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Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, has launched a new grants scheme to help local people.

The ‘Commissioner’s Fund’ will give away £100,000 over the next financial year. It aims to support the hundreds of unique, community-led projects that can make a real difference to safety and crime prevention in our towns and villages.

Voluntary organisations and not for profit groups will be able to apply for grants up to £2,000 that demonstrate a positive impact on a community.

Applications, which open today, must meet one or more of the following criteria:

• Prevent and reduce re-offending

• Support victims of crime

• Empower local communities to work together to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour

All grants will initially be reviewed by the Kent People’s Trust – a local charity that aims to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour – with the final decision being made by the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, and where appropriate with input from the new Youth Commissioner.

Discussing the launch of the new scheme, Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to be able to launch this grant scheme for local people. Local communities know their patch and they understand what needs to be done to make it a better place.

‘I firmly believe that even a small investment will rally local people into playing their part in finding community solutions for local issues. I want people to be innovative and creative with their ideas and I’m really looking forward to giving local communities a cash injection.’

Bryn Price, Director of Kent People’s Trust said: ‘The charity has over 12 years of experience in community grants and we are really delighted to have been asked to provide our expertise as part of this new exciting project. Both the charity and the Commissioner have one common aim and that’s to make Kent a safer place.’

Applications will be accepted throughout the year. Full terms and conditions and information on how to apply can be found at www.kent-pcc.gov.uk/commissionersfund

The Friends of Chernobyl’s Children is a local branch of a charity that helps children from Belarus by giving them a recuperative holiday which allows respite from the poverty and difficult conditions they face at home for a month each year. The charity is based in Cliffe with host families in Cliffe, Cliffe Woods, Allhallows, High Halstow, Medway Towns and Higham. (More information can be found at

 Thyroid patients receive medicine at the Radiation Medicine clinic near Minsk Thyroid patients receive medicine at the Radiation Medicine clinic near Minsk

cc.org.uk” target=”_blank”>http://www.focc.org.uk)

This is provided through family placements and the charity meets the full cost of these visits which include optical, dental and health checks as well as lots of tender loving care. It is anticipated that up to twelve children will be able to take up the opportunity this year in Medway. While they are here they undertake a range of activities and visits that they would be unable to do at home.

By extensive fundraising FOCC (Medway) meets the full costs of all the visits. The charity is self-funding and everyone involved gives their time and talents freely – ensuring that all money raised is utilised for the children.

In order to continue with our work we constantly need to raise money. Until now, the cost of the children’s visas for their trips to the UK has been funded by the British Government but last year the funding was withdrawn. The air fares for the children are rising each year and it costs hundreds of pounds to bring each child to the UK.

While appreciating that we are living in austere times, any donation no matter how small will make a huge difference to these children.

We are also looking for an additional Trustee for our Executive committee, if you feel that you could help in this capacity please get in touch. If you would like to find out more or be involved as a helper, fundraiser or host family please contact Di Fitter.
Group Coordinator: Diane Fitter – Tel. 01634 222875 E-mail: dianefitter@btinternet.com

Figures released today show schools in Medway are narrowing the achievement gap between disadvantaged pupils and other pupils.

Performance at Key Stage 4 shows that in Medway, there has been an increase in the percentage of disadvantaged pupils gaining 5+ GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and mathematics, up 1.8 percent to 38.8%.

That closes the gap from 30% in 2012 to 28.5% in 2013.

cllobrien.jpgIn 2013, the overall Medway figure for the percentage of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics) has been maintained at 61%. That means Medway is above the national figure of 60.6%. Lead Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Medway Council, Councillor Mike O’Brien, said: “We have much to celebrate in Medway schools with further evidence of a continuing improvement.

“Figures only show part of the picture and don’t always reflect the hard work being done by teachers and pupils but today we can congratulate all those involved for showing Medway schools are really going places.

“That’s not to say we will take these figures for granted and the hard work will continue.
“But this is fantastic news and I would like to say well done to all our young people who have worked so hard to achieve this with their dedicated and hard-working staff.”

Key facts and figures:
Medway Performance at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5

• The number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 has increased by 2.3%, from 3168 in 2012 to 3242 in 2013.

• In 2013, the overall Medway figure for the percentage of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics) has been maintained at 61%.

• The number of pupils entered for all English Baccalaureate subjects increased by 68%.

• The percentage of Medway pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects increased from 14.7% in 2012 to 18.6% this year. This represents an improvement of 3.9% and exceeds the 2012 national figure of 18.4%.

