How long have you lived in Ramsgate?
I moved to Ramsgate in 1964 and left in 2004, the reason we left was because we sold our big house, my kids had all gone and we had to downsize, we couldn’t find a bungalow in Ramsgate.
Why did you start helping the local community?
I was originally Ramsgate International Boats sales representative and I worked in the harbour in the 1980’s, when that folded in 1995 I was asked to go and work for the Ramsgate Town Partnership, somebody came and asked me to do that, which I did, and I worked with someone called Joe Hudson. He left about a year after that. I worked at the Ramsgate Town Partnership as the Town Co-ordinator from 1995 – 2006.
The reason I left there was because the Town Council came along and also we had Thanet Safe radios, Thanet Safe Ramsgate, Thanet Safe Margate and Thanet Safe Broadstairs and the Chairman of that group decided to pull it all into one.
What are your earliest memories of Ramsgate?
When I first got married, all my children were born and bred down here, it was a booming town then, and it still is, but it has changed.
What are your ambitions?
The Ramsgate Town Team, are here to try to help to make Ramsgate a better place to live, work and visit. We want to bring some of the shops back into use. It is very similar to what the Ramsgate Town Centre Management or Ramsgate Town Partnership were doing. They are very similar lines but don’t have that sort of funding.
It’s to basically try and help Ramsgate and to help other groups because every group is struggling. There is a lot of funding out there, you just have to know where to look for it. You have to be on the ball.
What are you currently working on or towards in Ramsgate?
We are currently finishing off the steps (Augusta Steps). We are going to work with the Town Council on the Clean Up Campaign, so we are putting money, time and effort into that along with the Ramsgate Society but that’s got to be co-ordinated yet.
Where did you get the idea from to start this?
The Augusta steps was Rebekah Smith’s (Glendevon Guesthouse) idea.
She had seen an article or read about what was happening in Istanbul and thought it was very good, brought it to the Town Team and we went from there.
Thanet District Council agreed to paint the railings*
, they did the initial clean sweep and hosed it all down and we were doing things with the schools, it ticked everybody’s boxes, the community, the youth and the elderly, it was a good project to start on.
What can Ramsgate look forward to from you in the future?
The Clean Up Campaign obviously, if you go to smaller shops some are lacking having paint on the front. If we could give up to 50% of it (the cost), we have put aside a budget for that, very similar to Margate, we will help them out so they can paint up their shopfronts, to improve the place, basically.
The market is here Friday and Saturdays, the people are in the towns, its encouraging them to go into the shops, if the footfall is there you have to get it into your shop, we want to try and encourage the smaller traders to do this.
We are looking to get signage leading from the Ramsgate train station to the town, you are here maps and that sort of thing.
How do you feel your contribution has helped or made a difference to Ramsgate?
It has, but only by a little bit, people are only just starting to realise who we are, our Facebook page is very well done, we are going to get a website, we currently have two administrators and one manager on the Facebook page, people are beginning to use it.
We have to be out there, getting known is the hardest bit, we have been going since December 2013, we are lucky really, all the people who are on it are all willing volunteers and are all genuinely nice people and that’s the main thing with any group.
Where do you see the Town Team helping the community in a year’s time?
By still doing what we’re doing because we would have reinvested some of the 5.41 campaign money when we get it. People are keen to sign up; we just have to work out the legal part of it.
footnote amendment from Rebekah Smith “it would have been a long wait so with the aid of over 30 volunteers and the Town Team, we did it ourselves putting in over 350 hours of labour to achieve our goal.”