The Blackthorn café sits at the heart of a project that helps vulnerable people in our community. It has been serving our local community for nearly forty years now, and for those who know us will testify what a magical place it is.

Knowing how important good, whole foods are to our physical and mental wellbeing we make sure our menu is full of fresh and healthy foods,much of which is grown in our beautiful garden.

We are hoping this year to freshen the look and feel of our beloved café making it even more welcoming.

And as we move into Spring we will be changing our menu and making sure to use the beautiful, organic, biodynamic produce from our garden.

But the cafe is more than just a place to eat. It's where we come together as a community to share our stories, meet friends, and to celebrate how fortunate we are to work and  share this space with the surrounding public.

So we hope those of you that already know of us will continue to support this valuable resource. And for those of you that don't know us yet, we hope you will make the journey to visit us and find out for yourself what a hidden gem we are.

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We have said goodbye to some very familiar faces as Blackthorn Medical Centre. 

Dr David McGavin, who has retired from General Practice after many years of service at Blackthorn 



Dr Kiran Chandan, Partner at Blackthorn who is taking on the challenge of Senior Partner at Aylesford Medical Centre 


Both will be sadly missed by patients and staff.  We wish them well in their future endeavours. 


We welcome new members of the reception team, Catherine, Debby and Lorraine and we are saying good bye to Joe H. 



Blackthorn Medical Centre in turbulent times 


In its day, Blackthorn Medical Centre and the charity Blackthorn Trust were a pretty unique combination. We had realised that medical care should involve the local community and especially those with long term conditions who were not really benefitting or developing from technical medicine alone. And, that when medical care works together with the talents of the person, the outcomes are far better. We all need new opportunities and appropriate challenge to realise the meaning and purpose in our lives. And given the right circumstances, all of us with our life experience have something unique to benefit from, in the strengthening of others and the whole.  

So over 3 decades, the two organisations worked together providing standard family medicine, some special 1:1 anthroposophic therapies and sheltered work in Blackthorn Garden. We learned that just because you are disabled in body or perhaps psychologically in your soul, that does not mean that your spirit1 cannot not shine. All sorts of positivity and surprises came to meet us by way of national awards, royal and government visits and ample funding to grow. Evaluations, first by the Kings Fund and later Bristol University, drew attention to our attempts to broaden concepts in mental health, cancer and chronic pain.  

However, over time, Blackthorn has inevitably become less cutting edge. Other projects, also involving the voluntary sector, have now drawn upon the same common-sense ideas and put them to good effect. It has become clear to all, that supporting and promoting the person is at least as important as treating their medical conditions. In the process however, social and caring needs, apart perhaps from the Hospice movement, have subtly drifted away from the medical world mainly toward the domain of the voluntary sector. ‘Social Prescribing’ where doctors ‘signpost’ patients away to other organisations to address their social needs are a good idea and save GP’s time. However, it risks us losing, the personal, the learning, the fun that belonged as part of the old-fashioned GP practice. Online therapies for those with mental health problems may have an evidence-base and do appear to save time and money. However, they don’t bring people together to meet the challenges we realise in mutually seeking answers that inevitably most of us, will need at some time in our lives.  

Money has come to quickly dominate the scene with an acknowledged reputation for quickly changing and improving things. But money belongs to such a deep, dark materialistic tangle of a family itself that without human endeavour, it always fails on its own. It has succeeded now in dangerously dividing and spoiling the fun of our two very old partners and friends, hospitals and nursing homes.  

So, here lie some of the dangers for the future and the call to each of us, whether working within the NHS or benefitting from its services. Not so much to resist what is heading our way. It is too powerful. But rather to modify it to human advantage, by bringing to bear the magic of our own spirituality; to quietly mobilise the courage, the humour and good intention, that lie in each of us, to transform what threatens to sabotage our organisations and get between us as human beings. And, to meet and enjoy the spirit of the other person, on every encounter, whoever they are or may appear to be. OK, we don’t always wake up in the mood. But what if, each day one was to try to let the realisation grow, first of our good fortune to be alive, and then of the privilege to share one’s daily purpose with another gifted person, whichever side of the front desk we stand.  

In this way we, out of ourselves, set something off around us which brings warmth, light and hope to Blackthorn and in a modest way, strength for the whole world. These principles and qualities which bear higher truths, are not earthly ones, but we are built to access them. They have always been striven for by the staff and patients at Blackthorn. That’s why it has always been such a great pleasure for me to work here. 

David McGavin 

January 2023 



Blackthorn Medical Centre DNAs

Appointments DNA at Blackthorn Medical Centre in 2022/2023



























January (2023)