You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2012.

Brompton Westbrook Primary School in Gillingham has been rated as outstanding for leadership and management by Ofsted inspectors.

The overall rating for the school is now good, following a previous Ofsted rating of satisfactory at its last inspection in December 2010. More

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NHS Kent and Medway is reminding people to make sure they have enough medication to last them over Christmas and New Year, and pick up repeat prescriptions in plenty of time if they need them. It is also a good idea to check on medicine cabinet essentials now, such as over-the-counter cough, cold, flu and indigestion remedies, plasters and a thermometer, to avoid running out over the festive season.

While there is pharmacy cover on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day (full details below), it is much easier to be prepared. More

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award 2012. Today’s announcement from the Cabinet Office has given the charity the opportunity to thank all its volunteers for all their hard work and dedication to help save lives at sea.

The charity, which relies on volunteers to carry out its lifesaving work and who form 95% of its workforce, is one of just 60 organisations to receive this one-off award. The category that was added to the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in order to mark the Diamond Jubilee and Olympic year.

In a nomination submitted by long-term RNLI supporters, actor Timothy Spall and his wife Shane, the charity’s volunteers were described as ‘what is ‘Great’ about Britain.’ The Spalls went on to say: ‘They are an inspiration, and have our eternal gratitude and respect.’

Volunteers have been at the heart of the RNLI since its inception in 1824; its 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members are on call 24/7, launching whatever the weather and often in the hours of darkness to help those in danger around the UK and the Republic of Ireland. In addition, volunteer lifeguards work alongside paid lifeguards to help keep beach-users safe and educate those who visit the coast. Specially-trained Flood Rescue Teams are also ready to deploy to any instances of inland flooding. None of this would be possible without thousands more dedicated volunteers who give their time to raise funds and awareness, give safety advice and help out in museums, shops and offices across the country

Paul Boissier, RNLI Chief Executive, said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to receive this prestigious award, and for our selfless volunteers to be recognised for their commitment and dedication in this Diamond Jubilee year.

‘Our volunteers come from all walks of life and are united by one common goal; an unfaltering commitment to help save lives at sea. From the volunteer crews and lifeguards who are at the forefront of rescues to the people who give up their time to raise vital funds. I am not only proud to be part of the charity but inspired by so many ordinary people doing extraordinary things’.

Martyn Lewis CBE, Chairman, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award Committee, said:

“The sixty organisations honoured today with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award for Volunteering have built their success on the dedication and generosity of thousands of extraordinary people, each of whom has devoted their time and energy to the simple aim of making their communities – and their country – a better place.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said:

“The list of recipients of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award for Volunteering reads like a Who’s Who of British volunteering and is testament to the enduring strength and immeasurable contribution of volunteers over the past sixty years.”

“2012 brought volunteering firmly, and deservedly, into the spotlight. The stories behind these awards show what people can achieve when they come together and I hope they will inspire more people to come forward to contribute, and to gain from, all that volunteering offers.”

RNLI lifeboat crew member Gavin Steeden and volunteer lifeguard Chris Lewis will be representing the charity at a small presentation being held by the Cabinet Office at Whitehall this evening (12 December).

Gavin said: ‘I have grown up with the RNLI and volunteer alongside my dad, brother and friends – it is part of who I am and what I love. It is a great honour to be recognised for what we do, and I am really proud to be representing not only my own station in Swanage but all the volunteers who are part of the charity.’ More

gads carolsThe sleigh bells are ringing and the halls are decked – yes, it’s Christmas time. But with only fourteen days left to get the Christmas shopping done some of us may feel like yelling ‘Bah Humbug!’ More

‘Throwing Snowballs On The Thames’ is just one of the works painted by artist Chris Billington especially for the Blake Gallery at The Woodville, Gravesend.

There are 22 paintings in the exhibition that embrace the colours of Christmas including the titles ‘Oh Christmas Tree’, ‘Christmas Under The Clock Tower, Gravesham’ and We Three Cosmic Kings’

Cornwall based abstract artist Chris Billington said ‘To be invited to paint for this exhibition and to return to Gravesend for the first time in 40 years, has been an absolute delight for me . Through these paintings I have rediscovered my love for the area and there is a strong element of Kent in a lot of the work.’

The Colours Of Christmas exhibition will be on show until the 28 December 2012

Entrance to the Blake Gallery is Free.

Innovative care for people with serious long-term health conditions in Kent and Medway is attracting national attention and praise.

Sir John Oldham, the national NHS Lead for Long-Term Conditions, visited Kent to learn more about the proactive approach locally to improving people’s health. More

Age UK has today launched a search for its Internet Champion of the Year for 2013, with the aim of inspiring the 824,000 people in the South East who have never been online.

