Faversham Creek Trust was started about 10 years ago by a group of local residents with the aim of regenerating the town’s maritime economy.
It’s a registered charity and non-profit company without political affiliation, campaigning to raise awareness about what we could bring back to benefit the whole community if and when the creek’s superb opportunities and facilities are properly recognised and developed. There are six local people on our Board, membership is about 300 households, and we have generous donors who support our aims and objectives. Board members and other supporters are all volunteers, and unpaid.
The Trust has been active since foundation in calling for a new opening bridge across the creek – this would once again allow boats to get up into the Basin – the head of the tidal waters. That area of town is neglected, overgrown and the water silted up with mud – but we have in mind a thriving harbour with large and small boats coming to moor up on new quays, bringing excitement and trade to the town. We know this kind of enterprise has been very successful in other east coast towns, notably Maldon in Essex, which draws visitors from far and wide, both by land and sea.
We are energetic in helping young people consider a career in boat-building or ship-wrighting – reliable and highly skilled trades which are necessary to maintain and repair the many historic and beautiful traditional boats – such as the Thames barges and fishing smacks – which used to work these coasts. (We are also interested in helping preserve these marvellous boats – part of our national history). We have for some years run a programme called BoatCamp, where local school students get real hands-on experience working on boat repairs and construction, and actually building their own small boats which they then take out onto the water as part of our RowBoats programme – rowing lessons during the school holidays. This has already resulted in some teenagers deciding this is something they would like to pursue – a satisfying result which we need to continue.
We have had a good relationship with our landlords, Morrisons Supermarket, for many years. When we started, we acquired a lease on the Purifier Building for a peppercorn rent. It had been part of the old gasworks beside the creek Basin, and has been restored by us mostly with volunteer help. This is our HQ and offers workshop space for specialist maritime trades – currently a boat-builder and a block-maker. There is also a room available for community use – meetings, lectures, training, art shows, small musical events and so on.
We have had a good record of successful fundraising. We need to raise over £7000 a year for the BoatCamp, and we raised £125,000 over just five months towards the cost of a new bridge, demonstrating the town’s commitment to this project. We have run a wide range of events – dinghy sailing races, wine-tastings, plant sales, quizzes, and so on to draw people in and of course the Nautical Festival is now attracting large crowds each summer. Finally, although we don’t organise it ourselves, we are extremely grateful to be the beneficiary of the popular annual garage sale Safari throughout the town, which is supported by so many businesses.
It is important to us that we feel people are still supporting our aims – it does all take a lot of time!
Our present campaigning is to continue to press the county council to honour their obligation to get a new bridge installed, and we are also working with other heritage harbours along the north Kent coast to form a protective and promotional organisation for the benefit of our very special local landscape and all the people who live here.
Our annual fundraising plant sale will be at the Purifier Building on Saturday 29 May from 10am – 3pm. Donations of labelled plants would be very welcome: bring them along on the day. If you would like to help run...
Huge congratulations and thanks to Lesley Seager and her team of volunteers and supporters (including the Town Council) for their work in cleaning the rubbish out of Cooksditch. This ancient little waterway runs down from beside the Rec, behind the...
Here is St Ayles Skiff no 249 getting her livery – the Creek Trust logo – skilfully applied by local sign-writer (and stone carver) Clive Sherwood from West Street. We are still waiting to arrange her launch-date. Thanks to Jude...
The St Ayles Skiffs is the latest boat-building project which the Creek Trust is pleased to help promote. Alan Thorne, the boatbuilder based in our Purifier Building – is working with community organiser Jude Caryer to get these beautiful sea-going...
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