The 2023 Finalists have been announced!

With entries now closed for this, the eighth highly-acclaimed Kent Charity Awards, the judges had the extremely difficult task of choosing who will go through to the final stages; not an easy task given that over 60 charities entered the Awards, and more than 35 Trustees and Volunteers were nominated. All finalists will be invited to a gala Awards evening which will take place on 21st September at the Mercure Great Danes Hotel, in Hollingbourne.

Susan Robinson partner at Kreston Reeves and KCA Head Judge said “Thank you to all the charities who entered this year and to everyone that nominated a trustee or volunteer. We have so many great charities and volunteers in Kent and are bowled over by the quality of entries and this year we are also delighted to receive applications from charities that have not entered the Awards before.  We are proud to sponsor these amazing awards which were set up to recognise the hard work of charities in Kent. If you application wasn’t successful this year, we urge you to come back next year.

The judges all agreed that this was, yet again, a tough field of entries to judge but, after much consideration and deliberation, the organisers are delighted to announce the following, well-deserved finalists.


Carers First
Carers First is a leading carers’ charity. Their aim is to see carers thrive in their role and achieve the balance in their lives they wish to achieve. They were set up in 1991, by carers wanting to help other carers. Their experience, expertise and strong local track record has ensured successful delivery of services across Medway, Lincolnshire, Essex, Southend and three London Boroughs.

Making Miracles
Making Miracles is a baby trauma and bereavement care charity covering Kent. They support parents through pregnancy and birth trauma and the whole family through the loss of a baby.  They are the only registered charity in the UK that caters for the whole family including parents, grandparents and siblings.

Kenward Trust
Kenward Trust helps those affected by addiction, homelessness and crime and since their formation, 55 years ago in 1968  have supported over 10,000 people to transform their lives and start their new future, substance free. They have a national reputation for excellence in the field of residential rehabilitation and helping those who cannot access services in the community due to a lack of accommodation.


Service By Emergency Response Volunteers (SERV) Kent also known as the ‘Bloodrunners’, delivers blood, blood products, samples for testing & other medical items to hospitals across the county of Kent, 24 hours a day, free of charge, whenever and wherever they are urgently needed. Since February 2013, SERV Kent volunteers have been working in partnership with the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust to supply them with regular stocks of blood which are carried onboard the aircraft, enabling the specialist Doctors & Paramedics to provide instant emergency treatment at the scene of an incident.

Pathways to Independence
Pathways to Independence For 10 years, Pathways to Independence has provided supported housing for vulnerable, single homeless people with additional support needs in Kent and Medway. Their goal is to help people move beyond homelessness by providing them with the opportunities, skills and resilience to become self-reliant and self-supporting.  Pathways run three projects across its service sites, these projects provide a home, personal support, assistance with domestic and social skills, and advice on education and training for employment.

Demelza is fortunate to be supported by over 1,000 dedicated volunteers. Their volunteers give their time and energy across all areas of the charity helping the charity to continue the vital work it does.


The Fifth Trust
The Fifth Trust provides a day care service to over 150 adults with learning disabilities, aged 16 to 70+. At their two skills centres in Barham, near Canterbury, they offer 16 different activities – creative sessions such as art, design, craft, woodwork and photography, and practical lessons including digital media, cookery and horticulture.

Disability Assist
Disability Assist is a charity that provides support for adults in Kent and Medway who are living with a disability or disabling long-term health condition. They offer a wide range of services, including information, advice and guidance, advocacy, help with the entire benefits application process, and peer support. The charity was set up 2002 and is run by and for disabled people.

ADSS (Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services) has been operating as a local, independent charity in Kent since 1991. They are Kent’s biggest independent charity dedicated to providing support to people affected by dementia.
They are the local specialist dementia service, which allows them to focus their support carefully to the needs of the local community, and every person they support. They empower people affected by dementia to carry on their chosen lifestyle and equip people with the knowledge and practical support to live with dementia.

Spadework is a charity that enables people to be more independent, feel less isolated and live happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.  They provide care, support, and meaningful opportunities for adults with learning and other disabilities, for those living with early-onset and / or young-onset dementia, and for people experiencing problems with their mental health.