The charity is looking for someone aged 55+ whose life has been changed for the better by learning to use the internet. The aim of the search is to demonstrate that with benefits such as keeping in touch with loved ones, making savings and pursuing hobbies, the Web isn’t just for computer geeks or young people but has benefits for everyone.

However, 31% of older people say they do not use the internet because they feel they have ‘no need for it’[ii], whilst 24% say they are ‘too old to use the internet’[iii]. The Internet Champion will inspire older people to get online by showing them how it enhanced their life and demonstrating that the benefits of the web are open to everyone, whatever their age.

Brenda O’Mulloy, 83, from Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire, who is Age UK’s joint Internet Champion for 2012, is urging people to put themselves forward to be the 2013 Champion, saying: “I took up the internet on my 75th Birthday. My husband had passed away a few months after we moved to a new area, so my son bought me a computer to ensure that I wasn’t left alone and it has changed my life.

“The first thing I do in the morning is turn on my computer and check my emails. It’s fantastic to have the world at your fingertips and to have the ability to chat with friends and family so easily. It’s been great sharing my passion for all that the internet offers during my time as Internet Champion and encouraging others to get online, so I’d urge any older people who use the internet to enter.”

Frederick Briggs, 75, from Reading, Age UK’s joint Internet Champion for 2010 is urging people to put themselves forward to be the 2013 Champion. He said: “I love being online because it allows me to talk with my children and grandchildren as though they are in the same room. It’s wonderful being able to keep in touch with them so easily, especially my grandchildren who are always so busy. More

Please click on the link below, you will be taken to the Anim-Mates Winter Newsletter. If you can help them with anything at all they would be truly grateful

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The Mayor of Gravesham invites the community to join her to sing Christmas carols accompanied by the Borough Band around the first ever Christmas tree on the Community Square at the Civic Centre, Gravesend.

This festive event will take place On Thursday 13 December at 6.30pm. There will be a mini funfair and sideshows that will open at 7pm. Mince pies and mulled wine will be available in the Spotlites Café

Mayor of Gravesham, Councillor Lyn Milner said ‘Christmas will soon be upon us and singing carols around the tree will be a perfect way to get into the festive spirit, I am really looking forward to singing along with the borough band’

The Little Lost Frog and the Christmas Wish: The Brook Theatre, Chatham, Saturday, 15 December to Saturday, 5 January 2013
The Little Lost Frog and the Christmas Wish is this year’s Christmas show at the Brook Theatre, Chatham.
Designed specifically for three to six year olds, the promenade performance takes the audience on an interactive journey through magical lands as the audience help the Little Lost Frog find his way back home.
Featuring large scale interactive sets, a multisensory tunnel, puppetry, new music, animation, contemporary dance and smell design, the show is the third annual joint Christmas production by three resident creative companies at the Brook Theatre – Icon Theatre, Loop Dance and Play on Words Theatre.
Previous years have been very successful, and with annual audiences figures of more than 4,000, it’s becoming something of a festive must-do for families with 3-6 year old children.
‘Lovely theatre… No wonder the children were so entranced. If I see a children’s Christmas show this year with more charm and originality, I shall be very surprised.’
The Stage review of The Mouse Who Saved Christmas (Christmas 2010).

Cast

The Christmas Wish: Nina Atkinson
Cookie & ensemble: Natalie Bond
The Little Lost Frog: Mark Conway
Mrs Cupcake, the Christmas Sprite & ensemble: Miriam Cooper
Miriam Cooper has just finished in Bravo 22’s award winning production of The Two Worlds of Charlie F (‘Stark and powerfully affecting’ – Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph) and work has also included Playing with Fire (Young Vic), The Ghost Train (Bristol Old Vic). Mark Conway recently starred in the Southwark Playhouse’s Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World – Time Out Critic’s Choice.

Creative team

Animations: Reza Ben Gajra (Barbican, Framed Film Festival).
Set design: Irina Borisova (The Doll’s House, Arcola Theatre & The Space. ‘Beautiful spatial awareness… with dream-like signs and symbols’ – Lyn Gardner, The Guardian).
Costume design: Emma Thatcher
Composer & arranger: Darren Clark (Jackson’s Lane, The Pegasus Theatre, Wilton’s Music Hall, Royal National Theatre and BBC)
Director: Nancy Hirst (Release, Pleasance Edinburgh & UK Tour, Fringe First Winner 2011. ‘A sharp, impeccably performed and blazingly impassioned piece of theatre… simply terrific’ – The Times)

Production companies

Icon Theatre is an award winning, national touring company producing innovative visual and physical theatre. Working with diverse collaborators from different backgrounds, each of their shows generates a unique combination of theatrical techniques, blurring the boundaries between movement, text, film, dance, mask, mime, music and puppetry. Their most recent show ‘Release’ won a Fringe First Award 2011 and was shortlisted for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award and the Brighton Festival Fringe Emerging Talent Awards. Reviews of their work include:

‘Icon Theatre has created one of the most compelling and theatrically effective pieces of storytelling on the Fringe’ The Scotsman
‘Icon has achieved something remarkable… this is a theatrical treat.’ The Stage
‘Stellar high energy, gritty performances, strikingly staged… a moving, forceful production’ **** British Theatre Guide

Play on Words formed in 1990 and has produced: Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer (2001-12), touring Ireland, UK, Australia, USA, and winner of a Fringe First Award, Pick of the Fringe – Best Solo Show Award (Sunday Times), Best Solo Performance Award (New York International Fringe Festival), and Best Theatre Work by Established Artiste Award (Adelaide Fringe). Other productions include Galway Girl and Melody for Medway Fuse Festival 2009 and O’Sullivan Beara – The Last Gaelic Chieftain, which toured extensively in Ireland in 2010 & 2011. Its most recent production Prostitutes Only Marry in May toured N. Ireland and Scotland (2008 -11) ending at Waterloo East Theatre, London, where it received a nomination in the Off West-End Awards for Best Female Performance. Reviews include:
‘This is a genuine small pleasure, the kind of piece that gives you an insight into unseen and unsung lives.’ The Guardian
‘An unparalleled portrayal.’ New York Times
‘Spirited, highly-intelligent, powerful’ The Stage
‘No less than a triumph.’ Sunday Tribune Dublin
‘Miriam Cooper is a talent we’ll surely be hearing more of’ WhatsOnStage
Loop Dance is an exciting and accessible award winning dance company based in the south east, performing work by Nina Atkinson (Artistic Director) and international choreographers. Formed in 1992, they have an impressive history of creating large scale site specific dance events for camera and installation works gaining a reputation for ambitious, imaginative and compulsive work created by high profile, cutting edge national choreographers, while their touring programme aims to benefit the regional dance ecology and foster national appeal for the art form of dance and dance education. More

DSCN2451 Draw SMIt was on Christmas Eve 1864 when Charles Fechter announced that he had a Christmas present for Dickens that was far too big for him to carry, and was now waiting for him at Higham Railway Station, fortunately transport was not a problem, as Dickens kept a four-wheel spring van in the van house behind the servant’s hall at Gad’s Hill. When the gift was finally collected, which took some considerable time, as the gift was contained in fifty-eight packing cases, which meant that a number of trips to and fro from the station were necessary; the packing cases which had travelled from Paris, were opened to reveal all the pieces required to build a genuine Swiss chalet. More

A trial project to increase food waste recycling in Medway starts this month (December). Medway Council’s Waste Services has teamed up with chemical company BASF in a small trial to increase food waste recycling. Nearly 5,000 households in Hempstead, Twydall and Rochester will have received a silver kitchen caddy, a trial roll of ecovio® compostable liners, and an explanatory leaflet.

The average family will produce around one tonne of waste a year, of which 20 per cent is food. The trial will encourage residents to use the ecovio® bags to dispose of biodegradable garbage. The bags not only prevent noxious odours and keep out insects, but also mean that it is not necessary to wash and clean the container in which the organic waste is collected.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services Cllr Phil Filmer said: “It is always important to establish cross sector partnerships to encourage our residents to continue to recycle their food waste. There are many advantages to composting food waste via the brown bin, instead of black refuse sacks. When composted through the brown bin collections, it has a positive effect to the environment and rodents will not rip black sacks open if they do not contain food waste.

A spokesman for BASF Plastics said: “We were delighted to work with the council and the residents of Medway. We hope this project will prove that ecovio® compostable and biodegradable liners will increase the amount of food waste which can be used to produce good nutritional compost.”

Currently in Medway, recycling and organic collections are collected on a fortnightly basis. Following a successful bid from Central Governments Weekly Collection Support Scheme, the council has been given funding of just over £14million to increase these services to weekly, as well as maintaining a weekly general waste service. These improved services will come into effect summer 2013.

A free 12-week healthy lifestyle course will be launched in January for young people in Medway aged 13-17 years old, run by A Better Medway health improvement services.
Designed to help young people work towards a healthy weight, the ‘Fit Fix’ course will encourage healthy eating and physical activity to improve their health and well-being. The course will also give participants the chance to cook healthier versions of their favourites.
The young people that take part will receive one-to-one support for up to one year, as well as gaining a Level 1 Award in Personal Well-being.
Dr Alison Barnett, Director of Public Health said: “This initiative gives us an opportunity to work with the teenage population in Medway, educating them in sustainable healthy behaviour.
“With this 12-week course we hope to provide them with the skills, knowledge and tools needed to make healthier choices around healthy eating and physical activity.”
To request an application form phone 01634 333101, email
or visit website

Bulgarian folk singing, seasonal Morris dancing, storytelling and street dancing are just some of the activities taking place at Rochester Community Hub to celebrate the festive season.
Join Medway Libraries on Saturday, 15 December from 1pm to 4pm to celebrate Christmas and Midwinter customs with an afternoon of stories, poetry, song, dance and traditional craft activities for children.
There will be an exhibition of cultural artefacts and Christmas theme refreshments are included.
Places are free, but booking is essential. Please confirm any access or dietary requirements when booking.
For more details Click HERE

A Chatham man has been fined £1,000 for failing to supply the correct paperwork for transporting waste.

