Rochester in focus as Medway schoolchildren showcase their photographic talent


Sixteen Medway schoolchildren have put their photographic talent on display in a gallery exhibition hosted at the Rochester Riverside marketing suite.

The school pupils took part in a crowdfunded photography project that was supported by Rochester Riverside, Countryside and Hyde’s landmark £419m regeneration scheme on the banks of the River Medway.

Following an official opening event on the 22nd June, the printed photos will be on display in the marketing suite for the following week. Entitled “Love Where You Live”, the exhibition aims to change perceptions of the local area and show Rochester at its best – focusing on three themes; traditionally underappreciated areas, the more familiar sites and the old and the new.

The photographs were taken over five interactive photo walks between April and June 2019 by young people who range in age between 10 and 13 years and who hail from three schools across Medway; Chatham Grammar School for Girls, Delce Academy and Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School.

Rochester Riverside was the primary backer of the project, however it was also supported by 30 other Medway businesses, organisations and residents, as part of a crowdfunding initiative that raised a total of £4,300. These included the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, which is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK, the Rochester Film Society and a number of individual, smaller donations from Rochester residents which helped to get the project off the ground.

The gallery exhibition at Rochester Riverside is not the only venue which is showcasing the students’ talents either, with the Rochester Film Society showing a film of the project on 25 June at the Huguenot Museum.

Andrew Dennis, co-organiser of the project, said: “We’re so happy that we could showcase not only the artistic talents of the young people of Medway through our street photography project, but also the beauty of Rochester. The project has helped young people to look at where they live in a completely different way, allowing them to feel more in touch with their local surroundings and realise that Rochester has so much to offer them as members of the community.

“We’re so thankful to Rochester Riverside, Esmee Fairbairn, the Rochester Film Society and all the other businesses and residents who have made this project possible.”

Paul Sweeney, Community & Customer Services Director, Countryside, commented: “It is vital that people feel connected with the area in which they live, and this project has been so important in engaging the next generation, as well as nurturing some real talent. We were delighted to use our resources to help the project achieve success.

“Following the recent launch of the Medway Neuro-Arts Festival, it’s great to see the momentum that the Community Board is gathering, and we can’t wait to see what future community initiatives emerge.”

Guy Slocombe, Group Business Development Director at Hyde, added: “Rochester is an area renowned for its creativity and ingenuity and we’re extremely proud to have given the next generation of Medway’s artistic talent a platform to shine.”

The community board ensures that the community funds are allocated to local stakeholders and organisations through a robust and transparent application process. Application forms and full criteria will become available on the community website -

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