KM charities set for a happy New Year

KM Charities of the Year 2020 attend a briefing at KM Charity Team HQ.

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Eight good causes awarded KM Charity of the Year 2020 status are anticipating an action-packed year thanks to Kent multimedia company the KM Group.

Each editor at the newspaper group, along with its news website KentOnline, radio station kmfm and TV channel KMTV selected a charity to champion for the next 12 months. The results, revealed last month, showed that some causes came up trumps with multiple editors choosing to support the same cause.

Both the Sheerness Times Guardian and Sittingbourne News Extra are putting their weight behind Citizens Advice Swale, an organisation that provides free, confidential and impartial advice on big issues affecting people’s lives.

And animal conservation charity The Aspinall Foundation, which returns captive-bred animals to protected wilderness areas, was chosen not only by Canterbury paper the Kentish Gazette but also Kent Online, kmfm radio and KMTV.

Representatives from each of the winning charities gathered for KM Charity of the Year briefings for guidance on how to make the most of the initiative. The meetings were staged in Whitstable at the headquarters of educational charity the KM Charity Team, which administrates the KM Charity of the Year application process.

Along with tips and advice on publicising their activities and working with their editor, the charities discovered how to benefit from KM Charity Team events. These include four KM Big Charity Quiz heats, the KM Abseil Challenge, KM Big Bike Ride, KM Colour Run and a firewalk.

One of the attendees was Alexandra Meaders of Friends of Five Acre Wood School, an all-age day district special school for children and young people with profound, severe and complex learning difficulties.

“We’ve got over 500 students in our school and we are super excited to have been chosen by Kent Messenger Maidstone as their charity of the year 2020,” she said, adding that she was looking forward to raising funds and profile as a result of the scheme.

Representing Martha Trust was Kerry Banks, who said: “We are so excited that the East Kent Mercury have chosen us as their charity of the year for 2020. The office were bouncing with joy – literally! We do support the loveliest residents with the most profound multiple and learning disabilities. We provide a home for life as well as respite facilities and also – which is really important – much-needed support for those families and those carers.”

The remaining charities of the year include Kent Association for the Blind, which is charity of the year for the Kentish Express in Ashford as well as the Folkestone and Hythe Express. The charity supports people in Kent, Medway and Bromley with sight impairment to live independent lives.

The Dartford and Gravesend Messengers are supporting YMCA Thames Gateway, which adopts a ‘youth-minded community approach’ to help young people reach their full potential regardless of their background.

Medway Messenger’s chosen charity is Abigail’s Footsteps, an organisation that supports families and healthcare professionals affected by stillbirth.

And the Thanet Extra will champion Age UK Thanet’s mission to help people aged 50 and over to remain independent and enjoy every stage of their lives.

Charities interested in making an impact in 2020 can also boost their fundraising potential by joining in the KM Charity Team’s collaborative fundraising events. Find out more at

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