In July this year, Kent Police and Medway Council Environmental Enforcement Team, working on a joint operation, stopped Terry Arnold, 22, of White Road, Chatham.
Arnold was issued with a fixed penalty notice for failure to produce authority for transporting waste.

The FPN remained unpaid, so in August an invitation was sent to Arnold to arrange a meeting with an enforcement officer.

There was still no contact or payment from Arnold, so the case went to Medway Magistrates Court, and was heard on Tuesday, 20 November. Arnold did not appear in court but the case was heard in his absence. Arnold was issued with a £1,000 fine, full costs of £409.90 and £15 victim surcharge. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety Cllr Mike O’ Brien said: “Unlicensed waste carriers are a higher risk for the illegal storage, transport and disposal of waste or flytipping than licensed carriers. Often little or no evidence leaves council taxpayers picking up the cost of clearing up the fly tipping. The total cost to clear and dispose of such waste was £2.7 million for the 2009-2010 tax year.

“Carrying the correct documentation allows authorities to monitor the accountability of the waste and who is responsible for the production and disposal of waste.
“Mr Arnold was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice which gave him the opportunity to discharge liability for the offence, but after no payment was received, we had no choice but to take this matter to the magistrates court.”

A job centre worker has been convicted of fraudulently claiming more than £20,000 in benefits.
Benefits cheat Kim Draper was living with partner Lee Fairfax while claiming housing benefit and council tax benefit. More

There’s plenty of festive fun to be had in Medway in the coming weeks. Children’s Centres will be hosting a number of events for families in the build up to Christmas.
A Christmas charity walk will be held by Brompton Children’s Centre in Gillingham on Monday, 17 December from 1pm to 3.30pm. The walk will be followed by coffee and mince pies and all money raised will go to Help for Heroes and FSID. For more information call 01634 844152. More

busThursday 27 December will see the streets of Medway playing host to an array of old and unusual buses taking part in the Diamond Jubilee Bus Event. Nu-Venture have assembled a colourful collection of vehicles past and present which will supplement the normal bus services between about 1000 and 1530.

The event ‘HQ’ will be at the Acorn Wharf Coach Park in Gas House Lane, Rochester, just a short stroll from the shops and cafes in Rochester High Street, so while the mums are busy shopping, dads and kids can look at the buses on display in the coach park and take some free rides on the frequent runs between Rochester Coach Park and Chatham, the first bus from Chatham will depart at 0945 then every 15 minutes until 1530. For those travelling from further afield, there will also be a shuttle bus between Strood Station and the Coach Park, first bus 1005 then every 30 minutes until 1505.

Special bus routes will operate to and from Lodge Hill, Earl Estate, Medway Gate and also Princes Park to meet the service 150 to and from Maidstone.

The Friends of Chatham Traction will have a stall promoting their work to completely restore a 1939 Chatham & District double-deck bus.

The event builds on a similar – and very popular – event held in Maidstone in December 2002 for the Golden Jubilee.

Full details can be found by visiting www.nu-venture.co.uk

wine 006Yet another event from the Upnor Pier, this time nearly 100 people had assembled for a wine and cheese tasting evening. There was even a wine expert on hand to guide us all through all of the different wines that evening. A set of tasting notes had been prepared to help us explore the world through our glass. I doubt that from the range that was presented that there was anyone that did not find at least one or two wines that they enjoyed. A selection of White, Rose and Red were served some from the traditional wine making countries and regions and others from what I think we are still allowed to refer to as the new world. My personal favourites were the Beaujolais from Domaine Romany in France and a Remole Sangiovese from Tuscany. although I don’t think that there was a wine that wasn’t well received. Even with my very limited knowledge of wine this was a fine selection. The evening was hosted by Gilles Wilfrid an expert from a major wine distributor.

wine 035A fantastic array of cheeses, pickles, chutney and other items were set out on a large table and more than enough to feed everyone was provided. We were given a few tips as to which cheeses would compliment which wines, and told how temperature was important to the condition of both.

Again the wines with the most positive feedback will be making it onto the wine list of the Pier, joining the chosen few from last year. To be informed of the different events at the Pier, keep your printed copy of the Peninsula Times handy as you will find them on page three and all the dates for the month will be there.

Please click on the link to view more of the images from the evening Pier Wine Tasting Link to images

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