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cyclogocolour2Youngsters with dreams of tearing up the track represented Great Britain at one of the largest motorcross beach races in Europe.

Young bike enthusiasts from Medway competed in the Endurole du Touquest in France on 8 and 9 February – their first ever endurance race lasting a gruelling one and a half hours.

Riders Patrick O’Neil, 16, from Strood and Jordan Chapman, 15, from Chattenden came in 37th and 93rd place out of 150 riders.

The talented teens were supported by a trio of mechanics, Jack Staples, 18, from Chatham and Stuart Galloway, 18 and Charlie Knight, 16, from Gillingham, who managed the pit stop and kept the bikes in top condition.

The boys were able to take part in such a prestigious race as part of Cyber Youth Connect (CYC) Youth Project, lead by Medway Council and funded by Interreg.

The project works in conjunction with partners in France promoting English and French unity, and gives young people oppotunities to develop their skills and talents.

Not only did the youngsters have a great time on their racing trip, it also provided them with a platform to put their newly learnt skills from the CYC programme into practice.

Patrick said: “I’ve learnt different techniques, the way to move around the bike in the sand and how to perform and different ways to ride the bike. Because there are no sand tracks over here that’s why everyone goes to Dunkirk – it’s so hard and different out there.

“Without CYC I would have never had the opportunity to do this so I am so grateful to everyone involved in making this happen.”

Jordan never thought he would have an opportunity to take part in such an event. He said: “Motor cross is something that I really enjoy doing, it’s been in my head ever since my dad bought me my first bike with I was two and a half.

“I have really enjoyed this experience and to get the chance to represent Medway in this race is something I could never have dreamt of.”

Since being selected for the race in August last year, the team prepared for the big event with Dover based motocross project MXCP, riding 125cc Suzuki bikes.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr Mike O’Brien said: “It is wonderful that teenagers from Medway were able to take part in a big competition like this abroad, alongside other young people engaged in similar programmes to CYC.

“The CYC Youth Project can offer up some great opportunities to our young people.”

Youngsters who would like to get involved with the CYC project can still do so as a variety of courses will be running until March 2015.

CYC gives 11 to 19-year-olds an opportunity to gain skills and experience in music, cookery, motorbike mechanics and safe riding, as well as media including filming and photography.

To find out more and sign up visit www.medway.gov.uk/cyc or call 01634 332286

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Adder (c) Jason Steel

Adder (c) Jason Steel

Kent Wildlife Trust welcomes the recognition of Lodge Hill – earmarked as a 5,000 home development site – as a nationally important site for wildlife by Natural England, the Government’s advisor on the natural environment.

On 13th March Natural England, the Government’s advisor on the natural environment, notified Chattenden Woods and Lodge Hill on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

SSSIs comprise some of the country’s best wildlife sites, including our most spectacular, important and beautiful habitats, and Natural England has a duty to designate such areas under national legislation that protects them for future generations.

Chattenden Woods, a large area of ancient woodland and grassland, was originally designated as a SSSI in 1984 under the Wildlife & Countryside Act. More recently, investigations into the adjacent Lodge Hill site as part of proposals for a significant housing development, have highlighted that this area is also very important for the same reasons.

The site supports communities of bats (six species), lizards, grass snakes, adders, slow worms, newts, frogs, toads, badgers and rare insects such as the shrill carder-bee.

It has a significant breeding bird population, most notably nightingales, which were found to be widespread across the proposed development site, and the new SSSI supports at least 1.3% of the national population of this declining species. The new SSSI encompasses the old SSSI and the important areas of Lodge Hill. More

In regard to Natural England’s decision to notify Lodge Hill as an SSSI area, please see a statement from Medway Council below: More

A huge development bringing hundreds of homes, a hotel, a supermarket and a conference and events centre to the banks of the River Medway has been given the green light by the government. The striking and ambitious Chatham Waters project at Chatham Docks, Gillingham has been approved by the Secretary of State – a decision that will transform the area and create almost 3,500 new jobs. More

An open evening to find out about teaching qualifications will take place later this month. The informal event will take place on Tuesday, 17 January at the Rochester Adult Education Centre/Community Hub from 5pm to 7.30pm. More

Get into the festive spirit with two seasonal talks in December More

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