Community news: Thanet Urban Forest, Palm Bay volunteers, Broadstairs Town Council, QEQM Friends, St John’s bells, person search, East Kent Mencap and KES business cup

Peter Hasted, from Thanet Urban Forest, with trainee Joseph Feaver

Thanet Urban Forest

This winter’s National Tree Week (25th November – 3rd December 2023) was extra special, marking the 50th anniversary of the famous ‘Plant a Tree in 73’ campaign – from which The Tree Council was born.

To pay tribute to those foundations and echo the well-loved slogan half a century later, The Tree Council wants as many people as possible to have the opportunity to ‘Grow a Tree in ’23.’ To celebrate this, Thanet Urban Forest hosted a series of tree walks across Thanet, including Montefiore Woodlands, Pierremont Park, Hartsdown Park, and Dane Park, led by local tree enthusiast and technical member of the Arboricultural Association, Peter Hasted.

Participants were offered a sapling to take home and plant, which had been grown at Thanet’s very own community tree nursery by members and visitors of the Windmill Community Garden. With the district council taking tree planting in-house, the scope for community planting with Thanet Urban Forest has diminished somewhat. However, they are planting a new mini woodland with KCC’s Kent Plan Tree between Acol and Manston Business Park.

TUF has also had the honour of working with KCC to provide a work placement for trainee Urban Forester Joseph Feaver, who has dedicated the past year, traveling from Faversham twice a week to learn what it takes to become an Urban Forester.

Joe said:  “For the past year I have been working with TUF, learning how to establish trees in the urban landscape. To give our trees the best chance to establish and thrive, we work throughout the year mulching, watering and weeding around the trees, always having an eye out searching for any potential issues. We make sure our trees are P&D free (pest and disease) and work to eliminate any issues we encounter such as trees rubbing against the cages (especially with the recent storm Isha) and removing suckers that if left, can affect the trees shape and form.

“I’ve learnt how to identify potential problems and solve them with the proper horticultural practices, knowing how to train and maintain a trees shape and how to cut and prune in a way that allows the tree to heal holistically.

“I’ve found the work with TUF especially varied and never dull and boring. Working in nice parks surrounded by plentiful wildlife always makes it easier to get up in the morning. We see all the holes dug by small mammals, such as hedgehogs, searching for grubs that like to sit by the moist watering pipe, along with a vast assortment of birds and insects. I’ve seen more field mice this year than in my entire life! I would highly recommend anyone considering entering this field of industry to do so, we could always do it with more people that are horticulturally minded!”

Let’s celebrate Spring – Spring in your step

As we can start looking forward to spring, the Tree Council will be publishing a series of walking routes across the UK that take in remarkable trees and spectacular sites. To continue the Tree Council’s 50th-anniversary celebrations, Thanet Urban Forest will be joining the Tree Council in hosting a second series of tree walks across Thanet between 18th and 26th of May. Taking a walk in springtime can be an invigorating and therapeutic experience for both mind and body. It allows you to enjoy the rejuvenating sights, sounds, and scents of nature coming to life after winter, and the fresh air, vibrant blooms, and increased sunlight can improve your mental well-being while enhancing your fitness and overall health.

Forest Bathing:

Forest bathing is the Japanese process of relaxation, known in Japan as Shinrin yoku. The simple method of being calm and quiet among the trees, observing nature around you while breathing deeply, can help de-stress and boost health and well-being in a natural way.

If you would like to join TUF and Peter on a spring tree walk, follow Thanet Urban Forest on Facebook or Eventbrite for more details.

Volunteers tackle neglected patches on Palm Bay Estate

Ten residents rolled up their sleeves on Saturday to tidy up one of the many neglected patches of infill land left by developers on the Palm Bay estate.

The overgrown triangle of land on Copperhurst Walk near St Philips Church was a tangled mass of weeds and litter. The volunteers, supported by the Friends of Botany Bay CIC. Cleared the weeds, turning over and tilling the soil before planting 26 rosemary plants, a corderline and 2 kg of bulbs. The entire area was then heavily sown with a native wildflower seed mix. Wildflower beds require minimal maintenance.

Cllr Barry Manners, who helped organise the event as director of the community interest company, says he hopes they can replicate this work on other sites in the ward. “This is the third patch that we’ve helped with on the estate in the last few months. The support from the community was fantastic. Around 25 volunteer hours We’re working with limited budgets but have sourced locally suited plants from Youngs Nursery. The use of wild flower seeding should increase biodiversity and encourage pollinators. As the space evolves it should put on a great display in the late Spring and Summer.”

