22 MAY 2018

Community spirit still strong in Dover and Deal

Whether looking for jobs or belting out karaoke classics, people feel part of a community at Dover Big Local's hub. I went along to the Charlton Centre to meet the team, hearing how Dover Big Local and the Shaw Trust, both based in Unit 18, are helping people back into work.

The hub hosts a number of community events, including a "coffee and karaoke" morning which was in full swing during my visit. I joined in with a rendition of Ticket to Ride by The Beatles, then chatted with Shaw Trust staff members Kemi Fatola, Gerda Vaiksnoraite and Mark Hoda. They told me that 57 people are taking part in their work and health programme, of which three have found employment.

Ross Miller, chairman of the Dover Big Local Partnership, told me about the range of services being offered at the hub. This includes a jobs club, run with Southern Housing every Tuesday from 10am to 4pm, which has helped 17 people find work over the past nine months. People are also given support setting up their own businesses. Dover Big Local was handed £1 million of lottery funding, which it has been investing in the town since 2015.

It was fantastic to see the brilliant work being done at the Charlton Centre hub. We fought hard to secure the £1 million lottery funding for our town – and it's great to see Dover Big Local spending the money on projects like this.

The Shaw Trust is doing great work too, helping people in tough circumstances back into employment. This hub just goes to show how strong our community spirt is in Dover.


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Charlie Elphicke

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