Community news: Big Sing, Sculpture Trail auction, Wilderness to Wonderland, St John Ambulance, KDCS, book launch, QEQM, Inner Wheel, Birchington Heritage Trust, wellbeing team, Viking Day Unit and adoption appeal

Thanet Big Sing community choir

Thanet Big Sing

We are a local inclusive community choir and welcome all new members aged 18 years and over.

Under the expert guidance of our Music Director, Tony Castro, the choir rehearses at the United Reform Church Hall, Westgate Bay Avenue, Westgate on Sea, CT8 8SN every Tuesday evening from 7.30pm to 9.30 pm. during term times.

No audition is necessary and choir members do not need to read music or indeed have any choral or musical experience at all. We offer all potential new members a free-of-charge ‘taster’ rehearsal.

The Big Sing performs at various events throughout the year, including supporting Turner Contemporary , seasonal celebrations and also performs at other venues locally and further afield.

Our repertoire is a wide variety of music from popular to light classical, music from the Shows. As mentioned above, we also commission new works for special events.

The Thanet Big Sing Community Choir is well known for being a friendly and supportive choir and a warm welcome awaits.

We are now preparing for our summer concert. We are very excited as part of the concert is performance of a newly composed work by our musical director Tony Castro, partly inspired by the Antony Gormley statue outside Turner Contemporary in Margate.

The concert takes place on June 29, 2,30pm, at The Centre in Alpha Road, Birchington.

Tickets are £10, under 14s £3 and refreshments are included. Pre-book by calling Lorna on 01843 290513 or email [email protected]

For more details visit

Monkton Sculpture Trail

An auction will be held in Ramsgate next week to raise funds for a new sculpture trail opening at Monkton Nature Reserve.

The trail, which will be open from May to September, features 20 sculptures made by community groups including the Graden Gate Project as well as high profile artists.

The auction will include works donated by Bob and Roberta Smith, Margo in Margate, Ivor Abrahams and more.

There will also be a raffle with prizes including cinema tickets, pottery taster, printing workshop, Reiki and event tickets.

It takes place at Hold gallery, Albert Street, Ramsgate, on Wednesday 24th April, 6pm to 9pm. All welcome.

The idea for a new Sculpture Trail was proposed by artists Ruth Rollason and Lucy Troubridge.

Co-creator Ruth said: “I visited a sculpture trail in an environment similar to Monkton Nature Reserve and was impressed how the sculptures added another dimension to the area.

“When I visited Monkton Nature Reserve, I considered it to be the perfect space for the same. We aim to foster a deeper appreciation for art, nature, and community interaction through the Sculpture Trail and create an annual summer event.

“Having the sculpture trail at the reserve will widen its appeal, there is nothing like it in the local area. The opportunity to connect with nature through the medium of sculpture in a secure setting will be of immense benefit to all visitors. Exposure to art and artists in this way will be inspirational.”

Sculptures are being installed at Monkton over the next fortnight.

For more details go to @monktonsculpturetrail on Instagram or email [email protected]


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This month we are starting a schools project working with five schools providing 400 plug plants and baby plants for them to propagate and eventually plant in the community gardens allowing them to become citizens of their community and invest in their futures and the environment.

The collection of plants and plugs was from local nursery Youngs, who are massively supportive.

We will review progress after about 4 weeks and will have the children come and plant up in community gardens around Margate sometime in the summer term.

In the past week I (Rory) have

  • Met with Steve at Follow the Swirl to confirm arrangements for our Sausage Sizzle fundraiser in August
  • Met with Eli Thompson to explore working together to enhance the Soul Festival with blooming lovely displays on the streets of Margate
  • Met with Margate Mayor, TDC managers and cabinet members to explore ‘working closely together’ to recover the ‘Wilderness’ of waste land in front of Premier Inn which greets our visitors
  • Met Jackie at Youngs Nursery to thank her for her support and delivered plant plugs to the five local schools. Holy Trinity, St Antony’s, Stone Bay, Reculver and Ramsgate Arts School are now part of the inclusive ‘Wildernesstowonderland’ team working together to make Margate’s streets safe, bright and beautiful.

I am proud to lead such a dedicated band of volunteers who spent over 1000 person hours caring for our community gardens last year. We will do the same again this year looking after ‘good old Margate’, but where is the money going to come from? We need to raise another £10,000 to match our budget of last year.

Fundraising can be fun but with the gardening schedule planned this year I need to focus on project management rather than writing hundreds of letters again to local businesses to ask for your support. We need someone with a big heart and deep pockets to support us with a gift of £5000pa or £500 a month so we can continue to provide residents and visitors with gardens to ‘hang out in and enjoy’.

Wildernesstowonderland can be found on Facebook, Instagram andJustgiving

Weeders, waterers, planters and planners always welcome to join us.


St John Ambulance Ramsgate

Young people have been trying out new training equipment purchased with a Christmas lights donation.

The funds were raised by Nethercourt couple Katie and Tyrone Keen who decorated their home with an astonishing 22,093 LED bulbs.

