A printable PDF version of this newsletter can be downloaded from HERE
We now have an events page, favershamsociety.org/society-events/ which lists upcoming talks and enables you to register to receive a link for our virtual talks on Zoom. Subjects are Swale’s garden from the Kent Gardens Trust and a tree walk in the St Mary of Charity churchyard with David Carey, chairman of the Kent Tree and Pond Wardens.
From the United States we have a talk on the development of gunpowder mills there – and I am assured that there is a Faversham connection!
More than 170 people attended the public meeting, organised by the Faversham Society with St Mary of Charity Church, about the Duchy of Cornwall’s plans for the southeast of the town. That is about half the number that attended last time. The duchy now has a website with some detail of the plans (sefaversham.co.uk), but the formal application for outline permission is still some way off. We shall organise a members’ meeting to discuss the planning application when it comes.
We invited other developers with sites in southeast Faversham to speak at a public meeting and answer questions from residents. Fernham Homes took up the invitation and asked us to host a virtual public meeting. This is organised for 3 November and you can register to receive the Zoom link here: favershamsociety.org/public-meeting-fernham-homes/
We have made representations about plans for Brenley Corner. We believe any initiative to improve the junction for traffic must also cater for cyclists, pedestrians and wildlife. Two public rights of way cross the A299 within a mile of Brenley Corner. The volume of traffic now using the dual carriageway means pedestrians avoid these footpaths. Crossing for older people, children or families with a pushchair would be irresponsible. Bridges could also provide alternative routes for cyclists and incorporate wildlife overpasses to help to create the sort of green corridor promised by Swale Council in its draft Local Plan.
Whatever the new configuration of the Brenley junction and associated crossings, the project has to do with national infrastructure – vital in particular for traffic to and from the Channel ports – and must therefore be funded under Highways England’s national budget. Under no circumstances should local funding be used to upgrade a junction where congestion is caused, above all, by non-local traffic. You can read our submission on our website.
Over the next three or four years many decisions will be made by national, county and local governments that will shape the future of our town. If you are able to assist with our work, publicly or privately, please email me. We have housing, sewage, water, traffic and a solar power station at Cleve Hill and Swale’s Local Plan and the Faversham Neighbourhood Plan on our agenda.
The Succession Planning Working Group was set up in autumn 2020 with the objective to help the Faversham Society prepare for the future in the wake of the challenges and changes brought about by the pandemic, as well as the need to ensure that the society has enough members and volunteers to help continue fulfilling its public purpose for years to come.
The board of trustees established the group, whose members are Andrew Holden, Heather Wootton, Laurie McMahon and Sophie Kemsley, to focus solely on this matter.
Among the ideas generated, what became apparent immediately was the need to ensure that members and volunteers had the opportunity to influence decisions made as a result of the work.
Two independent surveys – one each for volunteers and members – were issued in spring 2021 and met an encouraging response. Thanks must go to the 55 volunteers and 118 members who took the time to share their views on what the society means to them, and what we can do to ensure that the successes brilliantly highlighted by the likes of Geoff Sandiford’s Our Beautiful Town continue.
Even more encouraging was the fact that 95% of volunteers stated that they were always or mostly satisfied by their volunteering and were looking forward to returning to their roles following the pandemic. Eighty-nine per cent of members stated that they were satisfied by their membership. The reasons why people join the society and/or volunteer were overwhelmingly clear. They do so because they care about the town and want to support the society’s mission, while meeting like-minded people at the same time and pursuing their interests through the volunteering roles available.
However, the surveys also highlighted areas which the board of trustees must improve if it is to ensure continuing success. Many respondents to the surveys highlighted a need for the society to have a greater visibility in the town. We hope that this will be fulfilled to some extent by the move to 12 Market Place, but we know that the work does not finish there.
None of the respondents was from the junior or student bracket and this is of immense concern. If the society is to make itself future-proof, it simply must engage more actively with younger people, as well as introducing itself to the growing number of new residents who may be interested in supporting us.
It is also clear from the surveys that efforts need to be made to improve some areas of communication with members and volunteers. It is imperative that both groups be kept in the loop on all relevant matters and in response to this the board will be reviewing current methods of communication and volunteer co-ordination. We will also be looking at how the society’s activities align with its charitable purpose and considering targeted volunteer recruitment that ensures we have the resources, enthusiasm and heart to continue what we do.
