Kenward Trust

Kenward Trust is a charity providing alcohol and substance misuse and addiction rehabilitation and recovery services for men and women in locations in Kent and East Sussex.

2018 will also mark Kenward's 50th Anniversary. Planning is underway for a number of special events to mark this milestone achievement.

The Trust has a national reputation offering people the opportunity to change their lives and reach their full potential, supporting more than 200 men and women every year.

Our team of experienced, dedicated and caring professionals, provide personalised interventions and one-to-one support across a number of projects and sites, addressing alcohol and substance dependence. Our work also engages with young people, families, employers and other agencies across the community to educate, inform and advise on all matters related to the causes and consequences of alcohol and substance dependence.

Making Miracles

Making Miracles provide support to bereaved and traumatised parents through its professional counselling team and access to a memorial at the Baby Memorial Garden for those following a miscarriage or stillbirth.

The organisation offers women with high risk pregnancies and babies the counselling and nonprofessional support though the online forum or one of its Buddy team members.

Making Miracles help Fetal Medicine Units purchase specialist and high-tech equipment that the NHS does not have a statutory duty to provide.

Making Miracles was created following the experience of founder Kelly Wells who suffered from a high risk pregnancy and a premature baby. Whilst the baby did not die she was left in limbo for 12 weeks waiting for this to happen after being given a 15 per cent chance of her daughter’s survival. She felt she had not had sufficient emotional support and her mental health was at risk so Kelly created the charity to help support others affected by the same issues.

Slide Away

Slide Away offers support to children and young people who have been bereaved or who are living with a family member with a terminal illness. For those children anticipating the death of a family member, Slide Away provides a regular Saturday morning group session and special days out.

For children who have been bereaved the organisation provides workshops where, dependant on the age of the child or young person, a range of activities is offered to help them tell their story, recognise their feelings, hold onto their memories and find ways of coping on difficult days, especially anniversaries.

Slide Away recognises the importance of supporting adults in the child’s life understand how grief can affect a child or young person and, for this reason, it provides a half day workshop to parents and carers and visit schools to train an identified member of staff who has volunteered to be a School Bereavement Contact.

Information from the National Children’s Bureau estimates that 510 parents die each year in Kent leaving 890 dependent children between the ages of 0-17 years. Figures from the same source estimated that in 2015 there were 5750 of the school age population in Kent who had been bereaved of a parent or sibling. Bereavement can impact on a child’s behaviour, learning potential and peer relationships. Feedback from parents and schools indicates that an intervention from Slide Away has a positive impact.

More than Words

More than Words provide free Makaton sign language training to parents and carers of disabled children with speech difficulties. The organisation also run regular sing and sign groups.

So far this year it has held training courses for 120 parents and carers of disabled children with communication difficulties.

As a very small team with just one part-time paid member of staff and five volunteers it works hard to both raise funds and provide much-needed support to an often-overlooked group in society.

Winning Charity of the Year would not only help with allowing it the resources to put on more training and events but would also help us to raise the profile of the charity so that more families in need across Kent could get access to the support they need to help their children find a way to communicate.

More than Words has a fantastic following of supporters but believes being picked as KM Charity of the Year will help to raise its profile and reach out to many more families in need.

Royal British Legion Industries

Royal British Legion Industries was founded at the end of the First World War to support soldiers who were injured, or sick with tuberculosis. From the very beginning it has always had a focus on employment and helping people build a second life and regain their independence.

Today, its purpose is still to support veterans to re-integrate back into society and maintain their independence.

The organisation recognises that the men and women who have served in the armed forces have diverse skills and qualities. It provides support to transfer those skills into the civilian workplace and offer assistance in gaining, and keeping, their independence through new careers outside of the military. Three distinct programmes are offered: LifeWorks to tackle employability; RBLI Village to provide accommodation and STEP-IN to tackle health and wellbeing approach.

The charity believes winning this partnership with Kent Messenger would be transformational. It would help to raise the profile of its services for veterans and their families who are going through incredibly difficult times.

Maidstone and Mid Kent Mind

Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind was established in 1969 to support people with mental health problems. It offers a range of long-term solutions and services to anyone with a mental health problem or those in need of support in developing coping strategies to maintain good health and wellbeing.

The organisation provides informal, discreet and accessible support for people suffering from mental and emotional distress and provide services that improve mental, physical and economic wellbeing.

It works with people to assist them in coping with life and focus on dealing positively with depression, anxiety, stress, self-esteem, anger and assertiveness. Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind deliver projects, courses and counselling from its base in Maidstone.

It is developing more work with children and young people across Kent and are working in many schools and colleges, supporting young people and the staff that work with them. This work is essential in raising awareness amongst the younger generations, so that it can tackle mental health stigma and reach youngsters at an early age, helping them develop life-long coping strategies.

Heart of Kent Hospice

The Heart of Kent Hospice cares for people with a terminal illness in the local community. Whether at home, or in its Aylesford-based Hospice, it supports patients, their families and carers to come to terms with their diagnosis, and are privileged to support patients to live in comfort, with independence and dignity through their illness and to the end of their lives.