The display and a raffle raised £1,045.79 for St John Ambulance in Ramsgate.

St John Ambulance unit in Sussex Street, which is run by Saphinna Philpott, used the funds to purchase equipment for the cadets to learn lifesaving skills.

Kent Deaf Children’s Society

The Society is a small volunteer led charity with the primary focus on the needs of deaf children and the role of the family in understanding deafness and incorporating Deaf Awareness into their everyday lives.

Kent Deaf Children’s Society (KDCS) is a self funded, voluntary group, many of whom are either parents of deaf children or professionals working within services for deaf children.

The mission is to empower deaf children, facilitating communication, fostering friendships, and providing essential support.

The charity actively works towards breaking down barriers to communication, addressing the

daily impacts of their diagnosis, and minimising potential feelings of low self-esteem.

The charity is holding a new, free family event for deaf children (with any degree of hearing impairment) at Elev8 in Westwood on April 28, 11am to 1pm.

Find out more about the charity at:

Thanet novelist to release eighth book

Carol M. Salter, successful local fantasy, and Sci-Fi novelist with seven novels, and two competition wins already under her belt, is about to release her second dark fantasy novel, Between Here and Hell.

Emma Marnier uncovers the existence of alternate dimensions. Her path leads her to the unthinkable realm—Hell. She confronts various inhabitants and witnesses grim penalties in Satan’s place of residence. Will Emma be punished too? And if so, what form will her Hell take?

Between Here and Hell Launches on Sunday 9th June

For Early Birds at Taddy’s Barn Eatery from 10am to midday. Buy a book, stay for breakfast.

For late comers at Riparo Lounge Westwood Cross. 5pm to 8pm. Buy a book, stay for dinner. (NB food not included in the book price)

All hard copy books available via Waterstones, Carol’s website, or on Kindle. Contact Carol via her website contact page.

QEQM Hospital League of Friends and East Kent Hospitals Charity

Our charities are delighted to have jointly funded seven TVs for Sandwich Bay Ward – a large TV for each of the two bays and a smaller one for each of the five side rooms – at a cost of over £7,000, which included installation with new power points & an aerial-boosted cabling system.

Sandwich Bay has 21-23 beds and as well as being a general medicine ward specialises in providing care for palliative, end of life and medically optimised for discharge patients.

Ward Manager Atim, shown with her Assistant Nikki, Deputy Ward Manager Melissa and one of the large TVs, said: “We’re very thankful for the generous funding of the televisions. This invaluable support is enhancing patients’ stays through diversional therapy and is aiding families in bonding and finding solace during their loved ones’ final moments. Your contribution is truly making a difference.”

Westgate & Birchington Inner Wheel News

On Friday 19th April, Westgate & Birchington Inner Wheel held an evening of 70’s music from the ‘DNA’ band in the Birchington Services Club. Many people had taken the 70’s vibe and dressed up with headbands and flares.75 people danced the night away and joined in singing the 70’s favourites. I suspect that there were more than a few aches and pains and hoarse voices the following day!

This is the second time we have danced to the ‘DNA’ band, last year we enjoyed a ‘Beatles tribute’ evening. A giant raffle was held with many wonderful prizes and later in the evening, an auction was held for a ‘George Foreman Grill’ and a voucher for £20 from Dadds Butchers in Westgate, which after some hard bidding went for £60!

The evening raised in excess of £800. This year, our Joint Presidents Lily and Margaret, have chosen to support 2 charities, the local branch of Parkinson’s UK, and EKIDS (East Kent Independent Dementia Support). We have already raised money for our charities with several small events, but we hope to have some more small events before the end of the IW year in July. Please support our events, which are all for our charities!

For our CAMEO  in April,  as we have no formal meeting, we enjoyed an enormous ‘Afternoon Tea’ at Taddy’s Barn. We presented 96 year old June Davies with a certificate as an ‘Honorary Friend’ of our club.

She is shown with Joint Presidents, Margaret and Lily. June is always busy supporting our charity efforts by knitting, crocheting and sewing. At the Easter meeting she brought along an amazing Easter bonnet that she had made depicting Peter Rabbit having tea.

We shall be taking part in the Birchington Active Leisure Forum on Saturday 27th April at The Village Centre in Birchington, 9.30am to 3.30pm. We would love to see you there and show you some of the charities we have supported, speakers we have enjoyed and what fun we have had!

At our 16th May meeting we shall have a speaker telling us about her experiences living at the Tower of London!

Contact Margaret on 01843 840 878 for information about our club. We would love to hear from you!

Birchington Heritage Trust

The Trust’s next event is the ever-popular Quiz Night on Thursday 25 April, at The Centre.

Tickets are just £5 per person and can be bought from the museum during our opening hours (see below). All funds raised from the event help to support the Trust and its work in maintaining an archive and collections relating to Birchington and Acol.

On 30 May, Trust Chairman Neville Hudson will be delivering a talk about the development of The Centre as part of a weekend of celebrations marking 50 years since it opened. This event is free to members of the Trust but all are welcome (non-members are asked to make a donation to the Trust).

