From the Kent Association of Local Council’s Newsletter March 2023:
International Women’s Day is important to us all. This year, the theme is #EmbraceEquity. KALC has been supporting the Day for some years now.
We asked our members to nominate women in their communities who have inspired others with work and engagement that has gone above and beyond. Your replies were brilliant and we are pleased to announce our winners here:
Gaye Thomas MBE, Parish Clerk at Sandgate Parish Council. Her nomination mentions her enthusiasm for breathing new live into the very well used library in the village. Her residents say she is inspiring and always willing to help in the community.KALCNewsMarch2023_Compress
Parish Chairman Tim Prater said:
This is a really worthy award, and we’re proud of Gaye, and delighted to see her work recognised.
Gaye first joined Sandgate as Deputy Clerk and became Parish Clerk in January 2017.
Aside from regular Clerk duties, which Gaye handles with ability and aplomb, Sandgate is unique in Kent in running Sandgate Library on an agency basis for Kent County Council.
That allows us to have more control of opening hours, to utilise volunteers to keep the service running and support users, manage and share the use of our premise which is a library, meeting space and Parish Council office.
We simply could not have contemplated taking this service on in 2016 without having Gaye on board who is a qualified librarian with over 20 years experience in London libraries. She has helped manage and shape our service, training and supporting volunteers, liaising with Kent Libraries and working at every level, from facilities management to singing the Wheels on the Bus with 2 year olds at “Rhyme Time”.
In Sandgate’s time running our library we have extended opening hours where other libraries have seen their cut. During Covid, Sandgate Library was always one of the earliest “re-openers” at each stage of relaxing lockdown, with many larger and similar sized libraries remaining closed for months whilst we were open. In addition Sandgate offered “click and collect” and delivery services to local residents.
Through the course of the last 12 months, Gaye has also led the refurbishment of the library, designed to make the library a more accessible and inclusive space, feel warmer and more welcoming, and better support a wide range of uses through more flexible layouts.
Having in the last 2 years gained her Ilca qualification, Gaye has just started her Cilca as she wants to ensure we achieve Quality Council status.
Sandgate would simply be the poorer without her.