A PUBLIC-spirited Gravesend trio have been thanked for their community work in an estate dubbed "rat island".

Minister for civil society Nick Hurd visited The Riverside Centre on January 30 to hear from Northcourt estate residents the impact three community organisers have had in the area.

Paddy Bates, Hannah Terry and Marc Canton are funded by the Office of Civil Society and have been trained to encourage local people to work together and make their community a better place to live.

Mr Bates said: "It’s been a pleasure to meet the minister today and hear the residents tell him about all the fantastic things that they have achieved in less than 10 months.

"It was also great to hear the local police, fire brigade and council talking about the positive impact the residents involved have helped to make in the reduction of antisocial behaviour in Northcourt."

Mr Hurd added: "I am proud to say that the residents and community organisers have restored pride to a community that had previously been named 'rat island'."