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Trust Grant Re-launches Seafaring Schools Programme

Thousands of pupils will now get hands-on experience at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham each year thanks to a £3,000 grant from The Rochester Bridge Trust.

The Trust’s community grant has supported the Dockyard’s re-launch of its seafaring-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) schools programme.

The former naval dockyard first launched its STEM programmes, designed to inspire and engage young people, in 2010. During this initial period more than 3,000 primary and secondary pupils have experienced an educational day out at The Historic Dockyard Chatham.

Following The Rochester Bridge Trust’s grant, the programme has been re-launched and expanded. It is now hoped that up to 2,000 students will benefit from the programmes in the first year with an overall goal of engaging approximately 9,000 young people in STEM programmes annually in subsequent years.

Richard Holdsworth, Preservation and Education Director at Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, the independent charitable trust that manages the dockyard, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the Trust. Their grant has had a real impact on our STEM work as it enables us to buy the nuts and bolts that we need to put the programme together. This includes exciting pieces of equipment, such as model lighthouses and cannons, as well as the more everyday purchases, such as batteries, that keep these sessions running on a daily basis.”

“Our STEM sessions provide pupils with an opportunity to take part in interactive, hands-on learning programmes outside the classroom in the truly unique setting of the Chatham Historic Dockyard. How often will they get the chance to explore a range of historic warships before building and testing their own model ship hulls?”

Sue Threader, Bridge Clerk to the Rochester Bridge Trust, said: “We are pleased to be able to support the dockyard’s schools’ programme.

“We have been responsible for the provision of a bridge across the River Medway at Rochester since the end of the 14th century. Therefore, we have a very longstanding interest in encouraging excellence in engineering.

“We are committed to raising awareness among young people about the challenges engineers face and, as pupils progress through the education system, ensuring they are aware of the great career opportunities available to engineers in a wide range of industries.”

For further information about Rochester Bridge Trust grants to community groups promoting education, conservation, or research in the fields of bridge engineering, history, or agriculture in the historic county of Kent, see the application guidelines. The historic county of Kent includes areas administered by Kent County Council, Medway Unitary Authority and the London Boroughs of Greenwich, Bromley, Bexley and Lewisham.


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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