You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2013.

Celebrations to mark the Chinese New Year will be held across two weekends, as Medway welcomes in the Year of the Snake.
There will be a preview event on Saturday, 9 February, with colourful entertainment in the High Street (near Argos) and the Pentagon Shopping Centre from 11.30am to 2.30pm, featuring The Lion Team from Foshan, The Dance Alley Dancers, The ShiKon Martial Arts Team, Cantonese Opera Performers from Hong Kong, a guest performer from China and The God of Fortune. There will also be a small street market, children’s ride and food stalls in the High Street area.
The celebrations continue on Sunday, 17 February with the Medway Chinese New Year Parade, one of the largest in the UK. More

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Get fit, de-stress and have fun at one of the Active Life classes with Medway Community Learning.

Exercise to music
All Saints Church, Magpie Hall Road, Chatham
Mondays 7-8pm

Tai Chi
Medway Community Learning, Eastgate, Rochester
Tuesdays Noon-1pm

Pilates
St Thomas Church Hall, Rainham
Tuesdays 2.30-3.30pm

Exercise to music
Woodlands Arts Centre, Gillingham
Wednesdays 7-8pm

Classes run term-time only and each class costs £2.50. Please phone 01634 338400 to book a place.

Yoga classes start next month with Medway Community Learning. Yoga for all (progression) starts Tuesday, 5 February at 1.30pm. Yoga for all starts on Tuesday, 12 February at 7.30pm. Both classes are at Rochester Adult Education Centre. To book and for more details phone 01634 338400.

Three exciting workshops will keep children and young people entertained during the February school break. Magical puppets and storytelling with Sparkle and Dark Travelling Players is on Monday, 18 February from 10am to 3.30pm. Creative children can work with the creative company to produce their own puppets. One Direction dance workshop is on Wednesday, 20 February from 10am to 3.30pm. Dance Diva dance workshop is on Thursday, 21 February from 10am to 3.30pm. At these dance workshops young people will learn dance moves to some of their favourite songs, and perform the routine in front of friends and family in the showcase at 3.15pm on the same day. All three workshops take place at The Brook Theatre, Chatham. Workshops are priced at £14 and are suitable for eight to 16 year olds. For more details or to book a place, phone the box office on 01634 338338.

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A Better Medway’s Healthy New Year campaign has received over 1500 health pledges since its launch in November, and there is now only a few days left for people to make a pledge for the chance to win an iPad 3.

During the last 10 weeks, residents have vowed to improve their health and well being in 2013 by making a health pledge. Pledges include giving up smoking, eating healthier foods, cooking more meals at home and getting more active. More

DSC_0359We were again invited along to the Pier in Upnor of Friday evening to cover another of their famous themed nights and for this event we were off to the Caribbean for sun, steel bands and cocktails of every colour imaginable. There was of course a three course meal provided and a free cocktail or beer on arrival. Loud shirts, wigs and shorts were the order of the day for all of those that were able to get there without a long period out in the cold. More

A total of 1,200 people have signed up to A Better Medway’s Healthy New Year campaign since November, and there’s still two events left for people to make a health pledge.

Make a pledge at either Chatham High Street on Thursday, 24 January or Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre on Thursday, 31 January to be in with a chance of winning some great prizes. More

About thirty years ago, Bill Wilson – the founder of Metro Ministries – saw a need and went about meeting that need – for so many children in Brooklyn, New York, where he lived. No more Sunday School, just an informal gathering of primary aged children to be taught about Christianity. And so Kids’ Church was born. Now there are many forms of Kids’ Church throughout the world, using material which is totally Bible based. Quite simply it works very well, particularly with children who often cannot sit still for long. Everything focuses on each individual child. Accessibility –it is open to all primary aged children, only disruptive behaviour would stop them from attending. The consent from parent/guardian is always obtained. More

Kind-hearted Ray Ballard from the Isle of Sheppey has raised £1,500 to thank the specialist health team who cared for his father who suffered from heart failure.
Ray’s father, Peter Ballard was looked after by the community cardiology team at Medway Community Healthcare until he passed away in 2010. More

Romantic slimmers wanting to cook their way to their honey’s heart this Valentine’s Day can spoil the apple of their eye without spoiling their successful slimming campaign, says a Hoo St Werburgh weight loss expert.

