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medway growsFamilies are being encouraged to take up the good life and take part in free workshops to learn how to grow their own food.

Medway Grows workshops are being run across the area from March to July and will be a fun way for all the family to learn something new – and cut down on household bills by growing their own grub.

Medway Grows is about healthy fresh produce , digging, planting, weeding, watering, landscaping and much more.

The workshops will encourage people of all ages to learn about a wide variety of projects from growing your own food, how to start planting and how best to get going at home.
And there’ll be lots of games and activities for children while mum and dad pick up top tips on how to grow the greens.

Councillor David Brake, Portfolio Holder for Adult Services, said; “These free workshops are a great way to get all the family involved in planting and growing.

“Not only will they teach the basics and give everyone a good idea of how to grow, but also they’ll encourage families to get healthy and, hopefully, save money by growing their own produce.”

Workshops will take place across Medway, at weekends and after school and booking is essential.

The first workshop dates include March 15 and May 28, Medway Park; March 20, Luton Library, Chatham, April 5, Bishop of Rochester Academy; April 8 and May 28, Burnt Oak Primary, Gillingham.

To find out more information visit http://www.abettermedway.co.uk/healthyeating/medwaygrows.aspx” target=”_blank”>our website or call 016344 334309 to book your place.

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smokefree drop inSmokers keen to kick the habit will have an added incentive if they make the change in March.

National No Smoking Day is on 12 March and Medway residents who quit with the council’s stop smoking service during this month will be in with a chance of winning prizes donated by local businesses.

Every year more than a million smokers use No Smoking Day as their motivation to quit and it is hoped people in Medway are no exception.

Anyone who signs up to the scheme in March and reaches week five of the seven week treatment programme, will get a free day pass to a local gym.

Those who go on to quit as a result, will be in with a chance of winning a prize.

Prizes range from cinema tickets, to hair cuts, lunches for two and a signed Gillingham FC football.

To pledge to quit visit the stop smoking team in Chatham High Street on 1 or 12 March, or call 01634 334800.

Those who successfully shake the habit with the help of weekly support sessions and carbon monoxide monitoring, will be entered into a prize draw and invited to a prize giving even at Gillingham Football Club on 8 May.

Director of Public Health Alison Barnett said: “Many people like to use the national no smoking awareness day as a starting point for their journey to become smoke free.

“I think it is really good that there is now the added incentive of winning a prize for those who achieve their goal. We want to help people who want to quit as much as we can and this makes it a bit of fun and gives people a small reward.

“I would like to thank all the local businesses that have donated prizes.”

For more information about the stop smoking service visit www.abettermedway.co.uk

Gruffalo-press imageThemed activity trails, giant wooden Gruffalo sculptures and a big birthday forest picnic are coming to Bedgebury.

Families in Kent and Sussex are invited into a deep dark wood near their home this year to celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary with characters from the world-famous picture books.

From April, visitors can join Mouse on his adventure and explore Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning tale through activity trails in the Pinetum.

The fun-packed partnership kicks off with The Gruffalo activity trails in Bedgebury and 27 other forests across England, which run through to the end of September. In October, The Gruffalo’s Child activity trails take over and will stay in Bedgebury right through the winter until February 2015. Characters from the stories will lead children through the trees with adventure and intrigue, learning about woods and forests as they go.

From June, a giant wooden sculpture of one of the world’s best-loved monsters himself will be hidden in Bedgebury Pinetum. Another 14 of the 7ft tall sculptures will be hidden in forests across England, for families to track down. The 15 Gruffalos will all be different and are currently being individually-carved in a secret woodland location out of three-ton pieces of timber, each carefully-selected from Forestry Commission sites.

Visitors are also invited to gather in Bedgebury with family and friends on Saturday 7 June to celebrate The Gruffalo’s anniversary with a big birthday forest picnic – inspired by an exciting party pack of forest-inspired picnic ideas, activities and bunting, free to download this Spring from the Forestry Commission’s website http://www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo.
Daryl Shute from Magic Light Pictures, the brand building and production company responsible for the award-winning animated Gruffalo films commented:

“The Gruffalo encourages followers to explore the real world with imagination, creativity and a true sense of adventure. With emphasis on learning and the great outdoors, Forestry Commission England is the perfect partner, and we’re delighted to be teaming up with them in this anniversary year to launch these exciting new series of trails across the country.”
“The Gruffalo lives in the natural world so a local forest is the perfect place to set out with Mouse on his journey in search of these magnificent new wooden carvings of one of the nation’s favourite children’s picture book characters.”

Sandra Styles from Bedgebury commented:

“There is no better way to celebrate The Gruffalo than within the deep dark wood and forest that he calls home.

“The Gruffalo is a national treasure and so are our forests and this partnership will really help to bring the story to life and celebrate the anniversary in true Gruffalo style.

