Town Sprucer responds to COVID-19

Published on May 14th, 2020

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Community | Other News

The Town Sprucer has continued to provide its invaluable service to the community across Folkestone despite the coronavirus pandemic. Following social distancing rules and wearing relevant PPE, Peter and a core team of eight volunteers spend the day litter picking and generally tidying up our community.

When the coronavirus crisis began the team had ceased services following government guidance but soon saw the number of wet wipes discarded in the street increasing as street cleaning services were limited due to numbers of employees in isolation for various reasons.

Alex MacLaren, member of the Board of Trustees for the Town Sprucer, said: “It’s important for us that we continue to provide services that are being supported by donations and grants from organisations like RDHCT. Though it was not expected of us by any of our supporters, after a few weeks I got in touch with the local authority. We had people available as well as an empty building at Sunflower House so it made sense to offer to help with the COVID response.”

Folkestone’s Town Sprucer (Peter Phillips) relies entirely on charitable donations and could not run without them. The project aims to provide a volunteering opportunity for the long-term unemployed, with the aim of transforming their potential and supporting their search for employment, as well as maintaining and improving the environment of Folkestone and Shepway.

A total of £44,000 has been donated by the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust since 2013, including the most recent sum of £10,000 in November 2019. This funding supports the running costs of the Town Sprucer, including Peter’s wage, administration fees and insurance.

Alex says: “We need about £60k per year to run the Sprucer project, and though some of these costs are for things in kind, such as the liveried vehicle through Wilmoth’s Citroen, and the use of Sunflower House, we still have to include them within our budget to ensure we have the availability of funding whatever the situation.”

“Working on Town Sprucer as a trustee has really shown me the impact these types of project have on a town and funding from charities like RCHDT is critical. The Town Sprucer gets a lot of love, the people of Folkestone are proud of the fact we have a sprucer, and the volunteers are proud to be a part of it. We had a big fundraising drive in December and saw how much people feel a sense of belonging. It’s ours, it’s Folkestone’s.”

More information about the Town Sprucer Project can be found at http://folkestonesprucer.com/about/

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