Big Thank You Picnic sees volunteers praised for work during pandemic

Nusrat Ghani
PARTY IN THE PARK: People enjoying the sunshine at the picnic in Calverley Grounds

The Calverley Grounds get together on Saturday [September 18], was arranged to thank those who have worked for charities and other organisations for their service during the pandemic.

The picnic was arranged with funding from Kent County Council’s Reconnect Communities Fund and the Royal Tunbridge Wells Together Business Improvement District [BID].

It was organised so that the Council could acknowledge and celebrate the work of the many volunteers in the borough who have made a such a difference to people, particularly over the past 18 months.   


Members of a number of the charitable organisations gave talks at the event as around 35 local charities and organisations gave praise to their teams of volunteers, ranging from those that work full time, part time or just a few hours a week.

More than a hundred volunteers and supporters also saw performances from local groups, including Trinity Youth Theatre, the inclusive dance company This Is Us, Paddock Wood Community Choir, and the Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra [RTWSO].


MAYOR: Cllr Woodward with the Mayoress (right) and Joanne Holmes, Deputy to the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, who opened the picnic celebrations


Hosting the event, the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Councillor Chris Woodward, said: “It was great to be able to meet and talk with representatives of the many charitable organisations and their volunteers who do so much to support families and individuals in our Borough.

“Their efforts contribute enormously to our welfare, and we would not be the place where we love to live without them. It amazes me that so many people are prepared to share their talents and time and resources to helping others.


THUMBS UP: Volunteers from the Pickering Cancer Drop-In Centre


Polly Taylor, who runs the Pickering Cancer Drop-In Centre in Tunbridge Wells, said: “It was fantastic. The sun was out and everyone enjoyed it.

“I was so touched that the Council did this to thank the volunteers. It was wonderful.

“It was a great chance to thank our volunteers and the people who put themselves out for us and for all they have done during Covid by putting themselves on their line.”

The weekend picnic saw nearly all the town’s good causes and charities turn out.


MINDFUL: Volunteers and supporters from West Kent Mind


Among those being thanked for their service were volunteers for the domestic violence support service DAVVS, The Pickering Cancer Drop-In Centre, Nourish Community Foodbank, the local Citizens Advice Bureau and dozens more.


HUNGER HEROES: Some of the team from Nourish Community Foodbank and (right) the Rotary Club



Photos: © Stephen Ambrose @steambrose

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