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F&HDC Ward Grant Funding and the Folkestone Channel Triathlon 2020

Each year, Folkestone and Hythe District Councillors get £3,000 of grant funding that they can use to support organisations, activities and projects that benefit the area.

One of the events that Gary Fuller and I backed with grant funding in 2019-20 was the Folkestone Channel Triathlon, which we were delighted to see go ahead.

We were really pleased to get a report from Co-ordinator Joe Sullivan on this years Triathlon and how it went, which I publish below with his permission.

You can learn more about the F&HDC Ward grant scheme and how to apply to your ward Councillor at:

https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/community/community-funding/ward-budget Please note however that funds get allocated very fast: both Gary and I have already allocated the majority of our funding for this year to a variety of applicants.

FOLKESTONE CHANNEL TRIATHLON 2020

Throughout the three years of its existence the support I have found for the Channel Triathlon in our District has been amazing. Whoever or whenever I ask for support it is offered so willingly. This year two professional event organisers living in north Kent whom I had never met - one still not - answered my call for help and quite literally enabled the event to continue. Their help was given without the substantial fees paid for these services in other years. This is reflected in the fantastic outcome this year for charity.

This note is a thank you to all who helped the third Channel Triathlon which took place on Sunday September 13th and was another very successful event. The challenges of the year caused much uncertainty which led to a lower number of participants than previous years. This was mainly due to lack of training but fear of the virus is still a real factor.

We were pleased therefore that approximately 120 athletes booked for the various disciplines which the event offers.

Every aspect of planning was reviewed to comply with current Covid-19 guidance creating a comfortable environment for all who took part and helped.

The benefits to the Town and the District from the triathlon are many. In addition to raising funds for charity directly we encourage athletes to use the event as an opportunity to raise sponsorship for their own favourite causes. Early indications are that Channel Rotary and through the Rotary club, Mind and Shepway Sports Trust's mental health initiative will share approximately £10,000 raised by the event. We know that others raised funds also.

Once again this year many local athletes did their first triathlon in the Channel Tri. We encourage teams to participate as a relay event. This was very successful and hopefully will encourage athletes to try a full triathlon in the future. The health benefits are obvious.

A triathlon is an expensive and complicated event to stage. It had British Triathlon Federation approval again this year which ensures that we aim for the highest standards in all areas of planning and caring for athletes. The guidance from BTF in Covid risk assessment gave valued additional support.

As you'll appreciate Channel Rotary could not justify risking its charity funds to stage the event so it would not be possible without the support of so many organisations and businesses in the community. Channel Rotary normally distributes about £20k each year locally. In the last year that fund reached 40 different beneficiaries in our community. This year the triathlon has been the only way so far to raise funds at a time when need is far greater than usual.

The seed money from the Roger DeHaan Charitable Trust and the free use of the wider Harbour area are essential. The financial support from the Town and District and County Councils and the help from the District Council in numerous ways is so important. The Events Department, Parks, Car parking, street cleaning, even business rates departments all removing little barriers to success.

The support of the Folkestone Rescue Service and canoeists from the Rowing Club and volunteers provide safety for the swimmers. The Triathlon could not happen without them so we are pleased to be able to support the Rowing Club financially in a small way in return.

We are extremely grateful to the approximately 70 volunteer marshals necessary for the smooth running of the event. They create a great atmosphere of encouragement and celebration which is valued by the athletes.

"None of our team had gone near a triathlon before and were all incredibly complimentary on how the organisation and support made them feel part of the day and that they belonged- especially alongside some great athletes in the field."

Local businesses, in particular FAS (Financial Advice & Services), Saga, Jenner, Waitrose, Reina Group, Romney Cycles and The Sign Shop, made contributions not only financial but by support in kind for the infrastructure required for the smooth running of the day. All the large local employers help to promote the Tri through their internal networks.

We market the event to over 50 media outlets to reach the widest possible audience. We are grateful to all the local radio stations for their support.

The Harbour, Folkestone and the District offer a wonderful venue for a triathlon and the Channel Tri is the perfect showcase. Many triathlons do not include the challenge of a sea swim. The Sunny Sands and the protection of the Harbour Arm offer a safe option for an open water swim.

The cycle climb out to Acrise in our picturesque countryside is a further challenge appreciated by the athletes. The run through the Coastal Park is a treat at the end.

Sadly this year we had to encourage athletes to disperse quickly after their race because of the Virus but I am sure many could not resist a pint on the on the Harbour Arm as part of their warm down.

"I really enjoyed the race, it's great to have a course which has hills for once and not totally flat."

Sadly, also, we were directed to not encourage spectators but that did not deter many from the busy Harbour Arm getting drawn into the spectacle that a triathlon is.

It is truly a community effort which attracts national interest.

Thank you for the part you have played in making it possible.

We are already working on our next Triathlon on Sunday 5th September 2021.

The charities supported this year are:

  • Mind.
  • Shepway Sports Trust
  • Channel Rotary's local fund.
  • Folkestone Rescue
  • The Rowing Club
  • Kent MS Therapy Centre
  • Unused resources donated to local charities.

"Must be, thank you. I do think where the race located it could hold the National Championships potentially in the future."

"Thank you again for your determination to make sure the day went ahead and was a huge success."

Hi. Thanks for putting on the triathlon today, it was great to get a race this year under the current climate so much appreciated…………….great medals. See you next year!

When all the bills are paid it is estimated that 2020 Tri has raised £10,000 for charity.

On behalf of President Malcolm Steward, Channel Rotary and especially from me, many thanks for your great support and interest. We appreciate it very much.