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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

Volunteers are set to play an important role in delivering community support in Medway.

As part of a new scheme, money is to be invested in community organisations and trained volunteers are to provide enhanced support to older people and adults with disabilities.
Medway is one of seven councils in England involved in the programme set up by community interest company, Developing Empowering Resources in Communities, also known as DERiC.

Social investment bank, Big Society Capital, has loaned DERiC £1million to invest in community organisations, set up to support people who receive personal care budgets.
Personal care budgets are given to eligible people by local authorities and the NHS to enable them to have choice and control over the support they receive.

This can include anything from personal care, support with daily living, or needs arising from illness, disability, old age or poverty.

There are now four DERiC schemes in Leeds, one in Sandwell, Birmingham, one in Belfast, and one in Medway.

Together these programmes cover 3,000 people who are eligible to receive support.
The schemes draw in community supporters – local, trained volunteers who will provide appropriate support to people receiving personal budgets, enhancing their care and support arrangements.

The pilots in Leeds and Belfast showed a 25 per cent increase in personal contact for older people and vulnerable adults which is an important element of how we as a society address social isolation and loneliness.

Many councils applied to be part of the scheme and Medway Council will be running the programme in conjunction with Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CGG).

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Services Cllr David Brake said: “We are delighted to have been selected to be part of DERiC. The organisers particularly liked that we have the CCG as close partners and also recognised the council’s strong links with volunteers.

“The scheme is set to increase the level of care offered to the people of Medway, and for it to be available to them at less cost.”

Dr Peter Green, Chief Clinical Officer for the CCG said: “We are delighted that Medway has been chosen as one of the first areas in the country to make much greater use of volunteers to enhance the care and support for those people who have a personal care budget, and we are looking forward to working with Medway Council to drive this forward.”

The initiative aims to provide support for at least 60 per cent of those eligible for support over the next three years.

In addition to those people, a further 1,500 who are not eligible for statutory support, but who are identified as needing support, will be helped by the scheme.

Patients and carers from Medway and Swale took the opportunity to receive one-to-one welfare benefits advice and support at an information event at the Wisdom Hospice, Rochester on Thursday 10 October 2013.

The event was held in support of Hospice Care Week 7-13 October 2013, a national week to raise awareness of the range of support available to people with life-limiting conditions and their families. Read More

Picture shows Neil Howlett from the Community Safety Partnership and David Cross from Medway Council's Trading Stndards Department

Picture shows Neil Howlett from the Community Safety Partnership and David Cross from Medway Council’s Trading Stndards Department

Medway residents are being given help to deal with unwanted ‘cold callers’ who tout for business at the front door.

The council’s Trading Standards service is promoting an initiative which helps people to deal with the high pressure selling tactics.

They have produced free ‘No Cold Calling Homes’ packs containing advice and information, and stickers warning that residents do not buy from door-to-door sales people. These have been funded through the local Community Safety Partnership. Read More

Medway Council’s Trading Standards team are urging local businesses and residents to be extra careful when buying food supplements that claim to burn fat.

Across the country a number of deaths have been connected with the consumption of supplements containing 2,4 Dinitrophenol, sometimes referred to as ‘DNP’. This is a product unfit for human consumption and should not be sold as food.

However, it is available online and has been found being sold under the counter at some gyms in other parts of the UK. Read More

Over the last year Hoo Peninsula residents have been meeting with local farmers, environmentalists, businesses and planners to discuss what the Hoo Peninsula could be like as a place to live and work.

Key to this is thinking more about how we can use “greening” projects to improve your quality of life as well as that for wildlife and business. A greening project could be the planting of more trees in villages to reduce temperatures in the summer. Such work could also improve local pride and provide a home for wildlife. The following link to a short video shows other examples of greening projects and their wider benefits http://vimeo.com/38736492.

These local meetings (called Community Conversations) have been organised as part of a larger EU funded project called GIFT-T! (Green Infrastructure for Tomorrow – Together!). The end goal of this work is to see if we can demonstrate what a strong social, economic and environmental future for people, wildlife and business could be.

GIFT-T! is at an early stage but we are really keen to hear the views of lots of local people – of all ages and interests about the Peninsula’s environment and future. To make this as easy as possible an on-line questionnaire has been set up where you can tell us your thoughts. The link is http://139.165.29.43/Gift/Hoopeninsula/

What next?

1. Your information will be saved and will form a key part of the information directing our work.
2. It might be possible to show the results in a future addition of the Peninsula Times.
3. You could attend a future Community Conversation meeting – email Martin.hall@gtgkm.org.uk or call 01634 337593 with your contact details.

Photo - Jo, Lola and James Clackett

Photo – Jo, Lola and James Clackett

Medway’s skin care nurses from Medway Community Healthcare are encouraging local people to know the signs of eczema during National Eczema Awareness Week, being led by the National Eczema Society, from 14 – 22 September 2013.