Ash O’Neill who runs a Slimming World group in the Jubilee Hall on Pottery road in Hoo says it’s understandable when people are bananas about their partner that they want to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style and losing weight doesn’t have to mean missing out.

She says: “The calendar is full of dates that can distract slimmers from their weight loss dreams, but at Slimming World members share ideas to prepare for challenges like birthdays, parties and events like Valentine’s Day and when following our healthy eating plan no food is banned. So, at Slimming World having fun and losing weight at the same time really can be a piece of cake!” More

The Billabong Club has a year of entertainment lined up for us, if you need to know more go to their website where all will be revealed!

Patrick Monahan, the winner of ITV’s Show Me The Funny and star of Let’s Dance for Sport Relief comes to Medway for the first time since appearing on these TV shows. Patrick was voted Best Newcomer at Loaded’s 2012 Lafta Awards.

He is bringing his new tour “Shooting From The Lip” to The Billabong Comedy Club, The Royal Function Rooms, Star Hill, Rochester ME1 1XB on Thursday 28th February 2013. The venue has a licensed bar open till late.

Patrick has appeared all over the world and is an experienced warm up for TV shows including Jonathan Ross and Paul O’Grady amongst others. He has compered “Late and Live” at the Edinburgh Fringe for a number of years as well as doing his own shows.

Monahan’s humour relies heavily on audience interaction and an animated story-telling style that draws on his own experiences of growing up in Teesside to Irish and Iranian parents. He has been described as “Omid Djalili meets Dave Allen” as well as “Twinkle – Toed, Mischievous …….. Raised the Roof”. Come along and get a free hug as well as enjoying his cheeky chappie style of humour.

Doors open at 7.30pm with the comedy starting at 8pm.

The council is looking for volunteers to help facilitate an exciting art exhibition due to be held in the Blake Gallery in February.

Gravesham’s Your Paintings exhibition brings together a collection of art works belonging to the borough which have been in storage or mounted in non public areas. More

Temperatures are forecast to fall in the next couple of weeks and the NHS is urging people to take steps to stay well and help stop the spread of infection this winter.

Washing your hands both regularly and well is the single most important thing you can do to prevent illnesses, such as tummy bugs and flu. More

The captivating Paloma Faith is the latest act to announce that she will be performing concerts in seven spectacular woodland locations this summer as part of the Forestry Commission’s Forest Live concert series.

Released in 2009, debut album, ‘Do You Want the Truth, or Something Beautiful?’ introduced Paloma Faith and a glossy ensemble of retro-referencing soul and sassy pop songs. From the brass-blasted stomp of ‘Stone Cold Sober’ to the quirky ‘Upside Down’, and the epic sweep of her biggest chart hit ‘New York’, the record went on to sell over half a million copies. Faith’s 2012 sophomore album, ‘Fall To Grace’, continues to build upon the success of her debut release. A collection of compositions in a new contemporary realm, chart success has already been assured with singles ‘Picking Up the Pieces’, ‘30 Minute Love Affair’, ‘Just Be’ and her enchanting cover of ‘Never Tear Us Apart’. Her achievements have been recognised by the music industry with Brit Award nominations. Her platinum selling album ‘Fall To Grace’ is up for Best Album, and she has also been nominated for Best British Female.

Commenting on her Forest Live dates and her Brit nominations, Paloma Faith said, “I’m really excited about these shows. It’s going to be a great experience so I hope you will be able to join me on my woodland adventure this summer.I am delighted to have been nominated for these Brit awards. I don’t expect to win, but it’s so wonderful to be acknowledged for contributing something to British music. I am very proud to be British and so happy to do something I love.”

Forest Live is an independent programme organised by the Forestry Commission bringing music to new audiences without commercial branding or sponsorship. Income generated from ticket sales is spent on improving the local forests for both people and wildlife. With everything required for a great night out, including full catering and bar facilities, the gigs are renowned for their relaxed atmosphere.

