Community Volunteering at SENSE, Ramsgate

A really lovely community volunteering day came together in July, coordinated by Thanet Volunteer Bureau’s Stronger Kent Community-funded project – Employer Supported Volunteering


Volunteers from Pfizer spent the day at one of SENSE’s homes in Ramsgate to improve the garden area for residents. SENSE supports people who are deafblind, have sensory impairments or complex needs. Last year at a volunteering day, Pfizer staff also assisted Crossroads Care clients in Cliffs End with their garden. Sue, who was the recipient of the volunteering assistance wanted to give something back and came along to SENSE to volunteer too – thank you Sue!

The garden needed clearance and re-planting with herbs and flowers for deafblind residents to smell and touch. Rotten wooden decking was also in need of replacement and Pfizer kindly paid for materials and a skilled member of staff, Graeme Napier, constructed and installed new decking, with the assistance of a retired colleague. Pfizer staff enjoyed the day and felt it was a great team effort, very well-organised, had a great time and enjoyed working as a mixed team of volunteers to achieve a shared goal.

Plants and garden materials were generously donated by Bunnings, Pfizer, Windmill Community Gardens and from Christ Church Junior School in Ramsgate’s Gardening Club.

Everyone came together to make a real difference to the quality of life for SENSE residents. The home manager, Jill Liddle, commented, “Thank you so much for all your hard work, especially on a very hot day. The donations we received were very much appreciated by all. It has made such a difference and all the people we support will love it.”

If this has inspired you and your colleagues to volunteer, then do get in touch and we will find you an enjoyable and fulfilling volunteering task –

Your Charity’s Training Needs


Thanet Volunteer Bureau is working on a project called ‘Skills Exchange’ managed by Funding for All and funded by Stronger Kent Communities where we offer training for Kent charities.

We find volunteers from local employers who are interested in sharing their skills & expertise by hosting and present training sessions to benefit charities and community groups.

We would like to find out what topics your charity or community group would find useful to learn more about, to help us shape future training sessions to better meet your needs.

Please complete a very short online survey here:


Nationwide Volunteer at Kenward Trust – Coordinated by SKC’s Employer Supported Volunteering Service

Kenward Trust, a drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation centre, hosted a group of volunteers from Nationwide Building Society, to help in the Trust’s social enterprise area. The volunteering day was coordinated by Stronger Kent Communities’ Employer Supported Volunteering Service, run by Thanet Volunteer Bureau.

Volunteers from Nationwide Building Society took part in a variety of activities in the social enterprise area at Kenward Trust on 12th March 2018. From upcycling furniture, to painting porcelain. The help that the volunteers provided proved to be invaluable in helping to create items to be sold for the Trust, in their charity shop, Charitique.

Rob Geall, Nationwide Building Society, commented:

We enjoyed the day and were made to feel really welcome. Kenward Trust staff member, Peter Jones, felt there was about £500 worth of finished products the Trust would be able to sell as a result of the work completed. This is a nice result to see something tangible from the day.”

Nationwide is an employer that encourages its staff to volunteer as part of a company scheme and discovered this volunteering opportunity through Stronger Kent Communities’ free Employer Supported Volunteering Service. The service coordinates volunteering tasks for employers and their staff, matching them with local Kent charities.

Sian Williams, Kenward Trust, commented:

We were thrilled to welcome a team of Nationwide workers to Kenward Trust. It was a very successful day and we are extremely appreciative of all the creativity and hard work which went into it. Thank you also to Georgie MacFarlan at Stronger Kent Communities for arranging everything and we hope to welcome more productive groups in the future…there’s always something interesting to do at Kenward and most importantly, this kind of support means the charity can continue its important work helping rebuild the lives of our residents.”

Georgie MacFarlan, TVB’s Volunteer Development Coordinator at Stronger Kent Communities commented:

A big thank you to everyone at the Kenward Trust who hosted volunteers from Nationwide Building Society in Kent. The volunteers worked really hard for this great cause. The charity and business were brought together by Stronger Kent Communities’ Employer Supported Volunteering Service. We found out about the Trust while developing a database of volunteering opportunities to share with employers.”

