Best of Volunteering

Stronger Kent Community Fairs (3)

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 (Senico 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 and June

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

Sevenoaks Volunteers Fair

Thursday 14th December – The Plaza (The Stag Theatre) – festive volunteers fair with mince pies and mulled wine and “moving on donations” for homelessness charity The Bridge Trust.

Ashford Volunteers Fair

Generously sponsored by Stanhope Plc and Lendlease. For a visual report of the event view the pdf below.

Stanhope and Lendlease report

Folkestone Volunteers Fair

Pix from SKC volunteer champion Gary


Our Folkestone Event for National Volunteers Week saw 30 Stalls filling two rooms at Shepway Volunteer Centre representing youth and older people’s projects, criminal justice, advice & advocacy, history, learning disabilities, health & wellbeing.

Thank you to our Best of Volunteering French interns Caroline and Coralie for helping in the run up to the event and on the day. Thanks also to Stronger Kent Communities Volunteer Champions Gary Marsh and Ray White for photographing the event (Gary) and flyering in the neighbourhood to publicise the event (Ray).

Promotion included flyers around town and through 1,250 letterboxes, a mix of flyers in school book bags, an article in the Folkestone Herald, appearing on Folkestone Academy FM radio, and online listings and through the job centre, East Kent College and Folkestone Town Council.


“Wonderfully set out, amazing event, feel honoured to be part of this…”

“Good hospitality, helpful organisers, very friendly.”

“We have had enquiries of all ages which has been beneficial for us and particularly in volunteer fundraising which doesn’t normally happen.”

“Great opportunity to network and learn about the other agencies.”

“Positive, motivational, educational and uplifting and fun – thank you.”

Please see our National Volunteers Week post of volunteer stories from East Kent Sands, Kent MS Therapy and Shepway Citizens Advice Bureau from the event.

Dartford Volunteers Fair

Venue generously sponsored by The Priory Shopping Centre in Dartford and pictures brilliantly taken by the centre manager Shelley.

31 stalls, a networking visit from Kent Community Foundation offering funding to groups and a busy Market Day in Dartford.

Thank you for helping make this event possible:

The Priory Shopping Centre for donating the venue and taking such wonderful photographs and thanks to The Net Church and Spital Street Methodist Church for donating the trestle tables. Thanks to Dartford Living Magazine for sponsoring our flyers and for the editorial in May’s issue.


“We thought it was a really good event and had a lovely day. We had quite a few people interested and I got their emails and have written to them so hopefully we will get some volunteers from this event.” Pamjit Ellenor.

“We felt Dartford Volunteers Fair was well worth us attending. We find this area quite tricky to recruit in and we had some positive conversations with people who we feel could go on to apply on our website. There were three possible quality volunteers which is great.” Kate Beanstalk Kent

“We had to replenish our stall with leaflets -we were busy! Loads of chat and enquiries about volunteering in the centre and the community.” Age UK North West Kent

“We’ve had one nursing home asking for our services and one definite volunteer – he’s coming in tomorrow!!! Four or Five organisations want us to give talks to their clients and people here are interested in sending clients to us.” Wellbeing Link

“Great for networking with other organisations and for explaining Mind services” North Kent Mind

“Gained referrals for services and one keen volunteer. Two other possible volunteers interested.” Kent Young Carers

“Very well organised and a great opportunity to raise our profile and plant some seeds for recruiting volunteers” Jen Crossroads Care Kent

“Fantastic Event – thank you!”- Kent Adult Education

“Great event!” – Making Miracles

“We got quite a few people interested – 15 email addresses and possibly a few people interested in using our service. It was very worthwhile. A lot of people wanted to talk and take a leaflet. We gave out an awful lot of leaflets!” Diana Victim Support

“We have two people interested in volunteering already, 1 person has made an appointment to come and talk to us – and all by 9.30am!!!!” Berni North West Kent Volunteer Centre

Volunteers at the event:

Kathy, aka The Soup Queen, has volunteered for the Healthy Living Centre’s community cafe for 7 years, she runs a woman’s knit and knatter group and is vice-chair of the Residents Committee for Dartford. She was facepainting at the event.