Paloma Faith plus special guests will be performing:

Friday 14 June Thetford Forest, Nr Brandon, Suffolk.
Saturday 15 June Sherwood Pines Forest, Nr Edwinstowe, Notts.
Friday 21 June Bedgebury Pinetum, Nr Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
Saturday 22 June Westonbirt Arboretum, Nr Tetbury, Glos.
Friday 28 June Cannock Chase Forest, Nr Rugeley, Staffs.
Saturday 29 June Dalby Forest, Nr Pickering, N Yorks.
Friday 5 July Delamere Forest, Delamere, Cheshire.

Tickets £32.00 (subject to booking fee) go on sale at 9.00am Friday 18 January from the Forestry Commission box office tel 03000 680400 or buy online at www.forestry.gov.uk/music

Wannabe professional dancers can discover the route to a career in the dance industry at an event later this month. More

BBC Radio 4s Any Questions? is set to be broadcast from Medway. The current affairs programme, which is presented by Jonathan Dimbleby, is broadcast live on Friday evenings, just after 8pm. More

The Medway commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day will take place at Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School in Rochester on Sunday 27 January at 11am.
The annual event provides an opportunity for everyone to remember the victims of the Holocaust and other genocides since, in order to challenge hatred and persecution in the UK today. More

Medway Council’s gritting lorries will be out throughout the weekend as temperatures tumble across the southeast.

The Met Office is predicting snow showers, some heavy, could add to the already freezing temperatures for the southeast by the start of next week.

The council has 5,000 tonnes of salt stockpiled for use on the area’s highways, as well as 388 salt bins and eight gritting vehicles.

Gritting lorries will work overnight on major routes to treat the surfaces, and sweeping gangs will treat priority footpaths and car parks if there is significant snowfall or freezing conditions. This will be repeated over the weekend with extra gritting runs on some routes.

Details of salting routes and salt bin locations can be found on the council’s website, as well as updates on weather forecasts, travel information and advice on coping with the bad weather.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services Cllr Phil Filmer said: “The forecasts for snow over the weekend may be uncertain, but there is the potential for wintry showers over the weekend and into next week.

“Medway Council are fully prepared and our teams will be working hard to salt all primary and secondary routes across the area and minimise any potential disruption to residents.

“Regardless of snow, temperatures are likely to dip below freezing over the weekend leading to potential hazardous driving conditions.

“As always, our advice to motorists is to take care on the roads, and should there be severe weather conditions, to consider whether their journey is really necessary.

“They should also ensure they have warm clothing, a mobile phone and a torch with them.

“I would encourage residents to visit the council website, where they can find up to date travel and weather information as well as advice on the steps we are taking to help residents during the bad weather. Local radio also provides a good source of up to date information.”

For more information, visit www.medway.gov.uk

The Historic Dockyard Chatham in Kent is the surprising star of Les Misérables the hotly anticipated feature film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel, which is due to open in cinemas on January 11, 2013.

The blockbuster production spent more than 30 days shooting on location in the English regions, eleven of which were spent at the Historic Dockyard Chatham, by far the longest stint at any single location. Scenes were also shot at Boughton House in Northamptonshire, Hampshire’s Winchester College and Portsmouth Naval Base, and at the National Trust’s Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire.

Camilla Stephenson, Supervising Location Manager on Les Misérables , said: “People might be surprised to discover that only a tiny portion of our film was actually filmed in France. There are some fantastic locations to be found in our stunning English regions that worked perfectly for our early 19th Century France. Local authorities, councils and residents in each of our several areas couldn’t have been more helpful and enthusiastic and made a difficult job a real pleasure.”

Les Misérables is the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year. The Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production is directed by Academy Award®-winning director, Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) and stars Hugh Jackman, Oscar® winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, with Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption—a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.

Les Misérables is the latest feature film to shoot at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, which has also provided locations for both the Guy Richie/Robert Downey Jnr/Jude Law Sherlock Holmes films, Children of Men, The Golden Compass and Amazing Grace. Television series: Coast, Countryfile, Call the Midwife and Great British Railway Journeys have also used the Dockyard for filming.