Kenward Trust has a national reputation for excellence in the field of drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation. Every year they help transform the lives of more than 200 men and women. If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Kenward Trust.

Visit their website: for more information.

Stronger Kent Communities (SKC) is a consortium contracted by Kent County Council in January 2017 to support a thriving and vibrant voluntary sector. We are a Community Interest Company (CIC). Consortium members specialise in: training, mentoring, recruitment of volunteers, networking and collaboration and supporting financial sustainability.

Email: for details of SKC’s Employer Supported Volunteering Service.

Stronger Kent Community Fairs 2018


Upcoming Stronger Kent Community Fairs 2018


Tonbridge & Malling

Saturday 22nd September

The Angel Centre




Wednesday 10th October

Hazlitt Arts Centre – Maidstone



Saturday 13th October

Sevenoaks Leisure Centre (Sencio Leisure Centre)

2pm – 4pm



Friday 14th December

Ashford College

11am – 1pm

Fairs so far 2018

Dartford, Thursday 8th March, The Orchard Theatre, 11am-1pm

Swale, Friday 16th March, The Alexander Centre – Faversham, 11am-1pm

Gravesham, Thursday 22nd March, The Old Town Hall – Gravesend, 11am-1pm

Dover District, Saturday 9th June, The Landmark Centre – Deal, 11.45am-1.45pm

Canterbury, Friday 15th June, Westgate Hall, 11am – 1pm

Thanet, Wednesday 6th June, JD Wetherspoon – Royal Pavillion Ramsgate, 11am-1pm

Shepway, Friday 13th July, Folkestone Quarterhouse, 11am – 1pm

Tunbridge Wells, Saturday 21 July, The Camden Centre, 12noon – 2pm

2018 SKC Fairs March, June and July

What is an SKC Fair?

The Fairs promote and celebrate the voluntary sector. They are an opportunity for local community groups, charities and voluntary sector organisations to:

  • showcase what they do
  • network
  • celebrate their volunteers
  • give out information and advice
  • potentially find new service users, members and volunteers
  • Find out about the SKC offer across Kent, get funding advice, find out about Employer Supported Volunteering, attend a REVAMP (Recognition of Excellent Volunteer Management & Practice) Quality Mark workshop

They are also a chance for local communities to get information and advice, to see what’s happening in their area and how to get involved.

In 2018 where possible, there will be entertainment, activities and tea and coffee.

Who are we?

The Best of Volunteering project is run by Thanet Volunteer Bureau in partnership with Volunteer Centres across Kent as part of the Stronger Kent Communities Programme (SKC) Find us on Twitter @SKCfair and Facebook @SKCfair


SKC is a voluntary sector partnership including Funding for All, Action with Communities in Rural Kent, KentCAN and a number of the Volunteer Centres from across Kent including Thanet Volunteer Centre.  It is funded for at least three years, although it is intended to create a sustainable model of support for the Volunteering Community Sector in Kent in the longer term

 Volunteer Awards and Celebration

We celebrate volunteers at the events with awards/thank you presentations, photoshoots and announcements.

And to top it off in 2018 we will have a volunteer awards celebration in a central location inviting all the people we’ve met at the fairs across the country.

2017 event highlights:

A visual overview of our 2017 Fairs (pdf below)

Best of Volunteering - Volunteers Fairs edit

TVB receive ‘Heart of The Community Winners Award’ 2017

Thanet Volunteer Bureau are delighted to receive the winning award for the Isle of Thanet Gazette’s ‘Heart of the Community’ 2017.

With so many worthy services in the nominations we are truly honoured to receive this recognition.

We would like to thank our many valued volunteers, members of staff, clients, partners and members of the public for their continued dedication and support.  Special thanks go to the Isle of Thanet Gazette, Westwood Cross and London Array for making this award possible.

