ever annual u3a day, designed to showcase the work of u3a members and challenge preconceptions of what being an older adult means.

Evidence from the Centre for Ageing Better shows that ageism is harmful to people of all ages. Ageist attitudes can lead to barriers in healthcare and in the workplace as well as negatively impacting the way people view their own ageing process.

To support u3a members to challenge ageism, u3a and the Centre for Ageing Better have produced a toolkit which includes information and resources on how to challenge ageism including a ‘Top Tips’ guide.

Sam Mauger, CEO of the Third Age Trust, said:  “u3a represents a diverse and enthusiastic group of members who are wonderful examples of what it means to age well. Our members all approach later life in different ways and we want to see this reflected in the way we talk about and think about ageing. Ageism is the most common form of discrimination in the UK and nearly two fifths of our members have experienced ageism towards their age group.

“Our first annual u3a day celebrated the opportunities and experiences which  members have found in later life. We hope the day also challenged preconceptions about age. The day falls during Volunteering Week and was an opportunity to highlight the amazing voluntary work u3a members do within our organisation – sharing skills and talents.”