• Almost all Medway state funded schools saw an increase in the percentage of pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects.

• Both of the Medway LA maintained secondary schools had successful results.

• The number of pupils at the Howard School at the end of Key Stage 4 increased from 219 in 2012 to 238 in 2013. In the past year, the Howard School maintained it performance level for the number of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics). Their figure of 62% was the same as last year, and exceeded both the corresponding Local Authority and national figure for 2012.

• The Howard School also saw a remarkable increase in the percentage of pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects. Their performance improved from 1% in 2012 to 20% in 2013.

• In 2013, St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive School increased the percentage of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics) to 47%, up one percentage point from the previous year. The percentage of pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects also saw a notable increase from 2% in 2012 to 8% in 2013. The school also showed significant gains at Key Stage 5.

• Robert Napier is the most improved for 5+ GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and mathematics, with figures increasing from 31% in 2012 to 47% in 2013.

• Medway has reduced the achievement gap between disadvantaged pupils and all other pupils. There has been an increase in the percentage of disadvantaged pupils gaining 5+ GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and mathematics, up 1.8 percent to 38.8%, thereby closing the gap from 30% in 2012 to 28.5% in 2013.

• The percentage of Medway disadvantaged pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate has also increased by 1.6%

Snorkellers below the Minack (Rod Allday) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Snorkellers below the Minack (Rod Allday) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Registration has opened for Medway’s newest mass participation event – the Medway Big Splash.

The weekend-long event will showcase watersports, aquatics and water-based activity sessions, all culminating in the main event – a mass community swim challenge.

It takes place at Medway Park and Strood Sports Centres on 18 and 19 January 2014.

The swimming event builds on the success of the annual Medway Mile, which now attracts thousands of people of every age for a one-mile walk or run around Rochester. Read More

If you live within the distribution area of the Peninsula Times printed version, you will doubtless be aware of Anim-Mates charity and the good work that they do. If you have some time to attend one or both of these events you would be providing tremendous help to them. Plus you get to eat CAKE at one of the events and everyone likes cake!

Just to illustrate the kind of people they are. We found a cat hiding under our car at home, clearly injured and clearly in distress. We tried in vain to contact other animal charities for help without success. We called Anim-Mates and hoped, someone answered, not only did they answer but they gave us the address of a vet that could help and even called ahead to say that we were coming and any charge should be referred to them. Unfortunately the poor little cat died as a result of her injuries within a day or so and although it was a short period of time Anim-Mates were there and available to help when bigger and better known charities were not. Please help them if you can by going along to have some fun at these events.

If you can’t quite read the detail click on the image to make it huge!

fun auction 2013

Afternoon Tea 2013

marshMedway Council calls on Boris Johnson to visit North Kent and explain why he wants to impose one of the world’s biggest airports on its residents.

The council demands the mayor makes the trip just days after Daniel Moylan visited Maidstone to talk to members of the Kent Economic Board. Read More

batsbroomsThings get spooky this Autumn Half Term at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, as visitors explore the eerie and ethereal through a range of exciting activities.

Running from 25 October through to 3 November, visitors can join in the Bats and Broomsticks activities, suitable for all the family. These include a brand new and very informative Bat Trail, the return of Megan the Witch with spell binding stories to enchant and – back by popular demand – families can challenge their creative skills by trying their hand at Pumpkin Carving or take the spooky mini Ghost Tours through the eerie Hearts of Oak gallery in the dark! Read More

Medway Council’s ‘ambition to improve standards for its young people is universally acknowledged by its schools, a letter from Ofsted states.

The schools’ regulator made the comments in a letter to the authority following a focused inspection which included visiting a very small number of the area’s schools.

This inspection, which took place in June, and involved Ofsted going to ten of Medway’s 100 schools, was to ask their opinion of how they work with the council on school improvement. Read More

PRESS RELEASE issued by AirportWatch a copy of the letter is at the bottom of this press release

Campaign groups representing communities threatened by airport expansion have joined forces in writing to Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission, calling upon him to safeguard all the threatened communities against blight.

