Connect with the people around you. Connect with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Connect at home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Connect with others – join a club or community group
There are clubs and groups for almost every interest and hobby. Kent Libraries maintains a comprehensive database of clubs, societies and community groups across Kent and Medway libraries maintains a database of local clubs and organisations for the Medway area. You can put in your postcode and choose from a selection of categories to find a club or group near to where you live.
Most local councils also maintain directories of community groups. If they don’t they have other information about local events, groups and activities. Some groups appear on more than one database. It might be worth checking the information held by your local council in addition to the Kent-wide directory maintained by Kent Libraries.
'I was at home alone every day but then a neighbour asked me to join him for a game of pool at the pub. Now it’s become a regular thing. We go every Wednesday, buy a pint and have a game of pool. It gets me out of the house – and I think he likes the company. It’s good for both of us.’
The Net is a monthly printed community reference magazine, providing information about local businesses, contact details for local voluntary organisations and publicity about local events.
For younger people, Kent County Council’s website togogo offers young people a quick and easy way to find out about positive activities and opportunities that are available to them in the local area. It contains a directory of clubs, groups, activities, events and resources.
Medway youth service offers a variety of activities, projects and opportunities for young people. Information about what is near you can be found here
Connect with Others – through art, drama and music
‘I have been going to my book group for three years now – and I love it. It sets me up for the rest of the month. We talk, we laugh and we share stories. Someone always brings a nice cake – and sometimes we even remember to talk about the book!’
Art and Crafts
Whether you like dabbling with a paintbrush or fancy trying your hand at pottery. There are clubs, groups and classes across Kent where you will be able to meet others with similar interests. Go to our ‘join a club’ page and find a group near you.
Joining an adult education class can be a great way to meet other people and develop your creative skills. Kent Adult Education runs a wide range of courses.
Start2 is a great website that shows you new ways to approach wellbeing through learning to harness your natural creativity.
Visit the Start2 website.
Whether you fancy belly dancing or ballroom, salsa or ceroc, dancing can be a great way to keep active, meet others – and have some fun!
Dancing in the UK
Dancing in the UK holds a database of dancing schools across Kent.
Kent Adult Education
Kent Adult Education runs dance courses across Kent.
Taking part in drama can be great fun, build confidence and give a real sense of achievement.
National Operatic and Dramatic Association – South East
NODA's website holds a directory of societies, associations and guilds across Kent.
Kent Adult Education
Kent Adult Education runs drama courses across Kent.
Film societies and cinema clubs bring people together through their love of film.
Screen on the Green is an open air cinema experience. Showings take place around Kent throughout the year – and you take your own picnic. Register to go on the mailing list to find out the programme for 2010.
DMG Productions is a group which makes short films. The groups is for people with mental health issues and their carers and involves members in all apects of film making.
Book groups or reading groups
At a book group, people come together to talk about a book they have read and socialise.
In this film clip on KentTV, members of Maidstone Carers’ Project talk about their book group and how their meetings provide them with friendship and time out from the everyday pressures of life.
If there is not a reading group or book club listed for your neighbourhood, contact your local library.
Book Groups Online
There are a number of online forums for people to discuss books and recommend books to others.
You can also submit reviews of books listed on the Medway libraries online catalogue here
Writers’ groups or circles provide people who enjoy writing a chance to talk about their work and support each other.
Directory of Writers' Circles, Courses and Workshops
This website lists writers’ circles in the South East including a number of groups that meet in Kent.
The National Association of Writers’ Groups
This website has a list of writing groups across the UK.
Kent Adult Education
Kent Adult Education runs creative writing courses across Kent.
Medway Writers Groups
Medway adult learning offeres courses in creative writing as part of their lifestyle learning package, click here for more information
Medway Libraries - Writers
Medway libraries offer advice to writers in Medway, click here for more information
Music and Singing
Singing or making music with others is great fun and is a good way to make friends.
Making Music South East
Making Music exists to help voluntary music-making flourish in the UK. Making Music South East supports music-making organisations in South East England. It has a directory of music groups, singing groups and choirs to help you find a singing or music group near you.
Singing Groups - Sidney De Haan Research Centre
Across Eastern and Coastal Kent, singing groups meet weekly. People get together to sing traditional and popular songs with a skilled group leader. The groups are run by the Sidney De Haan Research Centre which is undertaking research on singing for wellbeing and health. All singing abilities are welcome – even if you think you can’t sing! To find your local group and for more information contact:
Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts & Health University Centre Folkestone, Mill Bay, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 1JG
Tel: 01303 220870
Sing for your Life – Silver Song Clubs
Sing For Your Life is a registered charity which aims to improve quality of life, health and wellbeing for older people through participation in musical activities.
