We are always looking for ideas for new projects that can benefit our community.
Do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions or would like to get involved in what we are already doing. We particularly welcome volunteers to help out at our many events – they wouldn’t happen without their help! Email email@example.com if you’re interested.
2023 has already been a busy year, building on the success of previous years’ events. We kicked off in early March with the inaugural Otford Antiques Road Show, with three experts on hand to give valuations – and home made cake for those awaiting their turn. Then following on from the hugely successful Great Village Jubilee Barbecue last year, nearly a thousand people turned out to be fed, watered and entertained at the Great Village Coronation Barbecue on May 8th. Once again the sun shone and King Charles’ coronation was celebrated on the village green with a great sense of community. This year’s well attended Annual General Meeting took place on 24th May, and in June we plan to run our third annual summer Garden Party. This time it will take place in the beautiful garden of Troutbeck, one of Otford’s hidden treasures right on the River Darent. We hope that like last year’s it will be blessed by a gloriously fine evening. The village’s first ever Christmas Fayre on November 19th of last year attracted visitors from all around the area, with craft stalls in the High Street, festive food, entertainment, family activities and Santa in his Grotto in Otford Palace. Preparations are already underway for the Christmas Fayre 2023!
And this year, as well as having a stall (and running the ever-popular Wheel of Fortune) at the Otford Village Fete, the Otford Society took a leading role in preparing for the day and organising volunteers to help out. From 2023 the Fete has come under the charity umbrella of the Otford Society.
All our events, as well as others taking place in the village, are listed in our online calendar. Regular updates are posted on our social media and website.
Improving our village
The Otford Society is actively supporting STOCS (Sevenoaks to Otford Cycling Scheme) in planning a safe everyday cycling route linking Otford and Sevenoaks.
The aim is to reduce traffic on the roads and address local parking problems by making daily shopping, commuting and leisure trips safe for all the family. Many parents of older children would love to give their children more independence by allowing them to cycle to school – if only there was a safe route!
Political support is building for the scheme and a growing number of local organisations, schools and businesses are lining up behind the proposals. A crowdfunding campaign will soon be launched to raise the money for a properly costed feasibility study via crowdfunding – watch this space!
It is hoped that Otford will eventually become a hub for safe recreational cycling.
Want to get involved? Email us
Promoting the railway
We are also taking a leading role in the improvements to Otford Station funded by the Darent Valley Community Rail Partnership. Part of a nationwide grassroots initiative, the DVCRP aims to promote sustainable, healthy and accessible travel and support social and economic development in the communities it serves. We hope it will bring lots more visitors to Otford! Want to be a Friend of Otford Station? Email us. And keep up with what we’re doing by signing up to our blog. The station has also hosted regular monthly popup stalls run by members of the Otford Craft Guild.
To celebrate those who make a significant contribution to the life of our village, the Otford Society invites nominations for this bi-yearly award. It can be a neighbour, a local businessperson, or even someone who until recently was a complete stranger – that person who goes the extra mile to support our community. Send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. In 2022 awards were made to Sue Stephenson and Robert Hunt, and most recently in May 2023 the popular village vote went to our local pharmacist, Mr Shafi.
Spreading the Warmth
In the hard winter of 2022-23, the Otford Society worked with local churches and other organisations to offer everyone a warm place that they could visit, drink tea and meet others, on most days of the week.
In February 2023 a defibrillator was purchased for the much-used Memorial Hall with funds raised at the annual Village Fete. On March 4th a team from the local ambulance service ran a series of demonstrations on CPR techniques and how to use the defibrillator. Every session was booked out and it was pronounced extremely worthwhile by all who attended.
Celebrating the seasons
One of our very first projects back at the end of 2020 set out to lift the community’s spirits as we entered the second Covid lockdown. The tradition has continued with Christmas lights illuminating the village every year since. In 2022 we had our hugely successful Christmas Fayre, involving the whole village and, thanks to support from Otford Parish Council, a splendid 20 foot tree on the Green.
Following the success of two previous Easter trails for children, in 2023 the team devised the Otford EGGxtravaganza. Egg-animals were hidden all around the village and hundreds of chocolate eggs were presented to the under 10s who counted them. We thank three participating village businesses, Mille Fleurs, Fine & Country and Ibbett Mosely for distributing these. This is clearly now an annual event.
Our past projects
The Society was originally formed to represent village interests during the planning of the M26. It then went on to support and lead a great many other village projects. These included:
- the restoration of the village pond and St Bartholomew’s tower
- refurbishing and equipping two children’s playgrounds
- installing the signs to enforce speed limits
- providing First Aid defibrillators at key locations in the village
- overseeing the execution of our village Millennium Mosaic which charts the village’s long history
- planting a ‘heritage orchard’ of six heritage apple trees in Palace Field
- installing the Otford Palace interpretation boards
- supporting the whole Otford Heritage Trail throughout the village
After re-forming in mid-2020, the Society launched several projects aimed at supporting the community during the pandemic. Christmas trees were donated to all the businesses in the village, and a highly successful ‘snow globe trail’ for children was created.
The Otford Society can help make a real difference to our lives.
We will be here to represent your views on wider matters which could affect our future: the new Otford traffic scheme, Government proposals to change planning regulations which would affect us greatly, and the effects of plans being proposed by our close neighbour, Sevenoaks Town.
We are here for you.
We may be a small community, but we have a BIG voice.