So, what next? Now the first phase of the Succession Planning Group’s work has been completed, the next stage is to consider the implications of its conclusions for the society’s strategic direction. To this end, the board has decided that the mandate of the group should be expanded to include strategy. Andrew Holden has now stepped down from the working group – thanks Andrew for your outstanding contributions to the group’s work – and has been replaced by Matthew Hatchwell. The revised Strategy Working Group will lead the process across the society, incorporating the results of the succession survey, actively engaging with members, volunteers, the board and other stakeholders, and completing a new Faversham Society strategy by mid-2022. The strategic plan will be a living document that defines overall direction for the Faversham Society. It is reviewed and updated regularly.
This work will not only enable the board to define strategic direction but also explore the implications in terms of strategy and resources, including sites, staffing, budget and funding. Clarity and action in all these areas are fundamental to our future and will ensure that the society has a robust succession plan in place for the future.
Here’s a shot of Noni II, the last in a long line of tugs that served the port of Faversham. On the left is a young Andrew Osborne, one of the Faversham Society’s founders, with Captain Alf Wood and Perce Monk with his one of his daughters. Geoff Sandiford has sent the image to remind us of his Long and Winding Creek project
Chris Wright, a Faversham Society Board member, is a retired professor of transport management. In September, he was interviewed for a piece in the Transportation Professional reproduced on our website. As a result, Deborah Sims, who has just become president of the Institution of Highways and Transportation, expressed interest in visiting Faversham
to learn about what is happening with the local cycling and walking infrastructure plans, the 20’s Plenty campaign, and the Neighbourhood Plan.
On 28 September Ms Sims and David Brazier, cabinet member for transport at the county council visited the town. They are pictured crossing Newton Road – where residents are starting a campaign against drivers who flout the 20mph limit – accompanied by Professor Wright, Phil Jones and councillor Julian Saunders.
The live performance of Geoff Sandiford’s Long and Winding Creek will be premiered at the Faversham Literary Festival in February.
Doug Welch, former presenter of Kent Folk on Radio Kent, has pronounced Geoff’s work “absolutely first class!”
Geoff says: “All the musicians involved in this project were impressed by the quality of the finished product. We are confident that you will enjoy opening, holding, reading and watching this DVD/CD which is available from Fleur Heritage Centre for £10 or from its online shop for £11.
But several people have pointed out that they no longer own a DVD player or a laptop with a slot for a disc. Society member Clare Patterson asked if it was possible to watch it online? So with Clare’s help The Long and Winding Creek is now available to stream and enjoy.
Copy the following link into your web browser: geoffsandiford.wistia.com/projects/rsqybxoho4# Before you can stream the 57 minutes of video, it will ask you for a password. If you email email@example.com he will supply the password when you make a contribution of £5 towards the cost of this project.
Celebrate Tree Week in this autumn and early winter with these free family events on Faversham Recreation Ground.
Saturday, 27 November, 10am-11.30 and 1pm-2.30 Crafting and tree dressing.
Wednesday, 1 December, 10am Community tree planting, launch of the booklet 21 Trees of Faversham Rec and a tour.
Thursday, 2 December, at 10am and noon Winter tree identification at the Rec.
Friday, 3 December, at 10am and noon A treasured landscape: the heritage of the Rec.
Saturday, 4 December, at 10am and noon Stories of trees at the Rec.
All events start at the kiosk at the lodge. Crafting and tree dressing must be booked through Anna Outdoors on Facebook. Other activities are limited to 30 people per event and it’s first come, first served. For more information see Friends of Faversham Recreation Ground Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org
We are hoping to make use of the main Visitor Information Centre premises to hold a Christmas book and gift shop in mid-December
If you have any unwanted gifts, small bric-a-brac, toys, games, art work or vintage items and of course books in good condition please could you bring them in any time to the second-hand bookshop in Gatefield Lane. All donations gratefully received. Please see our ad below for the Dutch calendar, an excellent idea!
A quiz in aid of the Faversham Society will be held at the United Church Hall, Preston Street, on Saturday 6 November at 7 for 7.30pm.Tables of 8 at £5 per person.
Book a table by calling Sue Davidson on 01795 532800 or 07940 850099. Please bring your own food and drink.
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All content © the Faversham Society. Reproduction permitted only with the written permission of the editor
The Faversham Society Newsletter is edited by Stephen Rayner, who is independent of the board.
Contributions are welcomed, and should be received by midday on the 15th of the month before publication, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the Faversham Society or of the editor. All contributions will be edited and the editor’s decision is final.
Opening times for The Visitor Information Centre, Book & Gift Shops, Fleur de Lis Museum and Chart Gunpowder Mills vary throughout year. The latest opening times can be found on the right-hand panel of every page on the Society's main web site