The Airports Commission is due to produce an interim report at the end of this year and, if it concludes that the UK needs more airport capacity, it will publish a shortlist of options. The Commission’s final report and recommendations won’t be published until mid-2015, after the next general election and it will then be for the Government of the day to take any final decisions. Read More

ORIGINAL 244a Fiona

For the first time ever at any event, Salute to the ‘40s has three of the leading 1940’s female performers together on one stage. With two Main Stages, two dancehalls, dance workshops, street performers and music across the site the weekend at The Historic Dockyard is going to be full of entertaining vintage delight! Keep Calm and Carry On to Salute to the ‘40s on 21st and 22nd September at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. Read More

Medway Council has pledged to continue the very important improvements it is bringing in to its services that look after children in care. The council has vowed to do this after Ofsted inspectors graded Medway’s Looked After Children Services as inadequate. Read More

poster copy

Whoops of joy filled the school hall at St John Fisher Catholic School today (Thursday, 22 August), as students ripped open their GCSE exam results. Around 3,000 students received their GCSE results at schools across Medway earlier today. Read More

A number of road closures are scheduled for September to allow for essential repair works to be carried out. Read More

An exciting programme of summer fun events is taking place at Strood Youth Centre throughout August. All the activities are free and aimed at eight to 19 year olds.

Climbing – Monday, 5 August 3pm – 6pm

Archery – Tuesday, 6 and Tuesday, 20 August 3pm – 6pm

Trampolining – Wednesday, 7 August 3pm – 6pm

Cake decorating – Tuesday, 6, Wednesday, 7 and Monday, 12 August 3– 6pm

Jewellery making – Monday, 12 and Tuesday, 13 August 3pm – 6pm

Wet and Wild (water fights, slides and play) – Wednesday, 14 August 3pm – 6pm

Inflatable activity fun (gladiator style challenge) – Monday, 19 and Wednesday, 21 August 3pm – 6pm

All the workshops listed above take place at Strood Youth Centre, Montfort Road, Strood, ME2 3ET

1 – 15 August, Charlton Football Club will be running a summer slam football activity week from 10am – 4pm each day in Northcote Rec, Northcote Road, Strood. For more details about any of the activities and workshops, phone 07789 988165 or email patricia.houssein@medway.gov.uk

Medway Council tonight unveils its strategy for delivering a long-term sporting legacy for the people of Medway.

The launch of En Route to Rio: Delivering Medway’s Sporting Legacy 2013-2016 is being staged to coincide with Medway’s largest mass participation sporting event – the Medway Mile.

In addition, two new flagship events inspired by the success of the Medway Mile have also been announced. More

LEADING BEAUTY BRANDS LAUNCH EXCLUSIVE PINK RANGES FOR BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

Shop with a conscience and shop pink this October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Beauty favourites, Avon and ghd, have joined forces with leading charity, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, to launch exclusive pink products which carry a minimum 10% donation to Breakthrough’s life-saving work.

Avon and ghd, along with many more leading retailers, will all be doing their bit to help the nation turn pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More women than ever before are being diagnosed with breast cancer so it’s crucial that everybody gets involved and helps raise vital funds to stop women dying from the disease.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to saving lives through improving early diagnosis, developing new treatments and preventing all types of breast cancer. With 1,000 women dying from the disease each month in the UK alone, every penny raised is vital in order to help us create a world freed from breast cancer. Do your bit, do it pink.

1. Avon Pro Viva Pink Nail Varnish, RRP £4, 25% donation to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, available from your local Independent Avon Representative or online at avonshop.co.uk
2. ghd pink styler and paddle brush gift set RRP £135, £10 donation to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, available in the finest salons and at http://www.ghdhair.com. ghd has been supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer for 10 years.

Summer fete poster 2013

Cake bakers of the Peninsula take one step forward, wooden spoons and Kenwood Chefs at the ready. Send us pictures of your cakes and we will put them on our website for the world to see.

RAISE SOME DOUGH AND HELP BEAT BREAST CANCER, BREAKTHROUGH BREAST CANCER LAUNCHES THE VERY FIRST GREAT PINK BAKE OFF

This year leading charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer is recruiting an army of bakers to fire up their ovens, hit the kitchen and give breast cancer a good beating in the first ever Great Pink Bake Off.

More women than ever are being diagnosed with breast cancer so Breakthrough Breast Cancer wants local communities to whip up some support to help fund their life-saving research. More

The WantedThe full line up of acts supporting The Wanted at this year’s Castle Concerts is now complete. Max, Nathan, Tom, Jay and Siva will storm the stage at Rochester’s Castle Gardens with their ferociously infectious tunes, including All Time Low and Glad You Came, plus tracks from their new album Third Strike. Tickets are still available but selling fast for the show, which takes place on Thursday, 18 July. More

Interested in a career in fitness? Medway Community Learning is holding an information day, where potential learners can meet the tutors, find out more about working in a gym and have a go at some exercise activities.