The awards presentation evening was thoroughly enjoyed by Thanet Volunteer Bureau staff and volunteers.  One of the volunteer’s in attendance has been a volunteer driver with us for an outstanding 26 years, and with 2018 marking our 30th year of service, we aim to continue providing support to the Thanet community for many more.

FREE session: ‘Introduction to Digital Marketing for Charities’ 1st March 2018

Introduction to Digital Marketing for Charities

10am-12pm, 1st March 2018 at Kent Innovation Centre, Broadstairs.

Register FREE

A free session aimed at people working & volunteering in charities and community groups. To understand:

  • Having a digital mindset to gain maximum awareness
  • What is working in digital and social media in 2018
  • Getting people to care and take action

There will also be opportunities to chat with other organisations over tea, coffee & light refreshments.

Kindly delivered free by Business Computer Solutions Ltd.
Organised by Stronger Kent Communities

Register FREE here:

We are in the news!

Well done to our Thanet Community Support Partnership team in this week’s Thanet Extra have highlighting their Your Time social club, befriending and referral services – as well as mentioning how volunteering can be a way to tackle loneliness.

See the Thanet Extra article here

Or read it below:

Following the announcement that Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed a minister for loneliness, we take a look at what one Thanet charity is doing to tackle the issue.

Many Thanet residents are no strangers to the spectre of loneliness.

Last year, a joint report by Co-op and the British Red Cross highlighted parts of the district as being among the top 39 loneliest places to live in Britain.

While loneliness may be prevalent on the isle, there is both help available and opportunity to play a part in helping others who find themselves on their own.

Thanet Volunteer Bureau (TVB) is one charity which takes this twin approach.

TVB project co-ordinator Chris Scutt said: “We run a series of weekly social gatherings across Thanet called Your Time, designed to bring people together.

“They take place on Wednesday afternoons at the Centenary Hall in Ramsgate and Friday afternoons at the Hussar in Garlinge.

“But we are delighted to say we are expanding and setting up a new Your Times in Newington and Birchington.”

As well as social meetings, TVB also runs a befriending scheme called the Good Neighbouring Service which matches its clients with volunteers who can offer good company over a cup of tea, help with shopping, dog walking, light housework or simply a friendly phone call.

Mr Scutt added: “Demand outstrips supply with the service, so we always welcome kind, sociable and talented volunteers to boost our clients’ quality of life.

“The Good Neighbouring Service is such a simple concept but it makes a huge difference to so many older people’s lives in Thanet.”

TVB belongs to a group of community-based organisations called Thanet Community Support Partnership who have come together to improve the health and wellbeing of older people by offering a range of services as diverse as wheelchair loans, befriending, handymen and more.

Mr Scutt said: “We also run a referrals service so that even if we can’t help directly we can link older people to service provided by one of our partner organisations which all helps to combat loneliness and promote inclusion.”

Mr Scutt also points out that loneliness is a difficulty faced increasingly by other age groups and demographics too.

He said: “The Jo Cox Commission report shows that loneliness does not discriminate on grounds of age, but the TVB can help in this respect too by matching people to volunteering opportunities which are tailored made to their circumstances.

“Volunteering within your local community has been proven to boost skills and self-esteem and above all is a great way of meeting new people.

“There’s a real wealth of opportunities locally – from outdoor work to befriending; charity shops to giving advice and information; or even being a trustee of a charity.”

Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch as minister for loneliness, following the release of the cross-party party by the Jo Cox Commission into loneliness, to take the lead on tackling loneliness across the UK.

Miss Crouch, 42, who is already the Government’s Minister for Sport and Civil Society, will be continuing the work started by murdered MP Jo Cox.

The Prime Minister says she is backing a campaign set up in memory of Mrs Cox to tackle loneliness.

To find out more about services offered by the Thanet Volunteer Bureau, call Chris on 01843 609336 or email