Thanet is one of the most deprived areas of Kent and its health profile shows many indicators of poor health. ‘Footprints in the Sand’ (FITS) was a project coordinated by the Thanet Coast Project from 2011 to 2013, to engage local people of all ages and backgrounds, who may have barriers to accessing the coast due to deprivation issues or disabilities, and help them enjoy the health and education benefits of visiting the Thanet Coast, right at their doorstep.
The project helped raise awareness and increased local’s knowledge of the Thanet Coast and the North East Kent European marine sites (now the NE Kent MPA). The project also aimed at increasing local people’s sense of pride and ownership for their coastal heritage, addressing health inequalities, and developing skills for conserving and promoting Thanet’s coast.
The FITS project partnership was supported by £98,000 over three years by Natural England as part of its Access to Nature programme (funded by £25 million from the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme). One person was employed as a project officer and worked a 4-day week, based within the Thanet Coast Project. Voluntary and partnership ‘in-kind’ contributions also came to over £25,000.