AMAT’s vision is for all homeless adults to have access to safe accommodation and the necessary support to rebuild their lives. Their mission is to reduce and prevent homelessness by providing accommodation and re-building lives, through personalised support and collaboration with other partner organisations.

Kent Wildlife Trust
Kent Wildlife Trust is the leading conservation charity in Kent with over 30,000 members and more than 80 nature reserves.  Their mission is to work with people to defend and restore our natural heritage and create a Wilder Kent

KASBAH provides support services to people with physical and/or learning disabilities throughout the Kent.  It was founded by a group of parents of children with Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus in 1966 with a desire to help other families in circumstances similar to their own. All of the support services are now open to any person with a physical and/or learning disabilities, including support for the parents, carers and families.

Demelza delivers extraordinary care to extraordinary children who are facing serious or life limiting conditions.  Demelza is there to support them and their families at every step – from first diagnosis and for as long as we’re needed.
When they’re needed most, Demelza is there with care that doesn’t back down. By their side when they feel isolated, helping to celebrate the joy in family life and making precious memories during challenging times.


Catching Lives
Catching Lives supports people who are homeless or socially excluded. Operating from their Open Centre in Canterbury and working across East Kent, they help people take steps towards personal recovery and independent living. They work towards ending the harm caused to individuals and communities by homelessness, rough sleeping and insecure housing.  In 2022, they saw 486 individuals who attended a total of over 9000 visits.

Reform Restore Respect
Reform Restore Respect Francis Osei-Appiah formed this charity two years after leaving prison.  Following his release, Francis was determined to repay his community and developed a hard-hitting, Powerpoint presentation – ‘I Didn’t Know That!’ – for delivery in Kent primary and secondary schools in order to dissuade other young people from following his own disastrous path into being groomed at age 8, becoming drawn into gangs, crime and, inevitably, prison. Francis can now deliver up to 4 workshops per week.

Rubicon Cares
Rubicon Cares  is a charity that supports anyone affected by any crime, based in Kent & Medway. The counselling Rubicon Cares offers is unique, and they work with clients on reducing the effects of both the physiological and psychological traumatic impact of any crime type, e.g. family/friends of murder victims, kidnap, sexual offences, domestic abuse, fraud, burglary (list is not definitive). Their model of short-term work with unlimited re-referral supports clients to make long-term and sustainable positive change.


Curly’s Legacy
Curly’s Legacy / Curly’s Farm is a working farm that prides itself on being fully inclusive where everyone can learn and develop their farming and livestock handling skills. The youngest farmers being just 3 years old, they have no upper age limit as they want everyone to access the farm. Curly’s Farm currently works with a large number of primary and secondary schools, as well as organisations, charities, residential units, foster and adoption agencies/departments, Virtual School for young people placed in and out of county, but each enabling their children and adults to access the farm each week.

Children and Families
Children and Families is a children’s charity that provides a range of services directly to children and families across Kent and Medway.  They provide universal services that all families can access as well as targeted services to those in need of additional support. Their work broadly focuses on ensuring that children can be healthy, stay safe, enjoy & achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing.

Life & Soul
Life & Soul is a small charity that has changed the lives of over 500 young people, for the better, in the borough of Tunbridge Wells.
They work with children and young people aged 9-18 years, delivery group-based self-esteem and wellbeing sessions for KS2 primary school pupils and 1:1 mentoring for secondary school pupils.

Embracing Arts
Embracing Arts mission is to make inclusive arts which are accessible for all. They produce shows, workshops and parties for children with special educational needs, disabilities and life-limiting illness, their families, carers and teachers UK-wide. They create work for children who are excluded from theatre in its traditional form due to health/care/educational needs and perform in hospice living rooms, in canteens and bedrooms; in school halls and classrooms; in waiting areas or in the middle of children’s wards. We bring shows TO audiences in the places they feel most comfortable.

Dandelion Time
Dandelion Time supports children from Kent and Medway with serious emotional and behavioural difficulties, linked to traumatic experiences including physical, emotional or sexual abuse or domestic violence, and has delivered services for 20 years. An intensive support programme is provided for over 150 children aged 6-14 annually, delivered from 3 sites in Mid-Kent, North-Kent and East Kent.

