A grant of £5000 to the Thanet Iceberg Project has helped to provide 35 beds to isle children who would otherwise be sleeping on the floor.
Off The Floor is a scheme launched in April by the project, run by Alexander Roarke -known just as Roarke- and Ann Newstead, who also head up The Lounge community café on Westwood Industrial Estate.
The aim of the scheme is to build wooden beds and provide them to every family in Thanet who needs them.
An estimated 300 children in Thanet are sleeping on the floor, sofas or sharing beds with siblings because families are living below the poverty line.
Roarke says Off The Floor has been inundated with requests for help with many families saying their children are using coats as a mattress.
Thanet Iceberg Project applied to Kent Community Foundation for funding and received a grant of £5,000 from the Albert Burns Children’s Charitable Trust Fund.
Established in 2018, Thanet Iceberg Project helps individuals and households across Thanet to combat the causes of poverty whilst overcoming its symptoms. They run three projects, The Lounge, where the community can come together for a drink and a snack, The Loft, where pre-loved furniture and small household items are given to those who need them – encompassing the Off The Floor project – and Crossroads to offer advice, support and where needed, practical assistance.
Roarke said, “When we applied to Kent Community Foundation we were being inundated with heart-breaking requests for beds and bedding from families where the children were sleeping on the floor and often using coats as a mattress.
“Before applying for a grant, we spoke with a mattress manufacturer to negotiate a special discounted rate and we liaised with a carpentry company who agreed to help us to source and cut to size the wood needed to make the bed bases.
“Since we received the grant we have been able to provide beds for 35 children. One mum of two children said to us ‘I can’t believe that you would do this for us’ and when we delivered a bed to a child, they said to us ‘What? This is mine?’ before running around the room singing ‘I got my own bed; I got my own bed.’“
Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said, “We know from the Kent Community Foundation Needs Analysis report, that Thanet has the highest number and proportion of children living in low-income families in the county.
“Couple that with data showing that Thanet residents have the lowest median weekly full-time earnings in the county, and it clearly demonstrates just how important to the community charities like Thanet Iceberg Project are. We commissioned the Needs Analysis report to ensure that funding is reaching the right people and it is clear that the £5,000 grant from the Albert Burns Children’s Charitable Trust Fund was awarded to a charity supporting those with the greatest needs in the Thanet district.
“Our Needs Analysis has examined where support is most necessary across every district in Kent, and we have funding available for charities and community groups who are supporting those people who are a priority. We would encourage both new organisations and those who have applied before, to talk to us about how our funding will make a difference to the adults and children in their community.”
The report shows that 24% of children in Thanet live in low-income families and the same percentage are in receipt of free school meals. It says many low-income families are in danger of being tipped into food poverty and debt.
Thanet Iceberg Project