Countryside Communities Fund pledges £10,000 for Medway charity projects

‘Ebb & Flow’ is a major new festival for Medway organised by not-for-profit creative organisations Sun Pier House CIC and Intra Arts. A high-profile project commissioned by Creative Estuary, the Ebb and Flow festival will celebrate an often-overlooked part of the Medway Towns called ‘Chatham Intra’, which lies between Rochester and Chatham. The £5,000 donation will fund the following activities at the festival; heritage walks​ in person with local historian Robert Flood, community co-created ​sailing barge pennants ​to be flown from vessels at Sun Pier, community activities to create ​street decorations​ that reference the area’s heritage, a ​Victorian photographic studio experience​, and a collection of ​oral history, photographs and memories​ of the area.

Countryside is also supporting ‘Make It Together’, an online cookery project organised by Home-Start Medway that aims to be a fun way of making new friends. The project involves groups of six families joining four weekly online cookery sessions, with the recipes, videos and bag of ingredients directly delivered to participants. A Home-Start Medway member of staff will also join each online session to encourage and support participation. Through ‘Make It Together’, the charity will target young families, including Army families, in order to foster community cohesion. The Countryside Communities Fund, set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, is supporting local charities and groups, food banks and others providing essential local services in locations where Countryside operates across the country. The Communities Fund allocated £1m of funds at the end of 2020 and another £1m has been pledged by the business in 2021 to continue supporting communities most vulnerable.  

This funding follows £16,000 of donations that were made in 2020 from the Countryside Communities Fund to several Medway charities; the Friends of Wisdom Hospice, Jaspers Community Café, Medway Food Bank, food distribution initiatives at the Pilgrim School and St Margaret’s at Troy Town Primary School, as well as funding training for new ‘bereavement listeners’. Lastly, a donation of 10,000 PPE masks worth £8,000 was made to Medway Hospital.

Andrew Usher, Managing Director, Partnerships South London, Countryside, said: “As we continue to face challenges of the pandemic this year, we are determined to do what we can to support Medway. Through our Communities Fund we’re proud to support Ebb & Flow and Make It Together, which will help to tackle loneliness and isolation, improve community cohesion, and also provide something to look forward to later this year. We don’t just build homes, we actively contribute to the communities we operate in, and these donations are further proof of this commitment.”

Xtina Lamb, director of Intra Arts and Ebb and Flow organiser, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Countryside and thank them for helping us to bring the fascinating stories of this culturally rich area to wider attention. We're looking forward to exploring the past, present and future of our high street and invite local residents to join us to celebrate hidden histories in creative ways.”

Sarah Powley, C.E.O. at Home-Start Medway, added: “We would like to thank Countryside for funding our continuing work to support families with young children and helping to make a real difference for our community in Medway during challenging times.”

Rochester Riverside is the region’s flagship regeneration project, delivered by Countryside and Hyde over 12 years. A new mixed-tenure community of up to 1,400 new homes is being created, along with a new primary school, nursery, hotel, 2.5km river walkway, commercial units, parking, green open spaces, play areas and landscaping.

Story posted: 3/02/2021

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