“I volunteered as soon as I retired. A lot of people in our community need help. I was bored at home and volunteering is a way of giving back to the community I love – I want to make it as nice as possible.”

Carol (pictured second from right) is a shop manager for Ellenor:

“I started as a volunteer at Ellenor so I know volunteering is a great route into work and for boosting people’s confidence. I have a volunteer in my shop who came in with no skills and now does all the behind the scenes stuff and opens the shop. I’ve seen her change from someone shy and unconfident to applying for jobs. She’s made a huge difference at Ellenor.”

Diana (pictured left) has volunteered for Victim Support for 4 years and supports people who have been victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence among others:

“We don’t do counselling but we give a listening ear and help with coping mechanisms. It’s so rewarding when I see someone recovering and getting their life back. We’re there for someone until they decide they don’t need us anymore.”

Dartford WI runs a lunch club, collects for the Trussell Trust foodbanks and supports the women’s refuge, it’s a social group and educational institute:

“I’m a late mum and we’re finding a lot of late mums and young professional women are joining. I think it’s to find a network of people and get more involved in the community. For me, I lived in Dartford but worked in London and that was where my life was. Through the WI I’ve done horticultural courses and we share allotment tips and seed potatoes and plug plants for our summer show.”


All Directions volunteer Chris (left) whose son Craig (middle) is an All Directions service user and a volunteer mentor at the group:

“I just can’t stay away. It’s such a wonderful bunch of young adults, you get attached, and it’s better than staring at four walls. I even do maintenance and painting when it’s closed.”

Thanet Volunteers Fair

Thanks to Jez Hulme from Thanet Stories for making a great audio recording from Thanet Volunteers Fair. Listen by clicking HERE

Visitor Feedback:

“Very helpful people to talk to and I’m leaving feeling far more positive that I can be useful! :-)”

“I’ve chatted to people and got to know what they do. I’ve collected lots of leaflets – lots of bedtime reading! Definitely worth coming!” – Ellen

“Very useful, very uplifting and inspiring. So many lovely caring people!”

“Thanks for organising such a great event – found some amazing organisations within my field of competence.” – Isabele

“Great to have so many organisations in one place. Well done.”

“Great idea, lots of information which is helpful. Great chatting with people.”

“I was worried I couldn’t volunteer, but coming here today, I’ve found two stalls that interest me. Macmillan EK – because I had cancer and was helped by Macmillan so I’d love to do something to help someone else – I’d chat about what’s on the TV and get away from cancer – that’s what I’d have wanted – normal day to day things.” – Clare, 68.

Feedback from organisations:

“Thank you for a fantastic opportunity to link in with other local organisations and attract volunteers.” – Oasis Domestic Abuse Service

“Fantastic Event.” – Disability Drop In Centre

“Thank you for such a well organised event – we really appreciate the opportunity to participate.” – Churches Conservation Trust

“Really good interaction with other groups – so very useful.” – Thanet Lions Club

“Very good venue for – parking, atmosphere/buzz, access, facilities.” – Macmillan EK

“Well organised, great opportunity for us.” – Beanstalk

“Many thanks – a very valuable time.” – St Augustine’s Ramsgate

“Thank you – great networking!” British Red Cross

“Great atmosphere from everyone, thoroughly enjoyed the event.” – Hugin Viking FC

“Nice to see what other organisations are doing in the community. Good for networking. Smoothly run.” – Thanet Coast Project

“Good atmosphere, lovely to have the mayor giving awards. Well organised.” – Motor Neurone Disease Association

“Organised by a friendly and enthusiastic team!”

This event was made possible by Grosvenor Casino donating the space, refreshments and tables and Cllr Karen Constantine by funding 5,000 flyers – Thank you very much indeed.