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The Kent Community Foundation Needs in Kent Conference gave charities, community groups and funders the opportunity to look at the county’s needs and discuss how collaborative action might affect change.

On 15 June, two hundred delegates met at the Village Hotel in Maidstone to attend the first Kent Community Foundation Needs in Kent Conference. The Conference gave community groups, charities, and funders the opportunity to review a comprehensive Needs in Kent analysis commissioned by Kent Community Foundation which set out the priority areas of need by district.

The Conference was opened by Kent Community Foundation Chief Executive Josephine McCartney and hosted by ex-BBC Southeast News Presenter Rob Smith.

In the morning delegates heard from Julie Stone who had produced the analysis, Stevie Rice from West Kent Mind, Adam Male from Kent Savers Credit Union and Leader of Kent County Council Roger Gough.

Roger Gough told delegates, “There is a lot to do, the needs in Kent are well established and I hope the discussions today will lead to a collaborative partnership where we can deliver the very best to the residents of Kent.”

The Keynote speaker was Janice McGuinness from People United who’s thought provoking Keynote was about kindness and began with her affirming “I believe kindness can change the world one step at a time.”

After lunch, breakout discussions about the county’s five main areas of need, domestic abuse, food poverty, mental health, low income and substance misuse prompted very important conversations about how and what might affect change.

A lively ‘solutions panel’ with the author of the report and representatives from LVB Creative, Kent County Council, the National Lottery Community Fund and Kent Community Council ended the day and closing remarks were given by Kent Community Foundation Chairman of Trustees Robert Sackville-West.

Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said, “I was totally overwhelmed by the response to our conference. There was a real energy in the room as delegates enjoyed getting together to discuss the priority areas of need that the districts face and how we might work collaboratively to offer better or different solutions.”

Read our  Kent Needs Analysis here.

Needs in Kent Conference - Josephine McCartney
Needs in Kent Conference - room of delegates
Needs in Kent Conference - panel

MASSIVE 'thank you ' to everyone at Kent Community Foundation. Your funding support is HUGELY appreciated and has enabled us to get into the heart of local communities with REAL, affordable, healthy and tasty food that does so much more than feed people.

Community chef Mike Spackman, Sheppey Matters

KCF's enthusiasm for what we are doing and hoping to do, coupled with helpful advice, gave us the confidence to take this daunting step which has paid off.

Liz Turner, Octopus Foundation

It's great having a foundation that empowers organisations and charities in our community to make real positive differences and changes!

Tom, MMK Mind