Membership of the Trust is open to everyone. Our new year starts on 1 May. Single adult membership is only £10; or £15 for two adults living at the same address. Members are entitled to attend our talks free of charge and receive regular Newsletters. They can also stand for election to the board of Trustees and volunteer at the museum, helping with archive queries and caring for our collection. Membership details and forms are available from the museum or can be downloaded from the website (details below).

For more information about our collections, archives and publications, our volunteers are on hand to welcome visitors to the museum between 0930 and 1230 Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays OR drop in and visit our stand at the Birchington Active Leisure Showcase at The Centre on Saturday 27 April. We look forward to seeing you!

Birchington Heritage Trust, The Burley Gallery, Birchington Library Facebook: @birchingtonheritage

Thanet Emotional Wellbeing Team

The Thanet Emotional Wellbeing Team, a team of specialists trained to help children at school with their emotional wellbeing and mental health was celebrated at the Trust’s annual awards earlier this month.

The team was among the Highly Commended for the difference they make to young people and their families in the community.

Not only that but they have demonstrated a remarkable team ethos ─ supporting each other through training courses, navigating processes, and most of all working together to ensure families in Thanet get the best possible support.

The team is specially trained to share ideas about looking after mental health, and to offer early help with emotional wellbeing and mental health difficulties. Getting the right support early can help prevent problems getting bigger, and help children and young people enjoy school, home, time with families and friends, and other activities.

The overwhelmingly positive feedback the team has received from those who use the service, but also schools and partners alike shows the difference that their passion, enthusiasm, and determination makes.

Gills Burns, Director of Children Services at NELFT, said:“We are very proud of our team in Thanet for all their hard work and dedication. The support Emotional Wellbeing Teams provide across Kent schools is vital in ensuring children and young people can live full lives and fulfil their potential. The impact for families and carers as well as the wider community is invaluable.”

Emotional Wellbeing Teams are a government initiative also known nationally as Mental Health Support Teams. Find out more about the support available at Kent – Emotional Wellbeing Teams | NELFT NHS Foundation Trust

Viking Day Unit

Fans of soul, funk and disco are in for a treat at a charity night in Margate.

The event, on Saturday, 4 May, is in aid of East Kent Hospitals Charity, raising money for the Viking Day Unit at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in the town, which provides cancer treatment.

Organiser Giorgio Green is hoping to raise £2,000, in memory and support of friends who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Giorgio, who lives in Margate, said: “It should be a great event and we have some fantastic raffle prizes on offer.

“The club have been absolutely brilliant in their support and are already collecting donations. Johnny Andrews, who owned the club, passed away from cancer so they were very keen to help, and I couldn’t have done it without young Johnny Andrews and Hayley and the rest of the team.”

The event will feature soul, funk, and disco tunes from the 1960s to the 1990s, and admission is free. It starts at 7pm and runs until late at the Odds Club in Hawley Street, Margate.

Raffle prizes include paintings from local artists, vouchers, and items donated by local shops.

Diagrama Adoption

Voluntary adoption agencies across the UK have joined forces to find more adoptive parents for children with additional needs who are waiting for a family.

Children with additional needs wait an average of 11 months longer in care than their peers and voluntary adoption agencies are urgently looking for people who can offer them a permanent and  loving home.

Kent based Diagrama Fostering and Adoption is among 21 Voluntary Adoption Agencies from all over the UK who have together created a guide for people considering adoption containing helpful information and advice from parents who have already adopted children with additional needs.

Kate Patel, Head of Fostering and Adoption at Diagrama said: “It may sound daunting for people thinking about adoption to consider a child with additional needs but our adoptive parents who have done so say it is incredibly rewarding. It gives a child the chance to flourish and to grow up with the love and security that every child deserves.

“All children can have additional needs at times. These could be to do with their development, learning, communication, behaviour or emotional wellbeing. There are also children with physical disabilities.

“Many of the thousands of children waiting in care who have additional needs, wait nearly a year longer than other children. We want to change that.

“We are excited to be part of this project sharing first hand, heartfelt experience and advice from families who have already done this incredible thing of adopting a child with additional needs. If you live in Kent, Surrey, Sussex or South London and would like to explore adopting, please do get in touch.”

Voluntary Adoption Agencies are specialists in finding families for children who wait the longest in care. They work in partnership with regional adoption agencies and local authorities to find families for children waiting for a permanent home.

Voluntary Adoption Agencies are independent, not-for-profit organisations who have intensive services to provide families with vital support both when the children are placed and into the future.

Satwinder Sandhu, Chief Executive of the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies which represents Voluntary Adoption Agencies across the country said, “We are so grateful to the adoptive parents who have contributed to this new Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies advice guide to share their personal experiences of the reality of adopting a child with additional needs.

“What is clear from their advice is that there may be challenges but they are far outweighed by pride, joy and love. And so prospective adopters should not rule themselves out of being able to achieve the same in their own families.

“The voluntary adoption sector are specialists in finding families for children who wait the longest to be adopted and being there for them with bespoke, lifelong packages of support.”

To find out more about adopting with Diagrama visit