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Benefits of arts celebrated

Wed 19 June 2019, 3:35 pm

A festival celebrating the health benefits of engaging in the arts will be held next month in Rochester, after it benefited from a funding boost.

The Medway Neurological Network has launched the Medway Neuro Arts Festival, which is part-funded by the Rochester Riverside Community Board that gave it a £5,000 grant.

The festival is the first initiative supported by the board, which was launched earlier this year and includes members from Medway Council, Countryside and Hyde Housing.

They will help oversee an annual budget of £30,000 funding for community projects based around the flagship £419m regeneration development of Rochester Riverside.

The Medway Neuro Arts Festival, to be held on 20-21 July, will highlight the therapeutic benefits of the arts for those with neurological conditions including Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, dementia, epilepsy and strokes.

Events at the Rochester Community Hub, Eastgate House and Gardens, and the Huguenot Museum will include music, poetry and dance, as well as Tai Chi, yoga and visual and creative arts.

Phil Bungay, the festival’s co-organiser, said: “This funding is allowing us to hold the festival, which will be appreciated by so many of our members across Medway and allows us to share the considerable therapeutic benefits that the arts can have for those with neurological conditions.”

Andy Fancy, managing director of partnerships south at Countryside, said: “We’re determined to ensure that the benefits of our landmark development are felt across Rochester, and we’re delighted to be supporting the Medway Neuro Arts Festival. This is a really worthwhile project that will make a huge difference to vulnerable people in the area.”

The Rochester Riverside development will have up to 1,400 new homes, as well as a primary school, nursery and hotel, which will be delivered over the next 12 years. New residents will shortly be moving into the first phase of the project which has 489 homes, a hotel and 2,200 sq m of commercial space.

Medway Council leader, Councillor Alan Jarrett, said: “It is fantastic news that not only will the Rochester Riverside development create much needed homes for Medway’s residents, but it will also help fund local community projects. I would encourage residents to apply for funding for projects which will enhance the areas in which they live.”

Application forms and full criteria to apply for funding will be available in the near future at: www.rochesterriversidecommunity.com

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