The information day is Wednesday, 17 July 10am to 2pm at Medway Park. Wear gym clothing and bring a water bottle. Places are limited so please call to book.

MCL is running gym instructing courses in August and September and a personal training course in September. To find out more about these courses or to book a place on this information day, phone 01634 338400.

Keep children entertained this summer holiday with some creative fun and activities thanks to Medway Council Arts Team.

Heatwave summer activities programme is designed for children aged eight to 16. More

9 task groupMedway Council’s Fair Access to Credit Task Group Report has been highly commended in the Good Scrutiny Awards 2013 run by the Centre for Public Scrutiny. The cross-party group was short-listed in the Innovation category for its work to promote financial literacy and affordable lending. The judges thought this review tackling debt and co-ordinated with the national campaign to end legal loan-sharking was an “excellent example of scrutiny having an impact nationally as well as locally”. More

Flower festival advert in word copy

Statement on visit to Medway by the Aviation Commission

Sir Howard Davies and the Aviation Commission today carried out a fact-finding visit to Medway as part of its investigation into how the UK can maintain its leading global airport hub status.

Please find below a statement from Medway Council:

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Deputy Leader of Medway Council, said: “We are very pleased that Sir Howard Davies and members of the government’s Aviation Commission travelled to Medway today as it gave us an opportunity to tell them why building a huge hub airport here would be a complete non-starter.

“The Commission are on a series of fact-finding trips to look at all possible ways the Government could bring about a rapid increase in aviation capacity for the UK. “Medway Council, Kent County Council, Southend-on-sea Borough Council, the RSPB, the National Grid, LNG, Friends of North Kent Marshes and others made representations to the Commission that they do not believe the Thames Estuary is the answer.

“Building a huge hub airport from scratch would take at least 25 years to build. This is too late to stop the UK’s continued slide against its other competitors, as if something is not done now airlines will simply move to take up additional capacity already available abroad.

“It would also lead to the closure of Heathrow, which would devastate the economy to the west of London, and could lead to many multinational companies with European headquarters there simply moving abroad.

“The airport would also affect the lives of around 23,000 people and lead to the destruction of nine villages on the Hoo Peninsula. And – in order to house the around 100,000 workforce needed to service a new airport – we would need to build a new town the size of Manchester to accommodate them.

“In short, we stated that a new airport – which would devastate a globally scientifically important area used by more than 300,000 migrating birds – would have a price tag of up to £80billion and that this is simply too much for the country to pay.

“Our solution is to make better use of existing airports, including here in Kent at Manston and Lydd, with better rail links to improve connectivity to places such as Stansted and Gatwick.”

Please find at the foot of this email press release a link to a document showing a digest of the main points Medway Council put forward detailing why it believes an airport should not be built on or near the Thames Estuary.

For more information on the make up of the government’s Aviation Commission and its work please go to http://www.gov.uk/government/news/airports-commission-membership

Click HERE to see a two page briefing to the airports commision

A5 EOD Amber

©PraxisDesign 2012

©PraxisDesign 2012

Rochester returns to its Victorian glory during the weekend of Friday 31 May to Sunday 2 June, as the annual Dickens Festival lights up the streets with colourful costumed characters, street theatre, music and dancing. Held every year since 1978, the event celebrates Medway’s many associations with the great author, who drew many of his characters and settings for his novels from the years he lived in the area. More

Residents of all ages are being urged to use a new health watchdog to get more involved in how health services are run in Medway. Healthwatch Medway, set up as part of national government NHS reforms, has been set the task of championing the views of local people using the NHS and social care services. A new website – http://www.healthwatchmedway.co.uk – set for launch this summer, will provide residents with more information on the services it provides, how to get in touch and what it is doing to represent their views. More

Here is a little something for this weekend if you have some time. Two venues over the two days, including some great ideas for gifts from crafters from all over the area and a few from beyond.

craft fairs

airambWalkers are being urged to join the third in a series of historic hikes around the Kent countryside next weekend (April 27th), followed by collection in aid of the county’s Air Ambulance.

Lifelong rambler Geoff Ettridge, otherwise known as Geoff Rambler, will lead a seven-mile Kent Messenger Walk from St Mary Hoo to Egypt Bay.

At 10 am, the party will set off from the Fenn Bell pub which is believed to take its name from the fact that bells would be rung to help travelers and shepherds find their way off the marshes in bad weather. More

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