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A Kent-based charity is to offer free consultancy to two communities wishing to start planning for their futures.

Action with Communities in Rural Kent (ACRK), which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, will be offering free help to two communities within the county to start making a neighbourhood plan. Neighbourhood plans have been promoted by the government as a way of giving influence to communities over what is built locally. ACRK will be charging a fee for such help later in 2013, but has been awarded funding to try out a support package in two places. More

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

Girls Aloud Style Workshop
Monday, 8 April, 10am – 3.30pm at The Brook Theatre
A must for all Girls Aloud fans!
To celebrate Girls Aloud’s 2013 arena tour join professional dancer Jay will put wannabe pop stars through their dance paces.
Fun and laughter is guaranteed. Learn a new routine and have the opportunity to perform it to family and friends at the end of the day.

Justin Timberlake Style Workshop
Tuesday, 9 April, 10am – 3.30pm at The Brook Theatre
With a wealth of international hits and music videos under his belt this Justin Timberlake dance style workshop will give wannabe dancers the opportunity to learn the moves to one of his popular tunes.
Learn routines with professional dancer Jay and perform a showcase for family and friends at the end of the day.

Places on each workshop are £14 or book the two workshops together for £24.00, saving £4. Phone the Box Office on 01634 338338 for a booking form.

A look ahead to April at The Central Theatre and The Brook Theatre, Chatham.

Tiddler and other terrific tales
Sunday, 7 April 3pm
The Central Theatre
Tickets £12
Julia Donaldson’s most popular books are bought to life on the stage.

Joe Brown in concert
Friday, 12 April 7.30pm
The Central Theatre
Tickets £26
If you haven’t seen Joe’s talent already, here’s your chance.

Feast of Fiddles
Sunday, 14 April 7.30pm
The Brook Theatre
Tickets £16.50
Celebrating its 20th year, some of the UK’s finest fiddlers bring their own style together.

Comedy Club
Monday, 15 April 8pm
The Brook Theatre
Tickets £10
An evening with some of the best stand-up on the UK circuit.

Screen Classic: Brief Encounter
Monday, 15 April 7.30pm
The Central Theatre
Tickets £7

Let’s Talk Bike
Tuesday, 16 April 7.30pm
The Central Theatre
Tickets £15
TT Champions Ian Hutchinson and Nick Jefferies have won the Isle of Man TT eight times. In this unique show the riders give the inside track on what it’s like to race this exciting and dangerous circuit.

Jazz at The Brook – LD Frazier, New York Gospel singer
Tuesday, 16 April 8pm
The Brook Theatre
Tickets £11

The Girl with No Heart
Wednesday, 17 April 7.45pm
The Brook Theatre
Tickets £7
A delicate, provocative and haunting production bought to life with puppetry and music.

Folk at The Brook – John Kirkpatrick
Thursday, 18 April 8pm
The Brook Theatre
Tickets £10

Sean Lock
Thursday, 18 April 8pm
The Central Theatre
Tickets £21
A hilarious new stand-up show from this popular entertainer.

Cabaret of Curiosities
Friday, 19 April 8pm
The Brook Theatre
Tickets £11

Equator presents South Indian Bharatnatyam Dance
Saturday, 20 April
The Brook Theatre
Tickets £12, concessions available
Dancers bring to life the changing spectacle of traditional Bharatnatyam.

Chas & Dave
Friday, 26 April 7.30pm
The Central Theatre
Tickets £24

To book tickets to any of the shows, phone the box office on 01634 338338 or visit http://www.medwayticketslive.co.uk

Mr Dominic Slingo aged 46 was committed to prison on Tuesday 5 March 2013 and sentenced to 41 days imprisonment for continued non-payment of Council tax totalling £4,471.35. More

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.

A trial project to increase food waste recycling in Medway starts this month (December). Medway Council’s Waste Services has teamed up with chemical company BASF in a small trial to increase food waste recycling. Nearly 5,000 households in Hempstead, Twydall and Rochester will have received a silver kitchen caddy, a trial roll of ecovio® compostable liners, and an explanatory leaflet.

The average family will produce around one tonne of waste a year, of which 20 per cent is food. The trial will encourage residents to use the ecovio® bags to dispose of biodegradable garbage. The bags not only prevent noxious odours and keep out insects, but also mean that it is not necessary to wash and clean the container in which the organic waste is collected.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services Cllr Phil Filmer said: “It is always important to establish cross sector partnerships to encourage our residents to continue to recycle their food waste. There are many advantages to composting food waste via the brown bin, instead of black refuse sacks. When composted through the brown bin collections, it has a positive effect to the environment and rodents will not rip black sacks open if they do not contain food waste.

