The Rochester Christmas Lights Legacy Fund

by Rochester City Centre Forum in Rochester, Medway, United Kingdom

The Rochester Christmas Lights Legacy Fund

Total raised £25,750

raised so far



To provide Christmas lights in Rochester this year, and to provide a fund to ensure 'The Home of Christmas' has lighting every year.

by Rochester City Centre Forum in Rochester, Medway, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

All monies not used to provide the Christmas lights for 2023 will be ring fenced and invested in new and expanded lighting for future years. Our aim is for Rochester - its stakeholders and residents - to 'own' the Christmas lighting and ensure that, no matter what the financial position of current and future local government, the lighting that does so much to create the 'Christmas atmosphere' in Rochester is safe and will grow and evolve into the future.

UPDATED Friday 20th October

The Rochester Christmas Lights improvement project has existed for several years, led by the Rochester City Centre Forum, working with guidance from Council officers.

The lights did not cover all the High Street and some of the fixings were faulty or unsuitable, and did not meet the latest regulations. They were originally funded as long ago as 1979 by local traders, and in more recent years the Council took over. However, with improvement costs outstripping budgets, the existing lighting has not been modernised for some time.

Recently, due to further budget constraints, the Council had to pull out their support altogether so, faced with a bleak Christmas in Rochester, we responded rapidly!

The Rochester Christmas Lights Legacy Fund was launched to reinvigorate the whole project and create something even Charles Dickens himself would have been proud of.

Always bear in mind – our High Street is where a five year old Dickens fell in love with ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ when his parents brought him and his elder sister to Rochester for their first ‘proper’ Christmas in December 1817. Twenty Six years later, as a hugely successful novelist disillusioned with the way people had forgotten what Christmas should mean to all, he wrote the book which changed everything – A Christmas Carol.

Rochester is literally where Christmas, as we all know and celebrate it today, began.

Our Aims:

The aims are simple: This year, to provide new CROSS STREET MOTIF lighting (friezes which span across the street) at each end of the High Street (near the bridge and at Star Hill), but to also to work towards long term sustainability, later bringing all the lighting up to modern standards covering as much of our late-city as possible.

Moving into 2024 and beyond, we will work towards a complete, sympathetic redesign of the lighting from end to end. 

Although the Council has obtained sponsorship to keep the existing lights for this year, the underlying issues and the lack of a ring-fenced funds to take this project into the future could well see us back to square one next year. 

The Rochester Christmas Lights Legacy Fund will be able to step in where necessary to deliver Christmas lights for all visitors.

Working together:

Support for the Legacy Fund has been extraordinary and shows your love for Rochester!  Everyone, regardless of how much or how little they could help, will be acknowledged.

The initial target was reached in hours, and we have already met our initial stretch target. We will increase the target as necessary during this round of crowdfunding, which ends on 10th November.

Medway Council are now working in partnership with us to deliver the legacy's objectives: the cross street motifs for 2023, and the new end to end lighting for 2024.

The next steps:

A site survey has already been carried out, presented to and approved in principle by the relevant departments within Medway Council.  Provided no unforeseen hurdles are encountered, it will be possible to have these installed for THIS CHRISTMAS. 

We are working closely with GALA LIGHTING in Aylesford to expedite the production process. We are confident we can take delivery in time.

Already, a Board of Contributors (rather like Trustees) is being assembled with a Treasurer and Legal Adviser already on board, who will be responsible for ensuring we have a governance policy in place covering due diligence, procurement processes and financial management in the next few weeks.

We welcome all applications from members of the local community, both business and resident, to be Board members. If you wish to express your interest in helping steer the future direction of the Rochester Christmas Lights, please email us at: [email protected]

Once all the formal work has been done, we can concentrate on what can be provided for Christmas 2024. We know for most of you reading this that is a long way off. But design, surveys, compliance with health & safety - and affordability  - etc all take time – and Christmas never moves! So we have to make sure everything is in place to bring wonder to the faces of our visitors in 12 months time – NOW.

We hope this has given you an overview of where we are at time of writing (20th Oct 2023). 

The position will change fairly rapidly over the next few weeks, but the main aim is still and shall remain to safeguard the Christmas Lights in Rochester well into the future, to give the community a real sense of involvement and ownership, as well as supporting Medway Council to give them space to focus on their important tasks: maintaining essential services.

As plans develop, they will be shared here, so do look again from time to time.

The Rochester Christmas Lights truly belong to YOU, now and in the future. Thank you so much for your generosity and continued support.

Show your support

Payment and personal details are protected