The hospice provides community outreach, a 10 bed in-patient unit, an outpatient centre asa well as family services.

Since 2014 there has been a 200 per cent increase in the number of patients supported. Last year the hospice cared for more than 1,300 patients and their families. At any one time it supports more than 500 patients.

The hospice aims to dispel the negative stigma that goes with hospice care and has created a friendly environment filled with hope, life and love. If it is selected to become KM Charity of the Year it hopes that more people will understand how the hospice supports the community.

Claire Whybrew from the hospice said: “Together, we believe that we can create a strong united message, raising awareness of the work of the hospice and helping more people who need it most.”

Stroke Association

Stroke Association are the leading charity in the UK aiming to provide a Life After Stroke for those that suffer the devastating impact of a stroke. It is not only here for the stroke survivor but the family, friends and carers of those having suffered a stroke.

Although it is a national charity the money raised locally is used to provide services in the county.

On a local level it has five Stroke Groups, Including Turkey Mill Stroke Choir and Art Group. Stroke Groups provide those caring for stroke survivors with much needed respite, whilst providing a life line to many survivors. They offer friendship in a compassionate, safe environment and grow the confidence and independence of stroke survivors.

Last year in Kent 845 people were referred to the organisation. Without the support of the public in Kent its services would be at risk and may face closure in the future.

Winning KM Charity of the Year status would be fantastic news for the Stroke Association and the stroke survivors currently accessing its Maidstone services. The organisation believes that with KM support it can raise more awareness on the impact of stroke, raise more funds to benefit local stroke survivors and host more accessible events, like its Step Out for Stroke walk.

Maidstone Hospital League of Friends

All of the profit generated from the League of Friends events is invested directly back to Maidstone hospital. This is used for equipment that the wards have asked for. The charity is run seven days a week purely with the support of volunteers.

The organisation stages quiz nights twice a year and during December it has cake sales a tombola and bric-a-brac stalls.

Jacqui Featherstone from the League of Friends said: “We have donated equipment valued at over £200,000 this year to Maidstone hospital. We have got volunteers and their families wanting to take part and raise sponsorship for our events so the future is very positive.”

“As a manager I am extremely proud of every single volunteer that help us continue our successful support of Maidstone hospital. We have volunteers that come in every week that are over 90 years young and put to shame some of the younger volunteers with their endless energy.”

Kent Association for the Blind

Over the past 97 years, Kent Association for the Blind has supported visually impaired people to live independent lives. It has developed a wide variety of specialist services and is the only local, sight loss charity in Kent. All the money donated to KAB stays in the region. Its head office is based in Maidstone and has a designated team supporting residents locally.

Right from the point of diagnosis KAB, is there to support people with sight loss and their family. It offers a tailored service which reflects each client's needs and priorities. At Maidstone Hospital its Eye Clinic Liaison Officer Fran is available to offer emotional support and immediate practical advice at what can be a very upsetting and daunting time. From there the team of four rehabilitation workers provide a range of training to those living in the Maidstone area

Overcoming isolation is key. It has seven clubs in the Maidstone area which offer a programme of events throughout the year from coffee mornings to photography workshops. Its Children’s Workers also run a dedicated programme of events for children and families. Digital talking news for the Maidstone district is recorded locally.

Amy Van der Weide from KAB said: “Every 15 minutes in the UK someone starts to lose their sight and we want to make sure we are there for everyone who needs us.”

Blackthorn Trust

The Blackthorn Trust is a supportive therapeutic environment in which people can recover, grow and develop. Founded over 30 years ago by Dr David McGavin, it offers medical care, specialist therapies and rehabilitation at its unique facilities near Maidstone, which includes the Blackthorn Medical Centre, a large biodynamic garden, a vegetarian café and kitchen, craft studios and therapy rooms.

The organisation’s work is based on the belief that more than medication is required to affect positive change in people: namely community, meaningful work, therapeutic and peer support, and daily routine.

It uses its person-centred approach to help people who are at points of crisis in their lives, suffering from physical and mental illness, as well as learning difficulties. It provides a programme for people with chronic pain conditions and who have not responded to hospital and pain clinic interventions.

Increased profile would benefit the service provided for mental health, where funding has been significantly stripped away in recent years. The charity considers itself to be a key provider for people suffering with mental health difficulties.

Wellbeing Centre Project - Maidstone

Winning would mean everything. It would allow Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust to take forward a major project to build a brand new Cancer Health and Wellbeing Centre for patients and their families and carers, to provide vital support, at all stages, for anybody affected by cancer.

It will offer vocational rehabilitation, support groups, complementary therapies, mindfulness sessions, survivorship and recovery programmes, and a central information point for all.

Gianna Pollero-Payne from the centre said: “It’s certainly no secret that recent times have been particularly challenging for the NHS as a whole. At a time when funds are so stretched in our national health service, it would be wonderful to be named KM Charity of the Year and support to help take forward a project which will mean so much to so many people living across the entire county.

“Unfortunately, cancer touches so many people in some way or another, either directly or indirectly, anything we can do to make our patients’ journeys that little bit less stressful would, in our eyes, be an invaluable enhancement to the top quality service we are already proud to provide.”

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