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Rochester Bridge Trust Community Grants Inspire Young Engineers and Conserve Historic Buildings

The Bridge Clerk Sue Threader announced today the distribution of just under £25,000 in Rochester Bridge Trust Community Grants to inspire young Kent engineers and scientists and to repair significant features in some of the county’s most historic buildings.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham is set to receive £3,000 towards the cost of equipment for a science and engineering programme for schools. Ashford School will be given £2,000 to spend on robotic engineering kits for a new science and engineering society.

Pupils at Brompton-Westbrook Primary School are to benefit from £2,600 towards the cost of equipment for a new science and technology club. Meanwhile, £2,500 is going to help equip a new construction fun club at Wouldham All Saints Primary School.

Two new Bridge Wardens’ scholarships have been awarded through the Arkwright Scholarships Trust to support the sixth form studies of two local students planning to study civil engineering at university. The grants will provide opportunities for these Arkwright Scholars to learn more outside the classroom about the engineering industry.

The Trust’s community grant awards for 2012-13 also include grants worth more than £9,000 towards the costs of conserving valued features in key historic buildings. Projects to benefit are repairs to a 13th-century window at St Mary the Virgin, Chiddingstone; a Grade 1 listed doorway at All Saints Church, Graveney; and Grade 1 listed windows at Pugin’s St Augustine’s Church, Ramsgate, and St Martin of Tours Church, Detling. A further £2,000 is being made available to the Friends of Eastgate House, Rochester, to investigate a newly discovered 16th-century mural. In addition, a grant of £1,500 is being made to the New Medway Steam Packet Co. Ltd to assist with restoration of the bow rudder of the Medway Queen.

The Rochester Bridge Trust has also pledged to continue its financial support to the Royal Engineers Museum for its annual Bridge Building Competition for local primary schools next March. Grants have already been made for the Universities at Medway Boat Race as well as the annual Gravesend and Rochester Ploughing Match.

Mrs Threader said: “Careful management of our endowments, dating from the late 14th century, means that the Trust continues to be in a position to meet its duty to provide a bridge over the River Medway at Rochester in perpetuity at no cost to the public. Fortunately, we are also currently able to support some local causes that meet the key criteria of the Trust’s community grants programme.”

The Trust plans to offer a new grant programme in Spring 2013, and further details will be available on the website in the New Year.


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.

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