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Firms and council urged to help Folkestone Town Sprucer give the town a bit of a spruce up

By Matt Leclere
Folkestone Town Sprucer Peter Phillips has been cleaning up the town. But long-term funding is still required to secure his work in the future.

Folkestone Town Sprucer Peter Phillips has been cleaning up the town. But long-term funding is still required to secure his work in the future.

You might have seen him around town and wondered who he is. Well, he’s Peter Phillips, the Folkestone Town Sprucer.

The odd job here and there to keep Folkestone looking neat and tidy is his remit. He cleans signs, manages flowerbeds and shrubs, fixes furniture, paints railings and cleans shop fronts.

The project started in May and managed to secure funding for six months.

But a big decision is due tonight (Thursday) when Folkestone Town Council debates whether to provide £10,000 needed for the next year and beyond to secure the long-term future.

“We go around doing just about everything in town,” Mr Phillips said. “I was unemployed for 10 years before this and it’s an excellent job, I absolutely love it.

“We’re inspiring lots of shops to be proud of the area, everybody’s getting on board. Next year we want to launch Folkestone in Bloom.”

The sprucer idea came about through the Bradstone Association residents’ group and was set up by David Taylor, who works with Peter and his team of volunteers, John Barber, Folkestone Town Centre Manager and Emily Ghassempour, from Shepway District Council.

Mr Taylor came up with the idea of a town sprucer after a trip to America. While standing at a bus stop in Seattle with his grandson, Tom, a man cleaned the shelter of graffiti with a cheery: ‘Well that’s spruced up!’ He said: “We were pretty concerned about how grubby things got over the last few years. He does 101 jobs around the town.

“It’s been on a bit of a wing and a prayer so far but I think it’s going to work one way or another, and it’s going to get better and better.”

Mr Taylor says the decision tonight is vital so they can continue campaigning among small businesses and convince the “big boys” to join the cause.

Wilmoths Citroen has donated a van worth £15,000 and Kent Fire and Rescue has contributed £1,500 for equipment.

To request a job and suggest where needs sprucing visit Folkestone Town Sprucer on Facebook.

What do you think about the Town Sprucer scheme? Where do you think needs sprucing? Get in touch. Comment below or email us at kentishexpress@thekmgroup.co.uk

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