£20,000 of funding announced for five new projects from Rochester Riverside Community Board

Rochester community event

The Rochester Riverside Community Board, which oversees funding for community projects across Rochester on behalf of Countryside and Hyde, has announced more than £20,000 of funding for five new projects at its first meeting of 2022.

Following a high standard of applications, five projects have been selected which support diversity, creativity, healthy weight and young people, sport, and community safety. Of these five projects being supported are three free events taking place in Medway later this year; Medway Pride 2022, the Medway Open Studios Festival and BUP Festival.

The Medway Open Studios Festival will run from Saturday 2nd to Sunday 10th July, and offers visitors the chance to explore the hidden creative workspaces and secret studios across Medway. Along the free trail, participants can take part in art activities and events, view exhibitions, talk to the artists, buy art and crafts, and see first-hand the array of artistic talent and opportunities in this impressively creative area of Kent.

Taking place on Saturday 20th August at Rochester Castle, Medway Pride 2022 is a festival with stage-based entertainment for all the family that brings everyone across Medway together to promote equality and to celebrate alongside the LGBTQIA+ community.

Organised by D-Live! Theatre, the BUP Festival will be the first ever creative, Deaf-led, British Sign Language-inclusive weekend arts festival in Medway. Taking place on 1st and 2nd October at Sun Pier House in Chatham, BUP Festival will encourage and promote literacy among deaf children and their families, raising awareness, promoting understanding, and reducing the social isolation young people may experience within the deaf community.

Also being supported are two projects that promote activity to young people; ‘Kick and Connect’ and new playground equipment for St Peter’s Infant School in Rochester.

The Rochester Riverside Community Board is supporting the improvement of the Early Years outside area at St Peter’s with new resources and equipment that promotes both physical and collaborative play, through a new AstroTurf surface that allows children to access the garden area, in addition to a sheltered sand pit, builder’s bench, play cottage and more.

‘Kick and Connect’ is a project that will provide multi-sport and youth work activity across two weekly sessions at Jackson’s Field in Rochester, starting with football and boxing. Organised by Sport On Your Doorstep, a community interest company that delivers sport and physical activity in the heart of Kent's most under-resourced communities, a festival that brings together the community at Jackson’s Field will also be held as part of the project.

The Rochester Riverside Community Board was set up to spread the benefits of Countryside and Hyde’s £419m regeneration scheme across Medway through an annual budget of £30,000 to support worthwhile community-led projects. In operation since March 2019, the Board has funded 27 separate social, economic and environmental community initiatives, from playground improvements at St Margaret’s at Troy Town primary school to the Medway Neuro-Arts Festival, leaving a successful legacy across the community.

Andrew Usher, Managing Director, South London and Thames Gateway, Countryside, commented:We are really excited by what these new projects supported by the Rochester Riverside Community Board will bring to the area. From the diverse festivals to the initiatives supporting Medway’s young people, these worthwhile projects will make a real difference in Medway, ensuring that the benefits of our flagship regeneration scheme stretch far beyond Rochester Riverside.

Guy Slocombe, Chief Investment Officer at Hyde, said: “We received so many high-quality applications and we’re proud to support these five imaginative and diverse projects. They really demonstrate community engagement and will help to make Rochester an even better place to live. Applications are still open for projects taking place in 2022 and 2023, so it’s not too late to apply to have your idea supported.”

The Community Board ensures that the community funds will be allocated to local stakeholders and organisations through a robust and transparent application process. Funding applications for 2022 remain open - those interested should contact [email protected].

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