The Friends of Botany Bay group also employs year round beach cleaners. They are waiting to hear if Southern Water will continue their support in 2024. Cllr Manners also organises an annual fundraising dinner at St Philips which pays for their work on local green spaces.

Broadstairs & St Peter’s Town Council

Residents have been voicing their support for the new life which is being breathed into Victoria Gardens on Broadstairs seafront.

Broadstairs & St. Peter’s Town Council are working in partnership with Thanet District Council which owns the land, to rejuvenate the gardens in response to concerns raised by residents, local businesses and visitors to the town.

Ongoing financial pressures had led to Thanet District Council rethinking its open spaces strategy, making it difficult to plant and maintain the gardens in the manner to which visitors and residents have become accustomed.

This where the Town Council decided to get involved. Using existing staff and the assistance of temporary gardener, Vanessa, the gardens are quickly being cut back and weeded in readiness for spring planting.

Many residents will recognise Vanessa and appreciate her hard work and dedication to the Broadstairs gardens due to her previous long-term employment with Thanet District Council. The Town Council is hoping with Vanessa’s expertise and knowledge, the area will be revitalised ready for spring.

Town Mayor Cllr Kristian Bright said: “We were keen to respond to local people’s disappointment with the condition of the gardens. We know they are the jewel in the crown of our beautiful seaside town and we are pleased to be able to step in and support Thanet District Council.

“We would like to thank TDC for organising the necessary permissions and support so quickly and for providing all necessary tools and equipment.”

It is hoped the initiative will be a real community affair with opportunities for sponsorship and for volunteering in order to reinstate the gardens to their former glory. Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in getting involved.

The Town Council also plans to employ two full time gardeners to carry on Vanessa’s great work. Please see www.broadstairs.gov.uk for more details.

At the council meeting held on the 29 January members of Broadstairs & St. Peter’s Town Council agreed upon a 9.5% increase on its element of the Council Tax for 2024-2025 ensuring an additional £78,000 for the town. The resulting council tax represents an increase of £7.39 per year for a Band D household and will ensure the council is well placed to deliver its plan for a cleaner, safer, kinder Broadstairs.

Cllr Bright said: “Across a series of Town Forums and public meetings, members have listened to residents’ concerns and wishes for our town. The deterioration of Victoria Gardens was frequently mentioned, so the council has stepped in by setting money aside to employ two full time gardeners who will work on returning our seafront to its former glory.

“We are also mindful of the impact of the cost-of-living crisis for our residents and the valuable contribution our community organisations play in maintaining quality of life in our town. We have therefore agreed to increase our grant budget by £40,000 to help meet this need, bringing the total amount given to support local charities and groups to £100,000.”

Local organisations can apply for funding through our website https://www.broadstairs.gov.uk/Grants_

QEQM Hospital League of Friends

We’re delighted to be one of the winning charities in the Movement for Good Awards February draw and will be receiving £1,000. Huge thanks to everyone who kindly nominated us. The money will be used to help enhance patient care at the QEQM Hospital and because we have minimal overheads and are all volunteers every penny will count.

More information about our charity can be found at www.qeqmfriends.com and about the awards scheme at www.movementforgood.com. The awards are open to all UK-registered charities, not-for-profit organisations or community interest companies. If you haven’t already done so, there’s still time to nominate our charity or another good cause as further draws will take place during the course of the year. The Benefact Group’s Movement for Good Awards is giving away over £1 million to help change lives for the better.

St John’s Margate bell ringing

Photo Frank Leppard

St John’s Margate would like to thank their local community who responded so well after hearing the bells ringing last Sunday afternoon.

Eight bell ringers took on the challenge of ringing 5040 changes of Grandsire Triples which took them 3 hours of continuous ringing – quite a marathon.

This peal was to mark the 200th Anniversary of the first peal of Grandsire Triples on  January 29th 1824.

The peal drew a number of visitors who had not seen the publicity beforehand but just wanted to find out what was happening. Their interest in the bells is encouraging for St John’s and the bell ringers.

Photo Frank Leppard

We have been told that the sound of the bells carried quite a long way – with some hearing it as far away as the Northdown Park Estate.

