The Rainbow Centre scoops Kent Charity of the Year 2022 accolade
On Thursday 8th September, as our Kent Charity Award finalists gathered to be recognized for their incredible work in our great county, news broke of the sad death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Our host for the evening, Sangeeta Bhabra delivered the news to the 260 assembled guests and 2 minutes silence was observed ahead of the awards ceremony. There was an air of solemnity as those in the room took in the news, but it was felt it was important to continue to honour the charities, trustees and volunteers who do so much to make the lives of others better in Kent.
In a room full of wonderful charities, The Rainbow Centre in Folkestone, was crowned Kent Charity of the Year 2022.
This was the 7th Kent Charity Awards and the setting for this year’s awards was the beautiful Pilkington Building at the University of Greenwich, Medway Campus,
The award organisers and judges were staggered and delighted by the volume and great diversity of charities who entered this year’s awards. The quality of entries from large and small organisations from all corners of the county gets higher each year, making the selection process a huge challenge for the judges.
The judges said of our overall winners, The Rainbow Centre, “The charity operates in an area of Kent with high deprivation. It relies on a large network of volunteers. Following Covid they have had to rebuild the number of volunteers, appointing a volunteer coordinator to support the team. Over the years the services provided have developed in response to perceived needs. They continue to develop packages to help beneficiaries to move forward”.
Dr. Peter Le Feuvre, Chair of Trustees of the Rainbow Centre said, “The Folkestone Rainbow Centre is honoured to have received such a prestigious award and is deeply grateful to the judges for their decision. When we recognised last night at the gala dinner the range and quality of charitable activity in the county, we felt an enormous sense of privilege and pride. The amount of deprivation and hardship in our towns and villages is rising during these challenging economic times, and the task of responding to such need is daunting. But we are inspired by the trust that has been placed in us by the award and this will encourage us to do all that we can to continue to support those facing the indignity of hunger and homelessness.”
Susan Robinson, Partner at Kreston Reeves and the KCAs Head Judge said of this year’s Awards: “Just as one challenge ends another one starts. Life post pandemic brings with it new issues often requiring different and imaginative solutions. Charities have continued to learn from the past maintaining and developing new projects and services to meet the growing need. We have been privileged to see how the 2022 entrees have adapted and grown.
As I have said before, we are humbled and inspired by the work of all the entries and once again both shortlisting and selecting final winners was tough. We would like to thank all the charities that entered this year and although we were only able to shortlist a few you are all winners in what you have achieved. However, well done to all our finalists, your success is well deserved.”
This year saw two very special recognition awards presented. The first was the Judges Award for a Charity Project which was awarded to Heart of Kent Hospice for their wonderful project “Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade”.
The second special award was to a lady who has spent a lifetime being a lifeline for animals. Margaret Todd, founder of Lord Whisky Sanctuary was described as “kind, loyal and an inspiration to us all.”
Our charity finalists were rewarded for the work they do in the following categories: Animal and Environment, Best Use of Volunteers, Disability and Mental Health, Start-Up, Children’s, Care, Community, Large and of course our wonderful Trustees and Volunteers.
Volunteer of the Year Award went to Omolola Oyweusi from the Magdalene Ministry. Since the Covid crisis Omolola has run a food bank from her garage as a base for Magdalene Ministry’s outreach project across Medway and Swale which supports families living in poverty, young homeless people keeping them from shop lifting and protecting shop workers from violence. She works voluntarily with the police to give food support to young people who are trying to rebuild their lives outside of gangs and drug dealing helping to keep them out of trouble. She supports older people living in poverty with food and winter fuel shortages, working in partnership with Tesco’s and Cooperative supermarkets to reduce food wastage. Lola supports the NHS Kent and Medway, volunteering to tackle the issues of Covid within the black communities and supports Kent fire and rescue services to create safety awareness within our local communities which has benefited 400 families where they have had free home and business safety checks with free fitted smoke alarms.
Trustee of the Year was awarded to Jill Sarjeant from the Dover Smart Project. Jill began working with Dover smART in 2019 and always gets involved in anything the team needs, from popping the kettle on, to packing up and physically delivering care packages, to long days on her feet at events and attending planning sessions to ensure the quality of forthcoming art activities are the best they can be for their young carers. She has earned the trust of families through her work and they have now engaged even further with support services, which has been life-changing.
Jill is a consummate public speaker and has developed a wonderful presentation that she delivers to clubs, groups and organisations to raise awareness about Dover smART project.
She has repeatedly secured significant donations thanks to her tenacious fundraising work and has an amazing ability to energise people. Jill always brings ideas and will be front and centre to make magic happen.
The full list of our 2022 winners are as follows:
Kent Charity of the Year
Rainbow Centre – Winner
Special Recognition Award
Heart or Kent Hospice – Winner
Margaret Todd – Lord Whisky Sanctuary Fund – Winner
Care Charity of the Year
Romney Marsh Community Hub – Winner
Heart of Kent Hospice
Children’s Charity of the Year
Curly’s Legacy – Winner
Disability and Mental Health Charity of the Year
Spadework – Winner
Maidstone Mencap Charitable Trust
Oasis Domestic Abuse Services – Winner
Kent Search and Rescue
Halpern Charitable Foundation
Best Use of Volunteers
Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services – Winner
Gillingham Street Angels
Animal, Environment & Wildlife
Wildwood Trust – Winner
Computers 4 Charity
Lord Whisky Sanctuary Fund
Baby Umbrella – Winner
East Kent Baby Memorial Gardens
CXK – Winner
Demelza Children’s Hospice
Volunteer of the Year
Omolola Oyewusi, Magdalene Ministry – Winner
Audrey Batchelor, various
Melanie Woodgate, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
Trustee of the Year
Jill Sarjeant, Dover smART- Winner
Alison Culverwell, Bright Shadow
Eppa Hummerstone, Bridge Village Playgroup
Angela Painter, Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services
The Kent Charity Awards were founded by Josie Hage and Sarah MacDonald of Rise Communications. As event managers for several key business awards across the county they realised there wasn’t a single, countywide award scheme aimed at the third sector and wanted to do something to honour the commitment and hard work charities and voluntary groups do across Kent.
The event could only take place because of the support of its sponsors – Kent Charity Awards sponsors, for without their support these awards would not be possible; thank you Kreston Reeves, Kent County Council, Medway Council, The KM Media Group, CC Works, Kent Community Foundation, CAF Bank, AMEY, Brachers, Aplan Insurance, Financial Advice and Services.
Entries for the 2023 awards will be announced shortly website www.kentcharityawards.com .
For more information contact:
Jo Hage – 07734 050238
Sarah MacDonald – 07786 261934