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Warming community spirits at Ramsgate’s first ‘Winter Wotsit’

Warmed cider paired with festive food and music were enjoyed by residents of Ramsgate’s East Cliff neighbourhood who were celebrating a year of achievements at their ‘Winter Wotsit’ - a modern version of the medieval ritual known as a ‘Winter Wassail.’

Festive fun ... Gary Storer, Placemaking & Partnerships Manager at Orbit with one of the Winter Wassail volunteers

Warmed cider paired with festive food and music were enjoyed by residents of Ramsgate’s East Cliff neighbourhood who were celebrating a year of achievements at their ‘Winter Wotsit’ - a modern version of the medieval ritual known as a ‘Winter Wassail.’

Sunday’s community event was organised by East Cliff Community Group and was staged at Ramsgate’s tunnels that were used in WWII as an air raid shelter.

“Our Winter Wotsit was a celebratory event that enabled people to come together,” said Gary Storer, Placemaking and Partnerships Manager with Orbit’s Community Investment Team.

The East Cliff Community Group was founded by Orbit, one of the largest housing groups in the country, in partnership with Town & Country Housing, Ramsgate Town Team and Ramsgate Town Council.

“We made a small charge for the mulled cider and the proceeds will be divided between the local homeless shelter and our residents group,” Gary explained. “More than 100 people came to our festive occasion and it was wonderful to see, although we had to move locations because of threatened bad weather. Originally, a Winter Wassail describes an ancient Christmastide drinking ceremony. However, so many residents thought wassail sounded like ‘wotsit’ - we decided to rename our event.”

The Winter Wotsit was an opportunity to celebrate a year of achievement that has seen the East Cliff Community Group organise ‘grotspot’ clean-ups to remove litter and deliver their midsummer festival.

Gary added: “This year residents have worked in partnership with other agencies including the community interest company ‘Our Kitchen’ that provided the food at the Winter Wotsit from donated supplies. During the summer Our Kitchen provided meals for up to 600 local children during the holiday period.”