“All the activities have been carefully positioned at Forestry Commission sites across the country so you are never more than an hour away from a Gruffalo adventure, and we are very excited to be a part of the celebrations with The Gruffalo activity trails and a sculpture at Bedgebury.”

Details of trails and sculpture locations and the forest birthday picnic party pack are available from http://www.forestry.gov.uk/gruffalo. Sign up online to find out more about the exciting year of forest celebrations.

Big Ride picThey’re off! Cyclists in Medway have hit the road to Rio – host city for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

Over the next four months, everyone is being invited to take part in a community challenge to cycle the distance equal to the journey from Medway to Rio – about 7,500 miles.
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Between now and 17 May the Cycle the Road to Rio roadshow will be on tour to help Medway cyclists clock up miles on static bikes mounted on turbo trainers.

The initiative is part of the build up to Medway Sport’s new mass participation cycling event – The Big Ride – which takes place on Saturday, 17 May.

The roadshow was launched at Medway Park at the weekend during the Medway Big Splash. It will be visiting locations across Medway including sports centres, libraries, shopping centres, schools and businesses such as Questor Insurance, sponsors of the Medway Sporting Academy.

Cycle computers will calculate individual people’s mileage, as well as logging the cumulative total across Medway. So you can cycle one mile or a hundred! Everyone taking part will be invited to take part in the mass participation event at the Big Ride, where they will receive a free souvenir t-shirt and the chance to win one of the bikes.

The main Big Ride event at Medway Park in May will feature lots of free cycling activities including a family treasure trail ride organised by the Better Medway team, an interactive mountain bike skills track, karting, Go-Ride races and training, have-a-go arenas and exhibitions. Something for everyone regardless of their ability.

Additional events linked to the Big Ride event will be Sportive rides for more experienced cyclists and a mountain bike competition at Capstone Park country park, both organised by British Cycling.

You can register for the Medway Big Ride mass mile online at www.medway.gov.uk/bigride. You will also find more information online about the Big Ride event and when the Cycle the Road to Rio roadshow will be visiting your neighbourhood.

If your organisation or venue is interested in hosting the Cycle the Road to Rio roadshow, it’s not too late. Call 01634 338255 or email medwaysport@medway.gov.uk.

Cllr Howard Doe, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “Cycling is becoming even more popular following the success of British riders at the Olympics and the Tour de France.
“As part of our sporting legacy, mass participation events like the Road to Rio roadshow and the Big Ride will give Medway cyclists plenty of opportunities to join in with serious riding as well as fun activities.”

Cycle the Road to Rio Roadshow locations are below. Timings 10am-4pm.

DATE VENUE
18-26 January Medway Park Sports Centre, Mill Road, Gillingham
30 January – 1 February Tesco, Cuxton Road, Strood
5– 7 February Medway Council offices, Gun Wharf, Chatham
8-9 February Hundred of Hoo Sports Centre, Main Road, Hoo
10 – 12 February Questor Insurance, Station Road, Rainham
Fri 14 – Mon 17 Strood Sports Centre, Watling Street, Strood
Half term week 17– 21 February Public Health Write and Play activity sessions. Venues to be confirmed.
28 February – 2 March Kings Rochester Sports Centre, Maidstone Road, Rochester
5 March Mini Youth Games Table Tennis, The Howard School, Rainham
6 – 10 March Splashes Leisure Pool, Bloors Lane, Rainham
10- 12 March Mid Kent College Campus, Medway Road, Gillingham
13 – 16 March Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre, Gillingham
16 March Families On Your Marks Day at Medway Park
21 March Deangate Ridge Golf Complex, Dux Court Road, Hoo
27 March Mini Youth Games Netball, Rainham Netball Centre
4 –7 April Diggerland, Medway Valley Leisure Park, Strood
10 – 12 April Rainham Library, Birling Avenue
17 – 19 April Community Hub, High Street, Gillingham
24 – 26 April Community Hub, Dock Road, Chatham
1 – 3 May Community Hub, Eastgate, High Street, Rochester
17 May Medway Big Ride, Medway Park, Gillingham
24 May British Cycling Mountain Biking Competition, Capstone Park

main copy.qxdWith Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s time to think about your heart.

NHS Medway Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging people to consider their lifestyles during February’s Healthy Heart Month. Making simple changes to diet and exercise can reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease. In Medway there are 7,500 people diagnosed with the disease, but it’s thought to affect many more.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is usually caused by a build-up of fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries that surround the heart. This can make coronary arteries narrower and restrict the flow of blood to the heart which increases the risk of heart attack. People are at higher risk if they:

• Smoke
• Have high blood pressure (hypertension)
• Have a high blood cholesterol level
• Do not take regular exercise
• Have diabetes

Other risk factors include being obese or overweight and having a family history of CHD. This risk is increased if someone has a male relative with CHD under the age of 55 or a female relative under the age of 65.

