Quex gardens is a treasured local site that is inclusive and accessible. It is a safe, beautiful place for the education and recreation of all, a place of purpose, both historic and current, with strong links to the local community.

We are thrilled to announce the receipt of a generous grant from the AIM Connected Communities fund which will enable the Sunshine Project to take significant strides in fostering high-quality volunteering opportunities, community engagement, and social connectivity, with a specific focus on individuals with learning disabilities and/or mental health challenges. 

This project is funded until 31st January 2025.  

Project Goals:

  • Improved accessibility to volunteering opportunities: The project will create a welcoming environment that caters to diverse needs, ensuring that volunteering opportunities are accessible to all.
  • Strengthened organizational relationships: The Powell-Cotton Museum will forge stronger ties with local institutions and other partners engaged in similar work, fostering a sense of unity and collaboration.
  • Reduced risk of loneliness: By offering engaging programs and support, the Sunshine Project will contribute to reduced loneliness among its participants.
  • Increased levels of social connections: The project will promote social interactions, fostering a sense of belonging and connectedness within the community.

Artist in Residence

A new programme of artist led workshops will help bring different communities together to create collaborative interventions and installations that can be displayed within the gardens and museum. Local artist Julia Ellen Lancaster has previously worked with some of the community groups already attending the gardens, and has been approached to run a 12 month residency program.  

I’m so thrilled and looking forward to being ‘Artist in Residence’ at Powell Cotton Museum and Gardens over the next year. It’s a real opportunity to respond to the incredible inspiration that Museums can offer. Working with our hands, making and creating is such a natural and human thing to do, something that many of us can be detached from in an age of technology.

Social and therapeutic horticulture

Funding will support specialist training and consultancy advice from Thrive; a charity that has over 40 years’ experience of an approach called social and therapeutic horticulture, where trained horticultural therapists work with plants and people to improve an individual’s physical and psychological health, communication and social skills. Thrive will be commissioned on a short-term consultancy to assess and advise the best use of the gardens for social and therapeutic horticulture, as well as deliver on-site training for 2 days for the project staff, volunteers, and care group leaders from the user groups already attending the gardens. Training and Education Officer at Thrive, Neil Wilcox, said

Thrive are delighted to be involved in this project with the Powell-Cotton Museum, delivering consultancy and training to help support the delivery of Social & Therapeutic Horticulture at their site. This scheme will help to realise this for people in the Thanet District.

AIM Connected Communities is administered by Arts Council England.

Project Team

Photograph of a white female with fair skin tone and blonde hair in a pony tail. Wearing a dark blue baseball cap, with white writing on the front saying, Powell-Cotton Museum Quex House & Gardens. A slightly lighter blue scarf and dark blue sweatshirt with white writing across the front to one side saying, Powell-Cotton Museum Quex House & Gardens. Blurred green foliage is in the back round.

Sue Harris

Head Gardener

Powell-Cotton Museum

Joe Vary

Assistant Gardener

Powell-Cotton Museum

Photograph of a white male positioned in a slightly sideways pose. The male has brown eyes and rectangular glasses with a little stubble and is smiling. He is wearing a dark blue cap with White writing on the front saying Powell-Cotton Museum Quex house and Gardens. A dark blue polo style t-shirt and an unzipped, dark blue hooded jumper.

Mark Bates

Gardens Maintenance Officer

Powell-Cotton Museum

Sarah-Jayne Rufaeel

Gardens Community Engagement Officer

Powell-Cotton Museum