A spokesman for BASF Plastics said: “We were delighted to work with the council and the residents of Medway. We hope this project will prove that ecovio® compostable and biodegradable liners will increase the amount of food waste which can be used to produce good nutritional compost.”

Currently in Medway, recycling and organic collections are collected on a fortnightly basis. Following a successful bid from Central Governments Weekly Collection Support Scheme, the council has been given funding of just over £14million to increase these services to weekly, as well as maintaining a weekly general waste service. These improved services will come into effect summer 2013.

A talented cadet from Meopham is riding high after her squad was crowned Best UK Team at this year’s Uniformed Services Show Jumping Competition, Woolwich, beating 12 experienced mounted units from the likes of the Military Intelligence, Royal Logistics Corp and Police.

Sophie Green, 14, who attends Gad’s Hill School, Higham won one of four places on the UK Combined Cadet Force (CCF) team, after beating 25 riders from all over the country in a selection competition at the home of the Light Cavalry, Windsor, in early October. More

St Helen’s Church Christmas Tree Festival, Open Mondays to Saturdays from December 1st
until December 22nd 2012 11 a.m til 4 p.m

There are craft activities for the children and a mince pie and cup of tea so enjoy the space to rest, and come along and see over 60 Christmas trees decorated by the local community.

There is also a sealed auction of art work in aid of Friends of Chernobyl’s Children (Medway)

(excluding Saturday 15th and Thursday 20th December)

Thousands of people in the South East(1) are at risk of stroke because they fail to recognise the signs of a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA, also known as mini-stroke), according to the findings of a new poll(2) launched today on World Stroke Day (29 October 2012). More

PUPILS at a Higham school collected a bumper crop of food donations for charity as part of their harvest festival.

There were so many tins of food that children at Gad’s Hill School, Higham used wheel barrows to carry it all!

Each child – aged from three years old to eleven – brought in items from home, including tinned, powdered and dried food, tea, coffee, fruit juice and vegetables. The collection amounted to a staggering 2696 items!

Youngsters took the food to Royal Dockyard Church, The Historic Dockyard, Chatham as part of the school’s annual Harvest Festival and after treating the audience attending the special event to a series of musical performances, donated the crop to the Gravesend arm of The Salvation Army.

The charity will use the items to help stock up their ‘Foodbank’ which sees volunteers providing essential food items to families who have suffered in some way, as well as, elderly who are less fortunate and the homeless.

Major Patrick Carton and Richard Arnold, who are based at the Salvation Army, Grove Road, Gravesend was delighted to receive the food boost on behalf of the charity.

He said: “We would like to say a big thank-you to all the children and parents at Gad’s Hill School whose food will go to helping people in crisis.”

Headmaster Mr. David Craggs, said: “We try to encourage lots of charity work at the school and have in the past raised thousands of pounds for a variety of different charities.

“This year’s harvest festival taught our pupils a very valuable lesson: it’s better to give than receive, but even I was staggered by how much food was donated! While many of our families are much more fortunate than others, these are still tough times, so it was wonderful to see so many putting their hands into their pockets, or kitchen cupboards as it were, to help the Salvation Army do its valuable work.”

A recent unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found St Bartholomew’s Hospital, in Rochester, is meeting all essential standards of patient quality and safety.

The inspection on 10 September 2012 assessed how the hospital, which is run by Medway Community Healthcare, meets five standards – respecting and involving people; care and welfare of people; safeguarding people from abuse; supporting workers and assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision. More

Things get spooky, sparkly, and wacky this Autumn at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, as visitors explore the eerie and infamous through a range of exciting family activities and a new temporary exhibition. More

Medway’s A Block should close because it is just not good enough for people who are suddenly and seriously mentally ill – but it would be better if an alternative could be found in Medway, a consultation meeting was told.

“I think closing A Block is a good idea because the facilities at Medway are rubbish – they have always been terrible,” said Patricia Hardy, 44, from Gillingham, who has schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. More

Women who are at least six months pregnant in Medway are being urged to contact their GP practice about vaccination to protect their unborn baby against whooping cough. More

Medway Council’s Road Safety Team is celebrating after winning a Green Apple Environment Award for the innovative ‘walking bus stops’.