With the social media opportunities of our 21st Century lives we were able to post some video and audio footage on the St John’s Facebook as the event got under way meaning that those no longer living within earshot but still with fond memories of special occasions such as weddings at St John’s could still enjoy the bells.

St John’s Margate | Facebook

Photo Frank Leppard

If you would like to find out more about the bells look out for St John’s Heritage Open Days on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th September this year when we hope to celebrate the work of the bell ringers.

That weekend we will also share some of our 1,000 years of history and show off our refurbishments as we continue to work hard to ensure there is worship in this place for the next 1,000 years.

Person search

I am trying to find the doctor who helped during a medical incident at Broadstairs Railway Station on 29th November 2023.

My partner’s brother suffered a cardiac arrest  and we were there at the scene when this happened and would like to thank the Doctor personally.

All we know is he said he dealt with cancer and worked in London

If anyone can help us find him please contact Nancy Wharton via [email protected]

Person search 2

Brian Mantle. His cousin Gillian, daughter of Aunt Nora and Uncle Reg, who lived in the coastal Thanet area. The last I heard of him he was living at Ramsgate but sadly I had no address. If anybody can give me a clue of his whereabouts 01480 432653/ 07950002777 it would be appreciated. Have been trying to locate Brian without success for at least a decade and would be delighted to hear from him.
Gillian DeWinter

East Kent Mencap

East Kent Mencap supports people with a learning disability in Thanet and is appealing for good quality gifts to use as raffle prizes for future charity events.

Now is the perfect time to declutter and make room for new gifts or perhaps you have Christmas presents, such as toiletries sets, accessories, vouchers, or bottles that you won’t use. The charity is urging the local community to consider donating them to East Kent Mencap.

Jane Brooke, Fundraising Manager, said: “We are in the midst of a cost of living crisis and fundraising is particularly challenging now. We are collecting raffle prizes for upcoming discos and fundraising events to raise vital funds. Your contributions will help East Kent Mencap to support more individuals with a learning disability to accomplish incredible achievements.”

To coordinate delivery, please email [email protected] or call 01843 808964 and ask for Jane Brooke, Fundraising Manager, to arrange to drop off at one of our local Thanet Hubs in Ramsgate or Margate.

Cup for Business

Samuel Mileham and Harvey Sallows, Sales Manager at Elivia Homes

A Thanet student has been recognised for his outstanding academic achievements by housebuilder Elivia Homes Eastern – formerly Millwood Designer Homes. As part of the company’s rewarding ‘Encouragement Pack’ initiative, student Samuel Mileham was joined by Elivia Homes’ sales manager Harvey Sallows to be presented with his prize at King Ethelbert School in Birchington.

The King Ethelbert student completed his GCSEs including two Maths and Geography IB diplomas and a BTEC in Business, achieving a Distinction grade. The Elivia Homes prize was awarded for his outstanding contribution to business studies, receiving the prestigious ‘Cup for Business’.

Samuel said: “I’m really grateful to have been awarded this prize by Elivia Homes. My BTEC in business was one of my favourite GCSE subjects as it involved coursework, independent study and work experience.

“My teachers were really supportive and I gained more exposure in the subject when I did work experience at a law firm, shadowing a senior partner, which was organised by the school. I’m now really enjoying undertaking my Level 6 apprenticeship with Jacobs, a professional services company that carries out projects over the world, which is the equivalent of a university degree.”

Charlie Barber, Head of Business at King Ethelbert School, said: “Throughout his key stage 4 and key stage 5 courses, Samuel has had his own businesses running on the side, which have been very successful.  He was made Events Manager and made a significant contribution during our unit 4 ‘Running an Event’ unit, which made money and raised awareness across the school for the Mind charity.  He has also secured a degree apprenticeship at Jacobs in London.”

Harvey Sallows, Sales Manager at Elivia Homes, was in attendance on the day to congratulate Samuel, and present him with an engraved trophy, £50 book token and £50 cheque.

Philip Brown, Sales and Marketing Director at Elivia Homes Eastern, said: “On behalf of the team here, I would like to congratulate Samuel for his fantastic academic achievements within the field of business, and wish him all the success with his businesses, and in his future career.”

1 Comment

  1. Trainee Urban Forester Joseph Feaver, is a real inspiration to us all. I was truely impressed by Joe’s comments and thereby could really see how the work placement training has benefited her and expanded her knowledge around horticulture, for the benefit of the environment and us all. A real success story.

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