Eczema causes skin to become itchy, dry, sore and cracked and in severe cases can make skin bleed. Atopic eczema is the most common form and mainly affects children but can continue into adulthood. 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

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An open day to discover what exciting courses are available for adult learners takes place next month. More

mural 2For the past fortnight dozens of volunteers have been hard at work transforming part of Chatham town centre into a work of art – with the finished work set to be revealed this weekend. More

School’s almost out for summer! And Medway Council and NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are encouraging parents to make sure their children have had the full MMR vaccination before the school holidays begin. The long summer break involves travel, days out and contact with lots of people for many families. With a high number of cases of measles reported nationally this year and last, Medway Council and NHS Medway CCG say parents should make the vaccination a priority if their child has not had two doses. More

Local people are invited to meet specialist nurses from Medway Community Healthcare to get advice about problem skin conditions.

The team will be at Hempstead Valley on Thursday 18 July 2013 from 9am to 4pm. More

Kate Browning volunteer Wisdom HospiceTo mark National Volunteers’ Week (1 to 7 June 2013) health teams at Medway Community Healthcare are celebrating the vital support local volunteers give every day.

In Medway and Swale, 280 community volunteers support 47 teams by giving more than 4,000 hours of their own time each month. Their roles are varied and include offering complementary therapy at the Wisdom Hospice; supporting new mothers with breastfeeding; helping at exercise rehabilitation groups and assisting with administrative tasks.

Kate Browning is one of the longest-serving volunteers at Medway Community Healthcare, having been at the Wisdom Hospice, Rochester in a variety of roles spanning twenty years. Kate, who is 74, began volunteering at the hospice in 1993, inspired by the ‘wonderful care’ the team gave to her mother-in-law.

Kate explained: “I started out as a volunteer driver, helping people living in Medway and Swale to get to the Day Hospice once a week. The conversations you have during each journey are very important, people feel comfortable with you and safe. It’s about giving them the most pleasant journey you can.”

Having been a driver for many years, Kate decided to volunteer within the Day Hospice.

Kate continued: “I saw how much the day of relaxation and support helped people and I wanted to be part of it. I made tea, helped people at lunchtime and was on hand for anything that people needed allowing staff time to concentrate on nursing and running the activities.

“I now work on the hospice ward as a spiritual care volunteer, talking to and comforting very ill patients and their families. The days are varied, I even recently helped a husband to bring his pet spaniel to visit his wife; I enjoy bringing a smile to people’s faces.

“I admire the wonderful care the hospice team provide, they are exceptional at what they do. To be connected with them even by putting in a small bit is a huge privilege.”

Natalie Taylor, voluntary services manager, explained: “Our volunteers, aged from 17 to 83, volunteer with us for a number of reasons. Some wish to remain active after retirement, others are healthcare students looking to gain experience and we also have some of our former patients volunteering as their way of giving something back.

“Medway Community Healthcare would like to say a huge thank you to our many inspiring volunteers for the support you give to staff, patients and their families during National Volunteers’ Week and beyond.”

If you would like to become a volunteer with Medway Community Healthcare please call 01634 830456 and ask to speak to a voluntary services manager or visit http://www.medwaycommunityhealthcare.co.uk/volunteer

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

Saturday 22nd June
• Private readings-£15 for 1/2hr
• Tarot reader-£15 for 1/2hr
• Reflexology
• Aromatherapy
• Various stalls, jewellery, cards and more

We have organised this event to raise money for Stoke community preschool.
Psychic fair will run from 12-5pm with NO entrance fee, followed by an Evening of clairvoyance with Norman Oaks and Guest medium at 7pm, entrance fee of £5 to pay on the door, tea/coffee available 50p with a free cake.
If you wish to hold a stall at the event or would like more information please contact:
Victoria Ells 01634 271448

Peninsula Times says: If you can, please pop along to this event, money raised will help to provide essential equipment for the Community Pre-School children. We owe it to all our children to give them a good start on their school career and Community Pre-Schools do invaluable work to get all of our children on the road to high achievement.

Gravesend town centre has once again entered the regional South and South East in Bloom competition which sees town centres and villages battle it out each year.

The competition, sponsored by Southern Water, is part of the largest horticultural campaign in Europe. It encourages communities to create town centre floral features, permanent planting, wildflower meadows, planting for nature, fruit and vegetable, gardening and much more. More

choircharlieCharlie Landsborough, multi award-winning inspirational/country artist, heads out on tour this Autumn in support of his 29th album “Silhouette”. This time, however, the tour will be very different – it will be opened by a leading local choir.

