Dover Smart Project

Supported by Group 7 Freemasons

picture showing smart project with cheque from East Kent Freemasons
picture of Jess and her dad, jess in the forground sitting on the floor, wiht her dad in a wheelchair behind

Group 7 of East Kent Freemason supports disadvantaged youngsters.

The smART project in Dover, provides practical things to do for 97 recipients, aged between 6–18. The generous donations from Group 7 masons enable the carers to continue caring, visiting, and supporting vulnerable youngsters and reverse age group.

Group 7 which is made up of East Kent Freemasons lodges from  Dover, St Margaret’s Bay, Deal, and Sandwich has worked tirelessly to help charities during the Corona virus, by supporting projects that help, dementia patients, the NHS and the smart project which received £1,600

Dover smart Project was founded in 2013 to provide opportunities for disadvantaged children in Dover to take part in a wide range of creative activities and experiences to boost their confidence, enhance their wellbeing and widen their outlook on the world.   The charity soon evolved and began similar work with other groups such as people without a home, hospice patients and elderly people living with dementia and/or are experiencing social isolation.  One of our latest ventures is to help end period poverty – smART Knickers – and at present we have approximately 20 sites around Dover where people can access free sanitary products.  Many of these products are donated.

Dawn and Laura are the unpaid CEO’s and they are supported by a Board of Trustees. All of our sessional helpers are volunteers and only get paid travelling expenses.

Work in the Community

The majority of their work in the community is looking after our Young Carers and at present they have about 90 on the role.  Many of these young people have often gone unnoticed in the past but working with the local Carer’s Support Group they can provide a space for them to be themselves for a couple of hours a week.   The youngest young carer is 6 years old and the project will support all of them until they are 18.  They are hoping to provide a support group for those who are over 18 in the future.

As you can imagine COVID 19 has been a huge challenge to them, as it has to many other charities.  They felt that it was vital that they support all of their service users but especially our young carers,  as they found themselves isolated from their school friends, many of them having someone in their home who needed to be shielded and not having the facility available to just be themselves.   It was decided very early on that each carer would receive a pack each week containing a motivational leaflet, art projects and personal challenges.   Many of these packs were posted but some were delivered by Dawn and Laura as this delivery gave smART the opportunity to check that there were no safeguarding issues in the home.

A spokesperson from the project said: “The very generous donation from the local Freemasons has allowed the Project to continue distributing these packs through the summer holidays until we are able to meet up again.

The COVID crisis has made the CEOs and Trustees rethink how we can better serve these wonderful young people and a new look Young Carers group will be launched in September.  Still sticking with the principal of age appropriate groups, we believe that when we can provide a more structured and supportive atmosphere in the sessions where, once again, they can just be themselves”.

picture of jess sitting against a fence looking towards the camera

Picture of Jess

To find out more about the Dover smART Project have a look round their website linked here.