Trustee of the Year 

Clive Reddihough – Hi Kent 
Clive first found out about Hi Kent when looking for help and advice for his wife’s profound hearing loss. In 2003 he put himself forward as a trustee and two years later was elected Chair. Clive’s nominator said that he could not be a more supportive, encouraging and visionary leader. His relentless desire to drive Hi Kent forward and secure our future is inspiring.

Marilyn Hodges – Young Lives Foundation 
Marilyn has been a pro-active Trustee on the Board of the Young Lives Foundation since Sept 2014 and in that time has given guidance, practical support, energy and support to the whole YLF team. Her calming and affirming approach has always been appreciated by everyone.

Peter Feacey – Ashford Volunteer Centre 
Peter is about to celebrate 20 years of being a Trustee for Ashford Volunteer centre (AVC). He is the Chair of Trustees and has become an integral part of the organisation. The Team at AVC said he is always nominating other people for awards, but never wants to be recognised himself; which is why they have nominated him for a Trustee of the Year Award.

Volunteer of the Year – Large Charity 

Bradley Russell – Porchlight 

Brad is a former Porchlight client who has become a peer support volunteer within the charity’s health and learning team in Dover and Folkestone. An optimistic and inspirational role model, Brad is the friendly face that welcomes clients to take the first steps to change their lives for the better.

Cathy Gundry – Demelza  
Cathy joined Demelza in 2009 and has worked across the hospice during this time always willing to take on extra tasks in addition to her current roles. This year, Cathy was chosen by the royal voluntary Service as one of 500 Coronation Champions for her voluntary support to Demelza and was invited to attend the coronation concert to celebrate her efforts.

Bill Hickmont – Kent Wildlife Trust 
Bill began his volunteering journey with Kent Wildlife Trust in the mid-nineties. Bill’s nominator said, “volunteers like Bill are instrumental in helping the trust deliver their ambitious 2030 Wilder Kent Strategy, without people like him, we would be seriously limited in our ability to make positive change for future generations.”

Volunteer of the Year – Small Charity 

Karen Stewart – Young Lives Foundation
Karen has volunteered with The Young Lives Foundation since 2016 and this year she will have completed over 500 voluntary hours as a Befriender/ Mentor to predominately 2 sisters who became looked after children at a young age. Karen is one of life’s amazing women and her nominator said that she deserves recognition for her voluntary work with Young Lives Foundation.

Emma Thomas – Hygiene Bank 
Emma volunteers for The Hygiene Bank Medway and has been involved with the project since 2019. One partner said of her work. The team have received many testimonials including; “A HUGE “Thank you” from our team! We are always so blown away by the work that Emma and the volunteers do and are always so grateful for every item you provide. Keep it up!” – Family Solutions Worker – Medway Council – Children’s Services

Gareth Jones – Community Life Savers  
Gareth works tirelessly with all 8 Secondary Schools and the Pupil Referral Unit in Thanet to ensure every Year 7 child has been given the opportunity to learn CPR and how to use a Defibrillator. His nominator said he is dynamic in presentations and is always happy to offer additional technical skills to help other new volunteers when required.

Special Awards

Special Project Award – We Are Beams  
We are Beams is a local charity that supports disabled children and their families in Kent and Medway. They are parent driven and were established over 26 years ago by a group of parents and have developed into the charity they are today.  Following two years of fundraising, in March 2023 the charity opened a specially designed garden for disabled children and their families. The garden is now in use daily by the children that stay overnight in respite care and afterschool and holiday clubs, plus special needs schools and general visitors.

Special Recognition Award – Nora Setterfield MBE
The Thanet Disabled Riding Centre is based in the heart of Broadstairs and has been run by Nora Setterfield since it opened nearly 40 years ago.
Now aged 83 Nora is still hard at work, ensuring the charity is operating to the best of its ability, and currently takes on over 40 clients a week ranging in disabilities and mental illnesses.  The judges wanted to recognise Nora for her tireless commitment to people with disabilities which is why they have awarded her a Special Recognition Award.

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