The 2018 Kent Charity Awards finalists


Community Charity of the Year

Catching Lives is an independent charity aimed at supporting the rough sleepers, homeless and vulnerably housed in Canterbury and East Kent; those who have, for many reasons, fallen through the gaps in society and feel they have nowhere else to turn.

Children and Families is a Children’s Charity that operates across Swale and Kent with a specific focus in Sheerness, Sittingbourne and Faversham. They operate many services to offer children and families the best opportunities in life.

Safer Kent gives active support, funding and expertise to local projects that are working to reduce crime or improve community safety. In the last 15 years, the trust has given more than £800,000 to local projects including walking buses, safer shopping schemes, community clean ups and activities for young people.


Children’s Charity of the Year

Dandelion Time restore hope to young lives. They work with children and their families fragmented by trauma, abuse and neglect and provide troubled families with individually focused therapeutic support.

Holding on Letting Go helps children to cope with the death of someone close to them. Often the children have lost their mum, dad, grandparents, a sibling or a friend. Sometimes more than one person in their family has died or there are sudden and traumatic circumstances surrounding the death and since the adults around them are also grieving, these children often feel unable to express their feelings or talk about their loved one or their sadness.

Beanstalk is a literacy charity that recruits, vets, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading. Their vision is a nation of confident children who can read and grow up to lead successful lives.

We Are Beams mission is to provide comprehensive support services to families of children and young people with any form of physical, learning or sensory impairment living in the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley areas.


Supporting Charity of the Year

Rising Sun Domestic Violence & Abuse Service is a local charity in Kent that addresses domestic violence and provides services, for adults, children and families. Through their work they challenge attitudes and beliefs that perpetuate domestic violence and promote healthy and non-abusive relationships.

YouCan Youth Cancer Support offers well-being support to young people in Kent, London and the South East aged between 10 and 30, whose lives have been impacted by cancer both during and after their cancer treatment.

Crossways Community is a Christian charity that provides residential care and support for adults aged 18-65 with acute to moderate mental health issues. Set up during the 1960s, Crossways offers a variety of accommodation to cater for all needs and they also run regular mental health awareness programmes in schools, businesses, churches and community groups in West Kent.

Space 2 Be Me works across west Kent with disabled children and young people with additional needs aged from birth to 25 and their families. They work in partnership with their member families to design all their activities and services so that they can support disabled children, parents and the whole family.


Care Charity of the Year  

Ellenor’s mission is to lead and coordinate the best personalised care for all ages, sharing their expertise to ensure that all families facing terminal illness get the right support in the best place possible, enabling them to make the most of the time they have.

The Kent Autistic Trust has been providing support for individuals on the autism spectrum for over 20 years. Their support services are personalised and specific to each individual and they aim to ensure that each person gets the right balance of support that they need to be as successful as possible in all areas of their life.

Pilgrims Hospices vision for hospice care is that everyone in East Kent should have access to services so they can cope with life-limiting illness with dignity and free from pain. Pilgrims Hospices has been providing end of life care and support for patients and their families across East Kent for more than 30 years.


Voluntary Charity of the Year

Broadstairs Town Team’s, Town Shed is a project from Thanet’s volunteer-run charity. Established in 2013, it has grown to become a well-used and loved community space in Broadstairs. Its primary aim is to help combat loneliness and isolation and encourage and support health and well-being in an often-overlooked group in society.

The Family Trust is a children and young people’s charity based in Maidstone, Medway and Swale and was established in 1986. They are funded entirely by voluntary donations and are the leading provider of practical educational activities to 170 Primary schools in the area.

Compaid has had a clear vision to ensure that disabled people benefit from advances in technology, using it to encourage them to acquire skills, express their creativity and enhance their life opportunities. They do this by delivering tailored digital skills training and practical support to a broad range of people with physical and learning disabilities, as well as those with mental health issues.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust is dedicated to preserving the memory of the men of the Royal Air Force who kept this country safe from invasion in 1940. As well as honouring the aircrew who fought the Battle of Britain, the Trust is dedicated to informing and educating visitors of all ages and keeping alive the story of probably the most important battle fought by this country in the whole of the 20th century.


Animal Charity of the Year

NSARDA Kent (National Search and Rescue Dog Association Kent) train and qualify air scenting search dogs, handlers and dog supports to operate as search dog teams. NSARDA Kent dogs are deployed through Kent Search And Rescue and are used to search for the many different types of missing people such as hill walkers, climbers, the elderly and confused persons that may be living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, those that are despondent, children, and sometimes victims of crime.

The Big Cat Sanctuary works to provide a future for some of the most beautiful and endangered cats in the world at their sanctuary in Kent. They are now recognised as one of Europe’s biggest wildcat centres and their four pillars of ethos are welfare, breeding, conservation & education.

Second Chance Animal Rescue aims to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals that are abandoned, mistreated or neglected. They work to provide opportunities for the public to engage with a variety of animals and learn more about them, with the aim of improving the public’s awareness of animal welfare. Any animal that they are unable to rehome is given a permanent home at their centre as they never put a healthy animal down.


Trustee of the Year

Kerry Millett – Broadstairs Town Team – Kerry’s commitment, innovation, energy and drive in setting up the Broadstairs Town Team volunteer-led initiative project in 2012 deserves recognition. Her dedication to getting the project off the ground and securing funds from the National Lottery People’s Millions and Thanet District Council, has seen Broadstairs come together to do positive things that benefit the community and visitors to the town.

Colin Thacker – YouCan Youth Cancer Support – is passionate about improving the lives of young people in Kent who have had cancer and gets involved in whatever ways he can. YouCan’s aim to buy and refurbish a property on the Kent coast that could be used as a holiday/respite home became a reality because he made it his priority to oversee the every aspect of the project.

Debbie McSwiney – Debbie was one of the founding members of Holding On Letting Go, a charity which helps children to cope with the death of someone close to them. Debbie has recruited, trained and supported many volunteers since the charity began 20 years ago and continues to be dedicated in improving the lives of children who have experienced such a terrible loss.


Volunteer of the Year

Diana Hill – Victim Support – Diana has been volunteering with Victim Support for almost five and a half years and within this timeframe she has helped enable and empower around 200 service users to gain resilience and get their lives back on track following the devastating impacts of crime.

Caroline Williams Jessel – Dandelion Time – Caroline is a truly exceptional volunteer. She has worked tirelessly for the benefit of Dandelion Time for over 15 years, spending an average of 25 hours a week, entirely focussed on fundraising and PR activities for the charity, ultimately for the benefit of vulnerable children and their families who come to Dandelion Time.

Wendy Daws BEM – Kent Association for the Blind – Wendy has been volunteering with Kent Association for the Blind since 2006 when she established the Medway Art Group. The group meet weekly and work on various projects together. Wendy, who is a well-respected local artist in her own right, leads the sessions but often invites other specialists in to lead the group including graffiti artists and textile workers.