Countryside Communities Fund pledges over £16,000 for Medway charities to support those in need

Rochester SMATT Food distribution
  • 10,000 PPE masks worth £8,000 donated to Medway Hospital

  • Funds released to Friends of Wisdom Hospice, Jaspers Community Café, Medway Food Bank, school food distribution initiatives and for training new ‘bereavement listeners’

Rochester PPE donation to Medway Hospital
Rochester PPE donation to Medway Hospital

Countryside, the UK’s leading mixed-tenure developer, has donated over £8,000 from the Countryside Communities Fund to five local charities across Rochester, the location of the Rochester Riverside regeneration scheme that it is delivering in partnership with Hyde. 10,000 masks have also been donated to Medway Hospital, which equated to an additional £8,000.

The Communities Fund has channelled donations through the Kent Community Foundation to two charities, Friends of Wisdom Hospice and Jaspers Community Café. The Wisdom Hospice is the only adult hospice for the areas of Medway and Swale, with the specialist palliative care service partially funded by The Friends.

Jaspers Café was previously supported in its launch with funds from the Rochester Riverside Community Board but was forced to close earlier this year given the current circumstances. The additional funds will support the relaunch of the café, located in the Rochester Community Hub, allowing them to continue providing opportunities for people with learning difficulties and disabilities to be trained as volunteers within the café.

Three food distribution projects in the local area have also been supported by the Countryside Communities Fund, two of which are being run by local schools the Pilgrim School and St Margaret’s at Troy Town Primary School. The funds will enable The Pilgrim School Food Cupboard to purchase a new fridge/freezer and St Margaret’s at Troy Town a new fridge as well as fresh produce. A further donation was given to the Medway Food Bank, allowing them to continue helping local people through the ongoing crisis.

Lastly, the Communities Fund has also funded training for new bereavement listeners in the Parish of Rochester, who will attend the bereavement café in the Rochester Community Hub.

The Countryside Communities Fund, set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is supporting local charities and groups, food banks and others providing essential local services in locations where Countryside operates across the country. Launched in April, the £1m fund has contributed over £750,000.

Andy Fancy, Managing Director, Partnerships North & South London, Countryside, said: “In challenging times like these, we’re determined to do what we can to support organisations in need of extra help. All of these initiatives have been so vital in supporting Rochester in this period and we’re proud to support them through our Communities Fund. Our regeneration in Rochester has been marked by our commitment to the wider area, from the Rochester Riverside Community Board to the community facilities that are being built, and these donations are further proof of this pledge.”

Rochester Riverside is the region’s flagship regeneration project. Delivered by Countryside and Hyde over the next 12 years, it will create a new mixed-tenure community of up to 1,400 new homes with a primary school, nursery, as well as a hotel, commercial units, parking, open space and landscaping.

The development is progressing quickly, with the first residents having moved into their homes in June 2019 following the start of construction in February 2018. The new Travelodge hotel opened in November 2019, followed by the new Co-op and Costa Coffee stores. Later this year, the first affordable homes at the development will complete, with more residents joining this growing and thriving riverside community.