Fundraising for the All Abilities Path has its ups and downs!

3rd December 2021

You may remember that The Friends are fundraising for a 465m long by 2m wide, wheelchair and buggy friendly, usable all year round, path on Rusthall Common.  It will go from St Paul’s Church, taking in the marvellous views along the top of Happy Valley, through to the Beacon and Tea Garden Lane.

The marvellous view at Happy Valley.

First the bad news.  A little while back it looked like we had this fully funded through the generosity of many of you and a couple of other organisations and individuals making substantial contributions.  In this way we had already raised £18,000.  We had every expectation that the National Lottery were going to give us £75,000.  Job done: fully funded to meet the £89,000 cost for the path.  But then we got levelled up, which made us feel very down.  Apparently, giving money to Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons, however, good our cause, does not fit with the government’s “levelling up” agenda. The National Lottery have told us that our bid for money is now dead in the water having been swimming like a dolphin before. 

Existing path, which is not user friendly for everyone.

But there is some good news, Rusthall Parish Council have given the Friends £10,000 towards the cost. (see big smiley faces in the photo above!!). The only caveat is that we must use it to build the path within the next 3 years.  We cannot tell you how thrilled and grateful we are for this wonderful support .The Council clearly sees that the path will be used extensively by, and provide significant well-being benefits for, the community that it represents.  So now we have £28,000 and some £61,000 to go.  We say “some” because the likelihood is that we can expect a price increase on the original £89,000 price.  We also want to raise money for an extra bench or two, including a “happy to chat” bench (which can help to combat loneliness and encourage community interaction), and possibly an extra litter bin.

Proposed style of new path.

We want to see if we can get the funds in place so we can build the path next year once winter is past.  We are quite fortunate in that we haven’t so far felt the need to approach many organisations for funds: quite simply we didn’t think it was going to be necessary.  So now we will be contacting firms, organisations and individuals for support.  If you know of any business, body or person who might share the values behind what we are seeking to do with this path, please speak with them or let us know so that we can contact them.  If you are able to give personally, that would be great too: please contribute directly as follows:

Payee: The Friends of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons

Sort Code: 55-70-13

Account Number: 01028774

Payment Reference: Path

If you are eligible for gift aid, and so can increase your donation by 25%, please email or contact him on 01892 542408.  If you want to help us fund raise please contact or contact John on 07990 973 041.

Don’t the Commons look amazing at the moment?  If through creating this path, we can get more people to enjoy the special places on them, won’t that be something special? Thank you.

John Barber