12 JUL 2018

Celebrating our local community champions

Recent weeks have been a powerful reminder of how many people in Dover and Deal go the extra mile to make a difference. These community champions are making a massive difference – changing the lives of people around them vastly for the better.

Take James Salmon from Dover Sea Safari. In his spare time he's been working tirelessly to transform the quality of life of disabled people with his team of fellow volunteers at Wetwheels. This is an amazing project which gives disabled people the chance to go out on the water in specially-designed power boats.

The inspirational founder of Wetwheels is Geoff Holt MBE, the first quadriplegic to sail around Great Britain and across the Atlantic Ocean. Yet even he was stunned by the efforts of James and the Dover team. Everyone should have a chance to enjoy being on the water. This is now a reality for so many more people.

In Deal, Tracy Carr runs the Talk It Out group to support people suffering mental health challenges. I cannot begin to guess how many lives she's saved and how her incredible work has taken pressure off local health services.

We recently learnt that nearly 150 youngsters in Kent are waiting more than a year for mental health treatment to start. That makes the work of volunteers like Tracy even more vital. When I visited the group last month, one of the members told me: "When it comes to mental health, pills aren't the answer. Groups like this get people better – it's as simple as that."

Earlier this year, Facebook was full of reports about the disgusting state of the King Street public toilets. So Darren Gregory-Foster of local cleaning company Channel FM swung into action to clean the loos for free – because he cares about the town he grew up in.

Local business people and firms like this who have great community spirit deserve our backing. And probably the cleaning contract for the toilets too!

Back in Dover, it's a similar story. Entrepreneur Victor Evans is determined to make his hometown the best it can be. With the help of council grants he has transformed a derelict area of Lorne Road.

He has built an amazing brewery and micropub, making and selling tasty ales. And he has also constructed five houses and seven flats by the river on the brownfield site opposite.

Victor tells me he wants to give something back to Dover. When people want to invest in our area and improve it, we must give them our full support.

Tracy, Victor, Darren and James are just a few examples of local people going above and beyond. I know there are so many others working tirelessly to make a difference in Dover and Deal.

So if you know someone who is making a difference, please let me know. I would love to visit them and tell everyone about the work they are doing to improve people's lives. I'm determined to do everything I can to back our incredible community champions.

You can get in touch via my Facebook page, by emailing charlie.elphicke.mp@parliament.uk or by calling 01304 379669. 


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Charlie Elphicke

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