His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester spent the day in Kent on 2nd April. The visit started at –
Kent Institute of Medicine & Surgery (KIMS)
Six years in the planning, KIMS is a state-of-the-art, £85 million hospital development covering seven acres of land and is the first occupier on the Medical Campus. As an independently-owned private tertiary hospital it will offer services to the NHS by agreement with the local hospital trusts and NHS commissioning bodies. KIMS will serve a catchment area of 1.7 million patients, and more than 300 clinicians will practice at the hospital.
The hospital has 101 beds including 7 critical care beds, 5 operating theatres, state of the art diagnostics, 2 interventional cardiac labs and 16 consulting rooms.
This is the first independent hospital with the infrastructure to undertake complex specialist procedures in Kent. The patients requiring certain heart, cancer and brain/spine treatments will no longer have to travel to London for treatment as they do now. KIMS has undertaken to provide at least 25% of the capacity for NHS patients. The location in Maidstone provides easy access to all of Kent patients as well as Consultant Specialists. Following a tour of the KIMS HRH opened the building which is to receive its first patients shortly.
Next stop on the agenda was –
Mote Park Fellowship Volunteers
Mote Park is a former deer park and was the centre of an estate that dates back to 1267. Mote House stands fully restored in the centre of 460 acres of truly diverse parkland that boasts some rare flora and fauna, adjacent to Maidstone town centre.
The Park is now in public ownership and managed by Maidstone Borough Council. It has many facilities and clubs including 3 play areas, an 18 hole pitch and putt course, miniature railway, model boat club, fishing club and its own water sports centre. Mote Park is a public park that is free to visit and attracts around 1.4 million visitors a year.
The Mote Park Fellowship maintain the streams and river that flow through the park. Mote Park Fellowship works with the Medway Valley Country Partnership, playing a key part in the organisation and delivery of the improvements to the River Len for fish. This includes creating reed beds for fish to breed, clearing obstructions and introducing falls and pools to create a better habitat for wildlife and improve the flow.
Volunteers maintain the parks woodlands, clearing glades and maintaining the woodland paths. A large amount of tree works has been carried out by volunteers including tree planting, tree pit maintenance, clearance of fallen trees and limbs, scrub clearance and crown lifting hundreds of parkland trees. Volunteers also carry out many other maintenance roles, including fencing and caring for the herbaceous borders.
The Mote Park Fellowship plays an integral part in the organisation and delivery of Mote Park events. Volunteers have helped to deliver large events including, Children’s BBC Mr Blooms big day out, a kite festival, BBC stargazing LIVE, teddy bears picnics, open air theatres and play days.
They also facilitate guided walks on many diverse subjects. During his visit HRH received a briefing on the work of The Mote Park Volunteers and subsequently met a number of volunteers before planting a tree.
Parents is the Word
The final visit of HRH’s tour was to Parents is The Word. The Group has been running for approximately 2 years set up by Chairwoman Ms Jade Webster. All those involved are volunteers being local parents that have lived in Park Wood for most of their lives and wanting to make the area a better place to live.
The group reaches out to everyone in the local Community that wish to come along and find out more about the work they do. They offer various workshops and courses which enable people to participate in decision making and give them a voice for their own community.
Their aim is to turn the Park Wood community around to make it a brighter, better place to live. They have created a sense of trust and resilience for local residents, which has created more openness and opportunities for services to truly engage with their residents. Before leaving HRH was presented with a Toad House for his garden.