Connecting Communities

We want to combat loneliness and social isolation by bringing communities closer together in Kent and Surrey

By highlighting some of the fantastic organisations, charities and centres across our regions, the Connecting Communities campaign aims to make it just that bit simpler for people who may not know where to turn to in their local community.

As a result, we have put together regional guides to a selection of brilliant organisations, community centres and sites that provide their communities with a variety of different services and activities.

We are proud to feature some fantastic places in Kent, providing their local communities with a wide range of services and activities. We have included these entries below, so you can explore what’s going on in your community.

Please use the below to explore some great places in Kent that provide activities for the community. Accessible via the Arriva bus network, we’ve included information on location and routes to help you get there.

Downswood Community Association

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The Downswood Community Association in Maidstone originated in 1986 as a support network for people moving to the newly-developed Parish of Downswood. Today, the association continues this good work - assisting the local community and managing the Downswood Community Centre with a selection of services, gatherings and groups.

A major long-term goal for the organisation is to develop a true sense of community. Downswood welcomes all local people regardless of background or age – ensuring everyone is treated fairly and equally.

Whilst Downswood may be one of the smallest parishes in the South of English, its community association provides plenty of activities and support for the local people, from keep-fit classes and sports events to drama clubs and martial arts.

There’s a strong charitable drive in everything the Downswood Community Association conducts, helping to raise money for all manner of good causes.

Find it on Google Maps: Downswood Community Association

Find out more on the website: Downswood Community Association

Catch the bus: 4 Maidstone Town Centre to Downswood

Chatham Historic Dockyard

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One of Kent’s most exciting and unforgettable days out, the Historic Dockyard in Chatham is home to three warships, 10 museums and galleries and an amazing itinerary of events and activities to enjoy throughout the year. Spread over an 80-acre site, the entire family can explore a unique array of wartime and maritime artefacts, dating back hundreds of years.

Great for kids, the warships and many of the exhibitions are truly larger than life, and provide a great insight into the wartime history of this proud naval nation. The three historic warships, HMS Gannet, HMS Cavalier and HM Submarine Ocelot, are the undoubted stars of the show, and can be boarded by guests as they experience just a little of what life must have been like for the brave seafaring men of the Royal Navy. The site itself has plenty of history, having been a Royal Navy shipyard for 400 years, and the birthplace of the nation’s most famous ship, the HMS Victory. And whilst the shipyard is not still actively turning our warships today, it still has plenty of stories to share with all who care to visit.

Find it on Google Maps: Chatham Historic Dockyard

Find out more on the website: Chatham Historic Dockyard

Catch the bus: 182 Chatham Twydall

U3A (The University of the Third Age)

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The U3A (The University of the Third Age) operates a number of groups throughout Kent and Surrey, providing a great array of learning groups for retired and semi-retired locals. If you want to develop new skills, brush up on your specialist subject, or just meet like-minded individuals, discover if there’s a U3A local to you.

Please note – the information listed is for guidance only, and we’d recommend visiting the website of the group you wish to attend for group-specific information, such as rules of attendance and up-to-date location information.

We hope the above has helped you find a regional class, activity centre or support group to help you, and has provided all the information you require.

We’re keen to continue adding to this list of brilliant community groups and arts centres, with more fantastic places throughout Kent and Surrey. If you’re a member of a great community group in Kent and Surrey and want us to know about it, please contact us on [email protected].

To find out more about loneliness and social isolation, head back to our main feature page, here.

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