A Farmers’ Market is normally held at the church every Thursday between 9.00 and 11.00. You can buy local produce including breads, meat, vegetables, mushrooms, smoked fish, pickles, cheeses and fruit. During lockdown the market operated on a click and collect basis, but following the relaxation of the lockdown rules, the market is once again open in the Church and churchyard, although the Church coffee stall remains closed for the present. Further details are on the News page.
The church organises the Market as a service to the local community.
In 2020, Shipbourne Farmers’ Market was:
~ Winner of Kent Life Award for the ‘Best Food and Drink Initiative during Lockdown’;
~ featured in the Government’s ‘Great Inspirations’ during Lockdown;
~ Farm Retail Association ‘Best Farmers Market’
For more information ring Bob Taylor 01732 833976
St Giles and Shipbourne Newsletter
The Newsletter contains information about the church and the local community. It is produced by the church and delivered free to every house in the parish. Further copies are available in the church and can also be viewed online from the home page. Mrs Lindsay Miles is the editor of the Newsletter; any items of news or adverts should be sent to her at [email protected]. Her telephone number is 01732 810439.
The Harvest Supper is held each year for the joint benefice at the end of September or in early October. A report on the Harvest Supper held in October 2023 is shown on the News page.
St Giles Fair
The church organises a traditional fete each year on August Bank Holiday Monday. It is held in the Village Hall and on the Green outside the Village Hall. A report on this year’s Fair is on the on the News page.
Our link with All Saints’ Chatham
The benefice has a link with the church of All Saints’ in Chatham and its Community Project, a registered charity which operates at the Magpie Centre, close to All Saints’ in Chatham. The Centre now has 12 full or part time staff, and provides a wide range of services for local residents, including a cafe; advisors who provide help with benefits and passports as well as help with CV writing, IT and other skills for the workplace; weekly groups such as craft, and knit-and-natter, exercise and walking groups; fortnightly lunch clubs; after school clubs during term time; a support group for those experiencing depression and anxiety; and the Magpie Growers tend a local allotment. All the groups seek to reduce isolation and loneliness. The Centre gives out food bank vouchers, utilities assistance and where possible, help to source furniture.
St Giles and Plaxtol Church are now supporting the Project, by providing financial support, donating food or offering voluntary support at the Centre.
The Administrator at the Centre, Diane Hatcher wrote to us on 6 October 2023:
“I am writing to give Big Thanks for the Harvest Donation, which was received this week. As the donation arrived we were discussing how low the cupboard was here, so now they are overflowing.
The project is forever changing at this present time. Covid completely changed the project and it has not gone completely back to the way it was before. The community needs keep changing and nothing seems to settle.
The biggest need is food.
During Covid our cellar was cleared out, new stairs fitted, fireproof ceiling put in which was donated by a local company, walls and floors painted. It has lots of racking down there as well. On Mondays and Fridays we have Trussel Trust Medway Foodbank on site. So clients come to us for a voucher, and can go straight to the Foodbank. One stop for both. Apparently we are the busiest food bank site in Medway. Should someone come to us desperate for food on the other days, then we have our stock of food which we use to fill the gap.
After Covid, advice work was very slow as people were not venturing out. However, that has now picked up and our Advisors days are now full helping people to fill in benefit forms and any other documents they require.
Our manager Danielle left us in July 2022 and Kirsty who has worked here for 4 1/2 years has taken on the manager role. Kirsty has done lots of networking and we have connected with other charities so that we can offer other services by referring our clients. Kirsty has also had success in securing some grants for the project.
We are now in the process of recruiting a Project Support worker so that we can start putting on daily events to help those in social isolation.
We are now preparing for Christmas, as previous years we will be giving out 100 Christmas hampers to those in real need. Food shopping has already commenced as buying for 100 families takes a long time. We also like to buy all the children in the families a toy. So the next three months will be busy.
Your support from Plaxtol and Shipbourne helps many people in this area and beyond and encourages the staff here to know there are others who support us, so again many thanks.”
The Benefice collects food and household goods over the fourth weekend of each month when Community Bread Basket meetings take place in Plaxtol Church. There are boxes in both Shipbourne and Plaxtol churches throughout these weekends, so that people can leave any donations.