On behalf of your committee, I hope you had a very enjoyable Christmas. May we also wish you all a belated very Happy New Year.

For many reasons, 2021 has been a difficult year for your Society, as it has been for many other civic societies. There have been repeated uncertainties about having face-to-face meetings and although Zoom events are useful, they are a poor substitute for meetings that encourage the personal informal conversations that can take place in public gatherings when we hold our members talks.

Nevertheless, Covid has not prevented the Ramsgate Society committee working extremely hard throughout the year. We have continued to meet on a monthly basis- mainly via zoom, and pursued various projects with vigour. The committee now undertakes many of its activities through ‘working groups’. These working groups, each led by one of the committee members, are already proving to be very effective as they allow us to pursue a broader range of objectives. The groups range from “Planning, Heritage and Regeneration”, “Events and Community Engagement”, “Finance”, “Membership and Communications” and “Partnership Development.” You don’t have to be a member of the Ramsgate Society Committee to help with one of our working groups so if you are interested in helping on one of these groups, please contact our Secretary Graham Woolnough by email here (add link to contact page)

During the year we submitted our views on various statutory consultations including the Manston DCO and the TDC Local Plan Update and we will continue to engage with these issues which are so important to the quality of life for local residents and because they will shape the future of our town for better or worse for many years to come.

We continued to work on a number of projects during the year including the repair and redecoration of the Ramsgate Promenade Shelters, the coordination of Heritage Open Days for the whole of Thanet and the completion of a number of much needed litter picks including Pegwell Bay and Jacky Bakers Field. We also planted 50 trees in the Ramsgate Conservation Area to commemorate toe 50th Anniversary of the Ramsgate Conservation Area. In addition, we produced a Conservation Area Advice Leaflet which was distributed to 4000 houses in Ramsgate. We will continue to produce our twice-yearly magazine Ramsgate Matters, edited by the Society’s Heritage Champion Brian Daubney, which provides an update on a range of issues together with some fascinating articles about Ramsgate’s past, present and future.

Because of the Covid Lockdown we were unable to make our annual Civic Champions Awards in 2020 but we made up for this in 2021by making three awards, Cara Thorpe (Thanet Community Centre), Carl Whitehead (Salvation Army Foodbank) and Sharon Goodyer for her work with Our Kitchen in Margate and Ramsgate. The awards were presented by the Mayor of Ramsgate Cllr. Raushan Ara who spoke eloquently and movingly about the invaluable work that our Civic Champions do within our local community.

2021 is now behind us and we are looking ahead with optimism to 2022. In October the Thanet District Council (TDC) application to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund was successful and secured a grant of £19.84 million for a number of projects in Ramsgate. Amongst other things the application included the Ramsgate Society’s proposals for the renovation of the Clock House as a new Ramsgate Heritage Centre and we are looking forward to working with TDC to deliver this part of the wider Ramsgate Investment Plan which we understand is to be launched in February 2022. I’m sure there will be many challenges ahead but there is enormous support and enthusiasm for this project from within the local community and we are looking forward to working with TDC and a number of other stakeholders to turn this vision into a reality over the next 3 years.

We are planning to restart our series of bi monthly members talks beginning on Friday 18th February at the Royal temple Yacht Club. These talks are always interesting and popular events and provide an opportunity to meet with other members of the Society. They are invariably fully subscribed so keep a look out for further details in our regular monthly Newsletter.

During 2022 we hope to develop some strategic partnerships with Ramsgate Town Council, Thanet District Council and a number of other community groups and organisations and I hope we will be able to say more about this over the next few months, so  keep an eye out in your emails for our monthly Newsletter and check our new website which we are planning to launch in the Spring.

I would like to thank the committee for all its hard work and commitment over the year- all done entirely voluntary. May I also thank those members that renew their subscriptions promptly and kindly donate funds to the Society. Without your support many of our activities could not take place. Most importantly, may I thank you, our members, for sharing our commitment to make Ramsgate a better place to live and work.

With all best wishes for the year ahead.

John Walker Chairman