Its runs Silver Song Clubs across Kent which provide a regular session of social and community music making for older people. If you would like to join a club or are interested in becoming a volunteer, contact:
Sing For Your Life Shepway Business Centre, Shearway Business Park, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 4RH
Tel: 01303 298546 / 298549
Hazlitt Community Choir, Hazlitt Arts Centre, Maidstone
Membership of the choir costs £20 for 10 weeks, which equates to £2 a week. The choir meets every Wednesday in the Exchange Studio at the Hazlitt Arts Centre (Rose Yard entrance) from 7pm–9pm and there’s still room for more members. It is for all abilities – and the emphasis is on having fun. For more information email Natalie Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the arts centre on 01622 753 922
Kent Adult Education
Kent Adult Education runs music and singing courses across Kent.
Connect with Others – through your faith and beliefs
Many people find that their faith, religion or beliefs provide them with a great sense of mental wellbeing and inner calm. Being part of a faith community, can create a sense of belonging and can be a good way of making friends. We have listed some of the main religions and faiths together with website links so that you can meet others who share your beliefs.
Bahá'ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the nature and purpose of life and of the future of society. Such a vision unfolds in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'ís have regular meetings for worship and social and educational activities for children, youth and adults. Open to all.
Buddhism is a spiritual tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life. Buddhism teaches that all life is interconnected, so compassion is natural and important.
Christianity is the world's biggest religion, with about 2.1 billion followers worldwide. It is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Church of England
Eastern Orthodox Churches
Seventh-day Adventist Church
United Reform Church
Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. It also exists among significant populations outside of the sub continent and has over 900 million adherents worldwide.
Islam began in Arabia and was revealed to humanity by the Prophet Muhammad. Those who follow Islam are called Muslims.
Judaism is one of the oldest monotheistic religions and was founded over 3500 years ago in the Middle East. Jews believe that God appointed the Jews to be his chosen people in order to set an example of holiness and ethical behaviour to the world.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded in 19th century America and has over 12 million members world-wide. Mormonism has been present in the UK since 1837 and has currently 190,000 members.
Paganism describes a group of contemporary religions based on a reverence for nature. These faiths draw on the traditional religions of indigenous peoples throughout the world. Wiccans, Druids, Shamans, Sacred Ecologists, Odinists and Heathens all make up parts of the Pagan community.
Sikhism was founded in the Punjab by Guru Nanak in the 15th Century CE and is a monotheistic religion.
Spiritualism is a religion that gives an understanding of God and encourages us to act with a high sense of duty towards others. Spiritualism stimulates spiritual growth and prepares us for eternal existence in the spirit-world.
Taoism is an ancient tradition of philosophy and religious belief that is deeply rooted in Chinese customs and worldview. It is also referred to as Daoism.
Unitarianism is an open-minded and individualistic approach to faith that gives scope for a very wide range of beliefs and doubts. Religious freedom is at its heart. Unitarianism can therefore include people who are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Pagan and Atheist for example.
Connect with Others – through a love of nature
We live in a beautiful county. There are ancient woodlands, dramatic coastlines and rolling hills. There are plenty of places to go and things to do if you want to connect with other people through your love of nature.
‘I’m not really one for groups or clubs, but after I bought my dog, I found that I bumped into the same fellow dog walkers every day. We all tend to visit the park at the same time – and started saying hello. Now we chat about each other’s dogs and a couple of us have decided to join a dog training class.’
There are clubs, groups and classes across Kent where you will be able to meet others with similar interests.
TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) Kent has information about its conservation work and tells you how you can become involved. Volunteering is good way of connecting with others who share similar interests.
Groundwork Kent and Medway
Groundwork Kent and Medway works with local communities to create or improve community gardens, parks, play areas, footpaths and natural spaces. They have projects in different parts of the county.
Kent High Weald Partnership
Kent High Weald Partnership works with the whole community aiming to 'link the local community and the countryside, by raising awareness and encouraging action'.
Kent Wildlife Trust
The Kent Wildlife Trust manages over 60 reserves covering more than 3,000 hectares of land for wildlife including over 55 miles of roadside reserve. Check out its website to find out about volunteering opportunities.
Medway Urban Parks and Green Spaces Forum
This forum has been set up in partnership between Groundwork Kent and Medway and Medway Council. The website contains information about Medway-based volunteer groups that work to maintain and improve urban parks and green spaces across Medway. Medway council also manages and develops parks, recreation grounds and other green spaces and provides opportunities for everyone to access them. For more information, click here
Visit Kent has information about the Kent countryside, including woodland walks and nature trails.
Walking and Cycling with Others
Our Be active page has information about walking and cycling in Kent, including information about walking groups, HealthWalks and cycling groups.