People from an African Caribbean background have a higher risk of high blood pressure than all other ethnic groups in the UK. Coronary heart disease rates are at their highest in South Asian communities.

The CCG’s clinical lead for long-term conditions, Dr Chris Markwick, said: “We’re urging everyone to think about their lifestyle and their heart in February.

“Are there things you can change to help you have a healthier heart? Can you quit smoking, lose weight, or be more active? How about trimming the fat from meat or grilling instead of frying? If so, there’s no better time to do it than now.”

Things you can do to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels include:

• Eating a balanced and healthy diet – and going easy on salt
• Avoiding eating too much food that contains saturated fat, such as cakes and biscuits, cream and hard cheese
• Being more physically active
• Keeping to a healthy weight
• Quitting smoking
• Reducing alcohol consumption and sticking to recommended guidelines
• Keeping blood pressure under control
• Cutting down on sugar – too much sugar in the diet can increase the chances of diabetes which will, in turn, increase the chances of developing CHD.

Healthy Heart Month runs from 1 to 28 February. For more information about heart disease, visit the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk or the British Heart Foundation website www.bhf.org.uk.

If you’re concerned about your heart, visit your GP.

All rights reserved by Gravesham Borough Council

All rights reserved by Gravesham Borough Council

NBC Ltd and NRG Gym who helped cover the cost of 5 new defibrillators for use in Gravesham were delighted to formally present the Defibrillators to Cllr Dhesi and David Hughes, Chief Executive from Gravesham Council . The total cost was £4,200 and following an appeal to local businesses Nick Sidhu of Nick Building Construction, NBC Air Conditioning and NBC Diamond Drilling in Northfleet offered to donate £2,000 and Shafiq Ahmed of NRG Gym, based at the former Gala Bingo Hall, Gravesend Town Centre donated £100. The Council covered the remaining £2,100 and are ensuring staff are trained in first aid and know how to use the defibrillator. 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

Around 40,000 people across Medway are diagnosed with high blood pressure, and the NHS believes many more may not know they suffer.

NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) predicts there may be as many as 65,000 people in total with high blood pressure across the Medway towns and is urging people to get tested and ‘know their numbers’. Read More

Image credit Simon Kelsey

Image credit Simon Kelsey

Work has begun on the construction of a new community football pavilion in Medway. The decision to build an extension to the existing community hall follows extensive consultation with the Rochester and District Saturday League and the Medway Messenger Sunday Football League, Twydall Community Association, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holderfor Community Services Howard Doe and local ward members.

It will replace the existing changing pavillion, which will be demolished once the new one is in place. It will provide an all inclusive facility at Beechings Way.
The hall will continue to be run by Twydall Community Association and the football changing facilities by Medway Council.

The funding for this scheme has been provided as part of a developer contribution for formal sport.

Pictured are Medway Council Porfolio Holder for Community Services Howard Doe, with representatives of the two local football leagues and Twydall Community Association.

28 People that completed a Healthy Weight programme in June 2013, lost a collective 60kg and shaved 97cm of their waists.

The Gr@nd’s Healthy Weight team have been supporting adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28 or above on a 12 Week programme .Participants learned about nutrition and tried a variety of exercise taster sessions, which has helped them to make little changes to lead a healthier lifestyle. Read More

healthy foodWould you like tips on making family meal times healthier? If you are a parent or carer with children aged 2-4 there are free advice sessions taking place near you from September.

The MEND 2-4 Programme, run by Medway Council’s Public Health Team offers a great chance for local families to learn about healthy lifestyle choices in a fun and creative way.

The course involves children and a parent or carer taking part in a 90-minute session, once a week for 10 weeks. Each session deals with issues that many parents face from fussy eating to temper tantrums.

There is also advice on reading food labels and encouraging children to try new fruit and vegetables, all of which builds a foundation for lifelong healthy living habits. Read More

John Getley with wife Katrina Getley and granddaughter Olivia aged 13Local man John Getley who has recently recovered from a stroke is encouraging other stoke survivors to attend a new support group which meets for the first time in Medway in September. More

sportactivExciting interactive play system SportACTIV was officially opened on 6 August in Ryetop Park, Rainham. The play equipment – the first to be installed in Kent – aims to help children and young people be more active. More than 25 children turned up at the park in Beacon Close, Rainham to try their hand at the games. More

Thousands of people are expected in Rochester for the grand finale to the Medway Festival of Sport 2013.
Up to 3,000 runners and walkers of all ages are due to take part in the Medway Mile on Friday, 26 July in Rochester. More

The people in charge of planning and buying NHS healthcare services for Medway are due to meet on Wednesday 24 July, 1.30pm at Fifty Pembroke Court, Chatham, ME4 4EL.

