Parish Newsletter Christmas 2021


Well, 2021 certainly did not turn out to be what I wished for when I wrote the Christmas edition of the Chairman’s letter last year! Let’s keep our fingers crossed for 2022.

2021 has proved to be a year of change for the Parish Council. It is with great sadness that I reflect on the loss of both Brian Fitzpatrick and Phil Jones this year. My thoughts are with their families and friends this Christmas. Following the elections, we also said goodbye to several longstanding councillors. My thanks go to, Mike Appelbe, Paul Whittle and Richard Lusty for their contributions as councillors.

This year has also seen the arrival of five new councillors who have brought with them a wide range of skills and experience, not to mention enthusiasm and commitment. As mentioned in my October Chairman’s letter, this has resulted in a renewed focus on maintaining and improving our existing facilities, in addition to the new Community and Sports Centre project at the KGV. Hopefully, you will see the benefits of this for yourselves next year.

The reports from the Committee Chairs on the following pages include more details of the Parish Council’s work.

A quick reminder – your nominations for the KALC Community Award Scheme need to be with Richard, our Clerk, by 10th January 2022. There are no specific criteria for this award. It just needs to be someone who has made a significant contribution to our community, like Ellen Neville, our well-deserved winner this year. Please see the Parish Council website for details and a nomination form.

Due to the publication deadline, I am writing this in the middle of November, and Christmas still feels a very long time away. However, at the top of my Christmas list this year is the dismissal of the Golf Club Appeal. I very much hope that’s a gift I get to share with all of you this Christmas.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and all the very best wishes for 2022.

Take care,
Clare Escombe
Chairman, Hawkhurst Parish Council

Hawkhurst Community Support Group

The Hawkhurst Community Support Group (HCSG) was established on 27 March 2020 to help Hawkhurst residents requiring assistance during the coronavirus pandemic by collecting and delivering groceries, essential supplies and prescription medicines. The Group also offers dog- walking and telephone companionship services. HCSG is, formally, a “Community Group” separate from, but with close links to, the Parish Council and is managed and staffed entirely by local volunteers.

At its peak, during the first lockdown, HCSG had nearly 140 clients and 190 volunteers on its books. Currently, we are looking after 58 clients, and 84 volunteers are either actively engaged in our work or ready to answer the call.

We have also delivered a number of community projects. These included operations to distribute apples, chocolate Easter eggs and fresh vegetables to our clients; collecting PPE for local surgeries and care homes and running a children’s art competition to mark VE Day.

On 19 April, we launched “Food4Families” (“F4F”) to help local families struggling financially as a result of the pandemic. Our public appeal to raise £1,000 raised twice that amount within the first week! This enabled our volunteers to start shopping for essentials and we established a “free shop” for local families in need, initially at the Primary School and later at the KGV Centre on the Moor. The project proved to be highly successful and, as the need remained undiminished after the first lockdown, we decided to continue raising funds to keep the scheme going. We found ways to make the money go further by partnering with generous local providers including the Hastings foodbank, St. Laurence Church and our local food growing charity, Hands of Hope.

F4F is still going strong: we have raised about £8,000 to date and are helping as many as 27 local families.

We have many people to thank for the success of our work in the community.

We’d like to thank our generous financial donors. So many private individuals contributed to F4F: they might not like us to name them here, but we know who they are, and we thank them for their generosity. We can, though, mention the following organisations:

Communities Aid Foundation; Delmatic Ltd.; Dunks Charities; Hawkhurst Baptist Church; Hawkhurst Parish Council; Howdens Joinery; Park Farm Butchers; St. Laurence Church; The Thomas Iddenden Trust; Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and our local supermarkets, Tesco and Waitrose.

We thank Stevens Farm for the consignments of fresh apples; Park Farm Butchers for the loan of their van and Phil for acting as driver. Tesco and Waitrose for contributing to the great Easter Egg Run, our Prize Draw hamper and Christmas dinners for local families in need. Hands of Hope for supplying quantities of fresh vegetables for our community distribution project and for F4F. Marlborough House School for their big Harvest Festival donation of food and their Christmas run to raise funds for F4F. And the parishioners of St. Laurence Church for their ongoing contributions to F4F.

Most of all, we thank the many local people who joined us to volunteer their services in many capacities: managing the organisation; shopping for those staying at home; working for F4F; walking dogs; being “phone buddies”; delivering apples, Easter eggs, vegetables and leaflets etc. etc.

So many people to thank. Every one has played a part in this great community venture. We thank them all and wish them the merriest of Christmases.

Kent Community Award Scheme 2021

The Kent Community Award Scheme aims to recognise those who have done outstanding service to their local community. The Award Winners receive a Framed Certificate.

Please visit the Hawkhurst Parish Council website for a Nomination Form for residents to send to the Parish Council, – closing date 31st January 2021

Community Heroes

The last 9 months has been a very difficult period for many in our area. We were all amazed by those who volunteered to help our community or who bravely kept working through the depths of the Covid- 19 crisis, and continue to do so

It was not only the dedicated people working in the NHS or social care, but also those working in local food shops and supermarkets, on public transport, for utility companies, delivery drivers as well as our police and fire services and our armed forces who performed essential work for the healthcare system.

We would like to hear about, and recognise volunteers and those who put their own safety at risk working to keep our community running.

So if you know someone who is your ‘Community Hero’, please visit …

Make a Change become a Councillor

Are you passionate about your community? Do you want to help make a long-lasting change? Do you have innovative ideas for the council? Do you have concerns about a specific issue and want to do something about it? If this is you, then we need you.

We need people from all backgrounds and experiences who reflect their community to put themselves forward for the Parish election, 6th May 2021

Here, you will find everything you need to know. It explains what local councils and councillors do, how you can become a councillor, details of the role and what to expect. Please see below …