Having previously been a teacher before embarking on his musical career, Charlie has always recognised the vital role of music and choirs in the community. More

Local people have given the thumbs up to their community health services.

More than 3,000 people (96% of respondents) in Medway and Swale completed a survey rating the quality of care they received from teams at Medway Community Healthcare as good or very good. More

Fiona Stephens, Medway Community Healthcare

Fiona Stephens, Medway Community Healthcare

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has praised the care given to local people by the teams at Medway On Call Care (MedOCC), run by Medway Community Healthcare.

MedOCC provides urgent care for people in Medway 24/7 when their GP surgery is closed. Appointments are offered at Quayside, Chatham Maritime, as well as at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham. Doctors and specialist nurses also visit people at home if they are too unwell to travel to an appointment. More

An unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has given full marks to the Wisdom Hospice, run by Medway Community Healthcare.

The CQC inspectors assessed the Wisdom Hospice as meeting all five standards for patient quality and safety – respecting and involving people; care and welfare of people; safeguarding people from abuse; supporting workers and assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.

Each year, the Wisdom Hospice cares for more than 750 people with a life-limiting illness in Medway and Swale by providing inpatient care, out-patient services, a day hospice as well as community and hospital palliative care. Relatives of people using the hospice are also supported with information courses for carers, complementary therapy sessions and bereavement councillors.

The inspection report by the CQC praised the range of activities and complementary therapies available for people, including massage, physiotherapy, sensory treatments as well as arts and crafts.

When asked, patients and their relatives told inspectors that the care and support they or their loved one received at the Wisdom Hospice was outstanding.

A patient in the day hospice told inspectors that hospice staff had arranged for her carer to be trained in massage because it helped manage her symptoms.

One relative added: “My loved one was becoming increasingly distressed but is reassured with family present so staff have ensured that we can stay for as long as we like, including overnight.”

Fiona Stephens, clinical quality director at Medway Community Healthcare, said: “I am delighted that the Care Quality Commission has commended the excellent care our teams provide to patients and their relatives at the Wisdom Hospice.

“It was also wonderful to see recognised the fantastic support patients and relatives told CQC inspectors they receive at the hospice.
“I am proud of the care our teams give to local people both at the hospice and in the community.”

Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales
The Central Theatre, Chatham
Sunday, 7 April at 3pm

For a non-chocolate treat this Easter take the children to the theatre.
Award-winning children’s author Julia Donaldson’s fantastically funny stories – Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales – are bought to life at The Central Theatre, Chatham on Sunday, 7 April at 3pm.

Under the sea, on the farm, and in the jungle, these popular stories have been woven together with music and colourful puppets. Aimed at children aged three and upwards, the show is part of the Sundays are for Kids programme at Medway’s two theatres.
An absolute treat for children this Easter holiday – one not to miss.

Tickets, priced at £12, are available from the box office on 01634 338338 or online at http://www.medwayticketslive.co.uk

The Medway Community Safety Partnership is continuing to hold community engagement meetings for residents in Medway.

Following on from the first of its kind in October, the next meeting is to be held at St Marks Church in Canterbury Street Gillingham on Tuesday, 16 April from 7pm. More

People all over Medway will soon have the opportunity to learn how to communicate without words. In the coming weeks a selection of courses, some free, will be on offer to teach sign language and Makaton. The communication courses held by Medway Community Learning will be running throughout March and April. More

Now Gravesham CAN with community grants

Community groups and organisations will be able to get money for projects and to improve facilities from a new capital fund called Gravesham CAN (Communities And Neighbourhoods).

The scheme is divided into three categories – grants up to £10,000 for major projects, smaller grants at the discretion of every of ward member of the council for local groups, and a fund to help create networks in the new communities in the borough. More

Medway Council has agreed to form a Medway Disabled Residents’ Forum following a full meeting of the council on Thursday, 18 October. Following questions raised by a member of the public the decision received unanimous backing at the meeting. More

Popular French painter Toulouse-Lautrec is the subject of an illustrated talk in Chatham later this month (April).

Art historian Martin Heard will bring to life bohemian Paris in the 1890s and the world of cafés, dance halls, and the popular entertainment of fin-de-siècle Paris, particularly Montmartre.

Like a celebrity photographer, Toulouse-Lautrec not only recorded this lifestyle but he also became an active part of this Parisian world himself.

Toulouse-Lautrec and Bohemian Paris illustrated talk is on Tuesday, 24 April at 7.30pm at Chatham Community Hub.

Booking is essential by phoning 01634 337799

A talk to celebrate International Women’s Day takes place at Rochester Library next month. Sam Hall, playwright and founder of 17Percent, an organisation to support female playwrights, will give the talk entitled From Aphra Behn to the angry young women: A top 10 of the UK’s women playwrights for International Women’s Day. More

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