Countryside Communities Fund supports Home-Start Adventure Club at The Historic Dockyard Chatham

Chatham Dockyard

Countryside’s community development work in Medway brought two of our partners together this autumn, as The Historic Dockyard Chatham hosted a day out for Home-Start Medway’s ‘Adventure Club’.

The Adventure Club was created by Home-Start Medway, an award-winning charity that works with families who have at least one child under the age of five, through a donation from the Countryside Communities Fund. The Adventure Club has helped families supported by the charity to enjoy a summer of days out, thanks to several local organisations including Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, which opened its doors to The Historic Dockyard Chatham for free to the families.

At The Historic Dockyard Chatham day trip, the children were treated to a Pirate Stew discovery trail (a partnership with Bloomsbury Children’s Books), followed by storytelling onboard the dockyard’s very own pirate ship, HMS Gannet. In the afternoon they enjoyed a messy pirate-themed arts activity, before the winner of the pirate trail was crowned.

This marked the culmination of a summer of Adventure Club trips, which included visits to The Strand at Gillingham, Fort Amhurst in Chatham, Rochester Castle, trampolining, Capstone Park and bowling at the Pentagon Centre.

The Countryside Communities Fund, set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, supports local charities and groups, food banks and others providing essential local services in locations where Countryside operates across the country. The Communities Fund allocated £1m of funds at the end of 2020 and another £1m was pledged by the business in 2021 to continue supporting communities most vulnerable.

Andrew Usher, Managing Director, South London and Thames Gateway, Countryside, said: “The Countryside Communities Fund has played a vital role in supporting local charities and groups over the past two years, and we’re proud to continue that link in Medway through our support of the Home-Start adventure club. Building on our support for the charity last year, we are proud to continue our partnership with Home-Start as they continue making a difference to families across Medway.”

Raz Goodred, C.E.O. at Home-Start Medway, added: The adventure club outings have enabled families to participate in activities that they would not previously have had the confidence, funding or support to access. Parents have really appreciated a fun, funded activity during challenging and difficult times.

“We are very grateful to Countryside for their support and funding which has enabled the adventure club activities to be organised for Medway families, and we hope to continue this partnership into the future.

Lynnette Crisp. Director of Communication and Public Engagement, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, commented: “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Countryside and Home-Start Medway to host the Adventure Club at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. The Dockyard has been at the heart of the Medway community for hundreds of years and through working with partners like Countryside’s community development team and Home-Start Medway we can improve access to our historic estate and its award-winning visitor facilities for the widest possible audiences. We look forward to developing this partnership further.”

Rochester Riverside is the region’s flagship regeneration project, delivered by Countryside and Hyde over 12 years. A new mixed-tenure community of up to 1,400 new homes is being created, along with a new primary school, nursery, hotel, 2.5km river walkway, commercial units, parking, green open spaces, play areas and landscaping.

Countryside has also been appointed to deliver Chatham Interface Land, two sites in Chatham - Brunel and Riverside – that make up an area known as the ‘Interface Land’ and sit within the Chatham Historic Dockyard Conservation Area. Building on Countryside’s historic legacy in this community, the proposed mixed-use development will have the potential to deliver 274 new homes of which 25% will be affordable housing and with over 11,000 sq ft of commercial space.