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Right Reverend James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, sees work by the YMCA Thames Gateway in Dartford

A bishop has been to see some of the work going on to help youngsters in Dartford.

The Right Reverend James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, at The Roundhouse in Dartford

The Right Reverend James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, visited The Roundhouse in Dartford to see the work being done by YMCA Thames Gateway.

The centre has been helping young people in the Dartford area for more than 130 years, and now offers emergency, supported and general needs housing, childcare and youth activities.

The original YMCA building in East Hill was dedicated by the Bishop of Rochester in January 1929.

Bishop James praised the YMCA’s approach and close working with partner organisations who also offer services to young people in order to widen their experiences and improve their lives.

He said: “Dartford is an area undergoing much change. It is reassuring to see the efforts being put into making the town a place where young people can feel confident in taking their first steps towards living as responsible citizens.”

One of the projects has seen youngsters discover their green fingers.

After one of the parents at the YMCA Oakfield Children’s Centre mentioned he was involved with a local allotments scheme, the supervisor thought it would offer a good opportunity for the children.

Spokesman Jan Finlay said: “The children have chosen, bought and planted their seed.

“They have now transferred the plants to the allotment patch that they have grown in pots. The children have grown some funny shape potatoes and are growing tomatoes, beans, onions parsnips and carrots.

“The children have been going to the allotment every week and every child is given the opportunity to see their plants grow; children are involved in every stage of the process from seed planting to the harvesting and they are also able to enjoy the taste of the food that they have grown themselves.

“This project has helped young children understand where their food comes from and the growth cycle. This project would not have been possible without the support from the community at the allotments and has highlighted what can be achieved when people are working together in their local communities.”

The allotments are run by the local community on the Tree Estate and they kindly cleared a patch so that the children could start their project.

If you are interested in finding out more about the work at YMCA Thames Gateway, please contact Jan Finlay on 01322 282039.

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