Local people are invited to observe the monthly governing body meeting, to find out about decisions being made on NHS healthcare services in the NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area.

There will be an opportunity for people to ask questions at the end of the meeting. Anyone who would like to submit questions in advance is encouraged to contact the CCG executive support team by email: sharon.davies6@nhs.net or by calling 01634 335177.

For further information, and to view the agenda and meeting papers (published on Friday 19 July), visit the CCG website: http://www.medwayccg.nhs.uk.

More than a dozen sports will be on offer as Medway Park plays host to a free disability and Clubmark sports taster day.

Visitors to the centre on Thursday, 18 July will be able to try everything from archery and athletics to martial arts and wheelchair rugby league – just days after the completion of the wheelchair rugby league World Cup at Medway Park. More

Temple Mill Children’s Centre will be celebrating its 5th birthday on Saturday, 13 July with a Family Fun Day.

The event takes place at the centre in Cliffe Road, Strood from 12noon to 4pm.

There will be a children’s entertainer, toddler boxercise, dancing, information stalls, story time with Medway’s Library Service, and a celebratory cake cutting at 2pm.

Admission is free and there’s no need to book in advance. For further details call the centre on 01634 338200

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.

Calling all families who want to get healthier and more active – healthy lifestyle course MEND starts again this September – sign up today.

As part of National Child Obesity Week (1-7 July), the Public Health Team is encouraging families to join the free MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition… Do it) course. The 10-week course takes place at various venues around Medway and supports children aged between five and 13, who are above a healthy weight, and their families to become fitter and healthier. More

Hundreds of runners have signed up for a new charity 10km race as part of the Medway Festival of Sport. The Medway 10km in aid of Cerebral Palsy Care Kent takes place on Sunday, 23 June in Gillingham. And it’s not too late to get your entry in. More

A new committee that will play a major role in ensuring Medway residents have the access to the best possible health and social care will meet for the first time on Tuesday (18/6) afternoon.

Nationally Health and Wellbeing boards have been established in all County Councils and Unitary Authorities. Read More

Free bike rides will be available this weekend in celebration of National Bike Week (15 – 23 June).

A Better Medway health improvement team is aiming to get Medway cyclists on their bikes across Medway with free, guided rides for adults available in Rainham, Cliffe Woods, Lordswood and Hoo. 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

A new pay-as-you-go fitness programme launches in Medway from Monday, 20 May, designed especially for beginners and those returning to exercise. More

An action packed three months of exciting sporting events gets underway in Medway this weekend (18 and 19 May). This year’s Medway Festival of Sport includes an incredible 50 events in 70 days, ranging from international competitions to schools’ tournaments and mass participation events for the whole community to get involved in. More

A free Pregnancy Information evening will be held at All Saints Sure Start Children’s Centre, Chatham on Thursday, 16 May.

The event is for women in all stages of pregnancy, as well as their partners and family. Anyone who would like advice and information can attend any time between 6pm and 8pm.
There will be information from midwives and health visitors as well as organisations including Breastfeeding Peer Supporters and NCT. There will also be advice about healthy eating in pregnancy, cloth nappies and slings, osteopathy for mother and baby, hypnobirthing, homeopathy, oral health and more.

Entry is free and there will be a chance to enter a free prize draw. Refreshments will also be available from the café.

For more information contact the Children’s Centre on 338833

Tai Chi Classes are now available at Cross Park Allhallows every Thursday at 2pm and also in Hoo at the Village Institute on Tuesdays at 11am. With a Qualified Tutor classes are suitable for people with arthritis, osteoporosis and other movement limiting conditions, but please discuss your circumstances with the instructor first so she can help you get the maximum benefit from the exercise 07734 258095.

Frindsbury Lawn Tennis Club have arranged for some professional tennis coaching to be available at the club grounds over the Easter to keep your young ones busy and active, getting their exercise, fresh air and having some fun. Please see the forms and poster below.

Easter Camp flyer final ZP

Easter app form

P1000652Two super-slimming couples from Hoo St Werburgh have discovered a new zest for life after winning a weight loss competition.

Carol and Tom Shave and Jill and Malcolm Smith’s success has transformed their lives and seen them crowned Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World Couples of the Year 2013.

The couples, decided to join the Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World group after realising that their weight was putting their health at risk.
They say, “We didn’t suddenly wake up with a weight problem, like most people our weight crept up gradually. I think it’s easy for couples to become comfortable with one another, and meals out and nights in with a takeaway or a bottle of wine take the toll on the waistline over time. But we realised that our size had reached a point where it was making us unhappy and we knew it would affect our health.” More

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