Rochester Riverside brings Christmas cheer to residents at Bellerophon House

Medway Council’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Habib Tejan joined a group of Rochester residents at a Christmas table decoration event held at Bellerophon House last week, organised by Countryside and Hyde, who are delivering Rochester Riverside – the £419m landmark regeneration scheme on the banks of the River Medway.

The event, which hosted residents from Rochester’s extra care scheme, Bellerophon House, was organised to help tackle social isolation, which impacts over nine million people in the UK. Medway Council has prioritised reducing social isolation across the region through the Medway Health and Wellbeing Board, which launched a five-year strategy in 2014 to address loneliness in the community.

The workshop was delivered by Rebecca Mays, an experienced florist for the last 15 years, who demonstrated flower arrangement techniques and offered one-on-one assistance to the residents throughout the day. Each attendee was able to use their new skills to create and take away a Christmas table decoration to share with family and friends during the festive period. Hyde resident, Julie Massey said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed today and I’m very pleased with my table decoration. It’s been lovely to do something creative with some of the other residents.”

As Deputy Mayor and a committed supporter of community engagement, Cllr Habib Tejan was delighted to attend the event, where he was able to speak to Bellerophon House residents and even pick up a few decorating tips himself.

Councillor Habib Tejan, Deputy Mayor of Medway, said: “This has been a fantastic community led event. There is a lot of isolation at this time of year so it’s great to see everyone coming together to socialise and learn a new skill.”

The event was organised by Countryside and Hyde, who are delivering Rochester Riverside - a £419m regeneration scheme which will provide 1,400 new homes across four distinctive neighbourhoods. The development will also deliver a new primary school, retail space, a hotel and ten acres of green space.

Susan Saunders, Community Liaison Officer at Countryside, said: “We’re delighted with how the afternoon went. Everyone had a really enjoyable time and can take away some new skills. There’s a worrying number of people suffering from social isolation in the UK, especially at this time of the year, when loneliness can feel so much more acute. I am thrilled that today’s event helped to bring these residents together, and some of the attendees have already arranged to meet up again, which is wonderful to hear.”

Tony Morgan, Head of Housing for the Hyde Group said: “Our residents and the local community were brought together and enjoyed an afternoon of creativity, thanks to our partnership with Countryside. It’s great that we are able to provide initiatives like this for our residents and we look forward to doing more in the future.”

Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adults’ Services, said: “Thank you to the developers of Rochester Riverside, our flagship development site, for supporting Medway’s efforts to address social isolation. This time of year can feel especially lonely for some and initiatives like Countryside and Hyde’s help bring communities together.

“The council also organises different activities across Medway to give people the opportunity of meeting new friends. I would encourage residents to find out more about what is on offer in their local communities, and to check on elderly neighbours and relatives this festive season to ensure they have everything they need.”

Story posted: 14/12/2018

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