New Rochester Riverside Community Board projects announced

New Rochester Riverside Community Board projects announced

The Rochester Riverside Community Board, which oversees funding for community projects across Rochester, has announced six new community projects that it is supporting, marking the full allocation of the £30,000 annual funding budget for 2019.

The new projects include: Jaspers Community Café, located in the Medway Adult Education Centre and run by volunteers; ‘Cooking with the Community’, which has been organised by Chatham Memorial Synagogue to bring people of different faiths together by cooking and sharing food; and the Nucleus Makerspace, a craft space equipped with tools and machinery for metal, wood, plastic and fabric work at the Rochester Conservancy building.

The Community Board is also supporting: ‘We Live By The River’, a creative writing and spoken word project organised by Medway literary arts group Wordsmithery; repairing and developing the playgrounds and outside classroom learning areas of St Margaret’s at Troy Town School in Rochester; and ‘Wave’, an arts club for young people at raised risk of suicide, or self-harm,  organised by Intra Arts Ltd.

Jaspers Community Café is the first of these new projects to launch and provides an opportunity for people with learning difficulties and disabilities to be trained as volunteers within the café.  The café was opened by the Mayor of Medway, Cllr Habib Tejan, on 13th November. 

These community initiatives follow the success of the projects that have already been supported by the Board so far this year, which included the Medway Neuro-Arts Festival as well as a crowdfunded photography project for primary and secondary school pupils.

The Rochester Riverside Community Board was set up to ensure that the benefits of Rochester Riverside, Countryside and Hyde’s £419m regeneration scheme in Medway, are felt across the area, bringing to life worthwhile initiatives and ideas that enhance the local area with an annual budget of £30,000 available for selected projects.

The community board ensures that the community funds will be allocated to local stakeholders and organisations through a robust and transparent application process. While the £30,000 of funding for 2019 has now been fully allocated, applications for 2020 are now open - those interested should apply now by visiting www.rochesterriversidecommunity.com. 

Andy Fancy, Managing Director, Partnerships South (North and South), Countryside, said: “With the first residents now settled at Rochester Riverside, these six new projects will make a further contribution to this great community and we’re excited to see them come to fruition. 

“We are committed to ensuring that the benefits of Rochester Riverside go beyond the destination we are creating, and these community projects are vital in achieving this. Following its launch earlier this year, the Community Board is now gathering real momentum and we’re excited to see what future projects will bring.”

Guy Slocombe, Chief Investment Officer for Hyde, said: “Having been inundated with high-quality applications that demonstrate Rochester’s creativity, we faced a really tough choice. We’re proud of the imaginative and diverse projects that we are supporting, which demonstrates real evidence of community engagement and will help to make Rochester an even better place to live.” 

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 provision for a primary school, nursery, as well as a hotel, parking, open space and landscaping. 

Construction continues at pace across the initial first three phases of the development, which comprises 489 homes, a hotel, as well as 2,200 sqm of commercial floorspace. The new public plaza opened in October 2019, home to a New Travelodge, Co-op and Costa, which followed the first residents moving into their new homes in June this year. 83 one and two-bedroom apartments and three- and four-bedroom homes have now legally completed following the start of construction in 2018.

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