The film and television industry is an important one for the English regions as productions can spend up to £30,000 per day on everything from hotels to props to coffee for the stars when filming on location. Feature films alone contributed over £1billion to the UK economy in 2011, a record figure.*

In Kent alone, filming contributed over £2 million to the economy in the last financial year.

Kent County Council’s Film Office and Creative England are proactive in encouraging this investment into Kent and across the English regions.
Creative England aims to be a ‘one stop shop’ for productions on a nationwide basis (outside London), assisting them in finding everything from suitable locations for filming to freelance crew and facilities companies. It also offers a local authority liaison service through its Film Friendly Partnership programme, smoothing the path for film production companies.

Its crew and locations databases is a cornerstone of the service it provides and Creative England is encouraging property owners or managers interested in filming to register their property details.**

A range of properties is sought, from stately homes, grand manor houses and mansions to large family homes, remote farm houses, and country cottages; from coastal properties, industrial mills and factories to sleek city centre offices, apartments and penthouses.

Kaye Elliott, Creative England’s Head of Location and Production Services, said: “It’s great to see England’s diverse countryside showcased in Les Misérables. We have a tremendous variety of locations in the regions and Creative England works hard both to ensure that productions know about these locations, and to facilitate filming requests quickly and efficiently so that we increase the flow of production to these areas. It’s a huge endorsement that we can attract major film projects such as Les Misérables to film in the English regions.”

The next meeting of the Rochester and Chatham Dickens Fellowship (R&CDF) is on Thursday the 17th of January 7.15 for a 7.30 start. The meeting is in the Education Room of Dickens World in Chatham includes a talk by author, walk guide and historian Mr Ian Porter. Non Members are welcome for a small fee. For details of the R&CDF or for non-members to attend contact the Hon. Secretary Mr Steve Martin on 01474 834164. More

The Inbetweeners cast are coming to Gravesend on Wednesday 25 January. Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison (Will, Simon, Jay & Neil) will accompany Damon Beesley, one of the writers of The Inbetweeners, live on stage before the screening of their movie at The Woodville. The cast and Damon will do a question and answer session before the film.

Tickets are £10. Tickets will go fast, so book early. 01474 33 77 74 for the Box Office or online at www.woodville.co.uk.

St James’ CE Primary School, Grain is helping students develop their skills and knowledge needed to stay safe as a young pedestrian.

Much to the delight of Medway Council’s Road Safety Team, St James’ School recognised the need to champion road safety to its pupils, staff and parents. The school has enlisted the expertise of the council’s Road Safety Team – as Su Ormes, Principle Road Safety Officer explains: “We initially supported the school with a pilot walking bus launch, during International Walk to School Month, in October. Since then we have made return visits to deliver lessons – making sure they were fun and interactive.
“With very little road safety adverts appearing on TV these days, we made sure the children understood the green cross code and were comfortable with what they should be looking and listening for while out walking.“

The Safer Journey Officers managed to deliver lessons to the entire school – providing around 140 students with indispensable road safety knowledge. Officers also met with parents to introduce the pedestrian awards (PAWS) in the hope they would continue teachings and assessments of their child’s skills outside of the school gates.

Headteacher Ginny Wilson said: “We are eager our students understand their responsibilities and role as a pedestrian. For them to understand now, the benefits of wearing bright/reflective clothing or the reality of seeing a car travelling 30mph breaking and stopping distance – measured out on the playground – stands them in good stead to keep our future road users safe.”

St James CE Primary School also managed to scoop the top position in the recent Golden Boot Walking Challenge, beating 23 other schools. If you would more details about the services available from the Road Safety Team visit http://www.medway.gov.uk or call 01634 331710 or visit http://www.facebook.com/saferjourneys

If you are one of the many people that stopped by our blog or archive during 2012, I would really like to say thank you. Whether you arrived here and wondered why, or whether you stopped by and found an article or piece of editorial that entertained you or gave you an insight into our little portion of the planet, it was great to see you. We will continue in 2013 to add all of the little bits and pieces that fall between the cracks of our printed version production schedule to ensure that everything we hear about or are sent comes to you in turn. Please fell free to comment on any of the items we publish we appreciate anything and everything you have to say. More

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