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Green Shoots of Recovery for Young People at Risk

A Rochester Bridge Trust community grant is helping a leading Kent charity to support young adults at risk by improving their quality of life at one of its residential centres.

Last year Rochester Bridge Trust, one of the oldest charities in the country, made a £3,000 community grant to the Kenward Trust to assist with the construction of a garden at its Lighthouse Project in Margate.

The Trust’s grant meant that work could start on creating a new garden at the Lighthouse Project’s two adjoining Victorian houses in Margate. Additionally, it provided the opportunity for the Kenward Trust to raise a further £6,500 from other local grant making trusts, businesses and philanthropists. The newly fenced garden will include areas for relaxing outside plus raised beds and a greenhouse so that residents can grow and plant vegetables, herbs and flowers.

The Lighthouse Project provides a home for 23 young men and women aged between 16 and 25 years from Thanet who have experienced chaotic lives, often at risk of drug or alcohol addiction, with little or no family support network. The home offers residents a safe base from where they can learn essential life skills, find further education opportunities, and receive help with tackling their problems.

Sheena Brown, Kenward Trust fundraising manager, said:

“We had wanted for a long time to replace our two concrete back yards and create a large garden for our young people. The grant from Rochester Bridge Trust made this a real possibility and, as a result, this project has gone from strength to strength. Our Lighthouse residents have demonstrated their commitment to growing their own vegetables by assisting with a local allotment project. This summer they will be using that experience to start planting their own new garden and enjoying cooking the produce they have grown themselves.”

Sue Threader, Bridge Clerk for the Trust, said:

“We were delighted to support this worthwhile project and to hear that it is proving so successful.”

The Trust has been responsible for providing bridges across the River Medway at Rochester at no cost to the public since the end of the 14th century. During the past 20 years, the Trust has also made capital grants worth more than £4,903,000 to Kent and Medway churches, schools, hospitals, universities, scout associations and other community groups.

The Trust is currently requesting applications from charitable organisations for its 2011 Community Grants. These grants, of up to £4,000, will be awarded to projects associated with the use and history of the River Medway; local historic building conservation; education and research into the history of Kent; education in the field of engineering, and constructive and educational activities for children and young people with severe disabilities or living in deprived circumstances.

Notes to editors:

1. The Rochester Bridge Trust is a charitable trust that exists to maintain the old and new bridges at Rochester and serve the travelling public. It is the only surviving bridge trust still serving its original purpose and it has served the people of Kent since 1399. The Trust also supports numerous community and education projects across historic Kent and Medway.

2. The Trust’s assets all derive from endowments of land and money in the 14th and 15th centuries and are carefully managed in order to provide an income to fund bridge maintenance and local charitable grants. The Trust receives no external funding and is regulated by the Charity Commission.

For more information:

The Rochester Bridge Trust
5 Esplanade
Kent ME1 1QE
Tel: 01634 846706
Fax: 01634 840125

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