Support for cutting edge training

Dozens of Medway residents are learning new skills in carpentry and engineering following support from the Rochester Bridge Trust.

The not-for-profit Octopus Foundation received a grant of £1,500 to help pay for a CNC machine and laser attachment.

The equipment, which has been installed at the organisation’s training workshop on the Medway City Estate, allows for the precision cutting of materials such as wood, plastic and metal to pre-programmed designs. The technology is efficient, accurate, safe-to-use and serves as an introduction to sought-after engineering skills.

Andrew Freeman, Operations & Grants Manager at the Rochester Bridge Trust, said: “CNC machines are an integral part of modern engineering and a popular method of manufacturing in the healthcare, aerospace, automobile, and defence industries.

“This grant not only helps introduce more people to engineering techniques and skills but also supports an organisation that does such good work for the community in Medway.”

Established in 2016, the foundation runs a number of programmes to help people into employment, learn new skills and reduce social isolation. Its work is supported by a range of organisations including Medway Council, Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), Medway Maritime Hospital and Kent & Medway Armed Forces Network.

For example, Octopus runs a 10-week Employability Programme in partnership with the RBLI. Some participants have physical and/or mental health problems, which have impacted on their ability to work; they have particularly benefited from the safe, informal and supportive environment in which the programme is delivered.

The organisation also supports the wider community. Its Cre8 Programme combines group work to build confidence, self-esteem and social skills with the concept of giving something back. A recent project saw participants producing and installing planters in the garden for dementia patients at Medway Maritime Hospital and also carrying out painting and planting there.

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