The team were competing against more than 500 other nominations in the national campaign to find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities.

The innovative work that impressed the judges was the Walking Bus Stops. These are permanent bus stops that mark the pick up stops on the successful Walking Bus Scheme. Local organisations sponsor a stop and support the walking bus, which aims to reduce congestion on Medway’s roads, improving air quality and improving road safety skills of children travelling to and from their school or after school club.

As a result of this success the team has been invited to have their winning entry published in The Green Book, the leading international work of reference on environmental best practice, so that others around the world can follow their example and learn from their experience.

Safer Journey Officers will be presented with their Green Apple Award at a presentation ceremony in the House of Commons on 14 November.

They will also be considered to represent the country in the European Business Awards for the Environment.

Young people can learn the art of circus skills at a circus school, which starts later this month.

The Brook Circus School with Dizzy O’Dare Presents is aimed at eight to 16 year olds and runs for 10 weeks from Friday, 28 September to Friday, 7 December from 6.30pm to 8pm (no class during half term) at the Brook Theatre, Chatham.
Young people can learn skills from professional performers using equipment such as juggling balls, hula hoops, tightwire, unicycles and diabolo. More

There are many reasons why people take adult education courses with Medway Community Learning.
From helping to achieve that promotion at work, just for fun and to make new friends, or even starting up in business – an adult education course can change lives.
And this academic year more classes are being offered at Chatham Grammar School for Boys, Maidstone Road, Chatham.
The school will play host to a variety of exciting subjects from sugarcraft to sign along, jewellery to journalism and plenty of popular cookery courses including Asian, Turkish, and Christmas cooking, baking and family feasts. The exciting curriculum hopes to inspire a new generation of adult learners.
Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “Learning a new skill can be very rewarding. It can open up the door to a new career, promotion or business, or it could be just for pleasure, to try something new, and make friends along the way.
“Medway Community Learning has a great variety of subjects on offer at locations throughout Medway. Lots of our courses are part-time so busy residents can fit them in around other commitments. If you’ve never tried adult education before, now’s your chance.”
The new course directory is available on the council’s website:

www.medway.gov.uk/adult-courses
Alternatively phone 01634 338400 for more details.

Are you aged between 12 and 17 years and have a flair for painting or drawing and would like the chance to win some fantastic prizes? then Nucleus Art Gallery in Gabriel’s Hill, Maidstone needs you.

Paint, draw sketch a picture with the theme of 2012. Size to be no larger than A3 and all work must be framed as we will be exhibiting your artwork within the gallery for one month.

Our competition is free to enter and further details can be found on www.nucleus-arts.com – just click on the Maidstone tab

Closing date is Saturday 22nd September.

Advance registration is required as entries are strictly limited to the first 75 entrants. To register please EMAIL US with your name, address, age and telephone number

From Olympic themed sport challenges to beach parties, fancy dress and farm visits, there’s a whole summer of fun in store at Medway’s Sure Start children’s centres. With 19 centres across Medway, each offering activities for families with children up to five years old, there’s plenty of fun to be had, right on your doorstep. A full timetable of activities for children and young people during the school holidays can also be found online, along with contact details for all of Medway’s Sure Start centres. More

Another fantastic award that reflects the ‘Excellence’ of The Historic Dockyard Chatham. The world’s largest travel website, TripAdvisor, has recognised the high standards found at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, following the maritime heritage attraction’s exceptional traveller reviews. The TripAdvisor ‘Certificate of Excellence’ awards businesses that consistently earn top rankings from the website’s large community of reviewers and cites “with a high rating, The Historic Dockyard Chatham has earned a place amongst the very best”. More

The Olympic flame will pass through the streets of Medway on Friday, 20 July – just one week before the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games.
Thousands of residents are expected line the streets to cheer on the 21 inspirational people, including four from Medway, who have been granted the honour of carrying the torch in the 8,000 strong chain linking towns, villages and cities across the country with the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. More

Oakleigh Farm was again this year the venue for a fun horse show and despite the recent spells of bad weather and torrential rain the sun shone or at least made its presence felt during most of the day. There were a large number of events for all ages and levels of experience, that applying to both riders and horses, spread throughout the day and competitors came from all over the area to join in. There were also a number of stalls selling related items alongside a BBQ and coffee stall. If you have never been to a horse show keep it in mind for June next year when I am sure it will all happen again.
Please follow the link below to view a number of pictures from the day, if you were there you may even recognise yourself on some of the photographs that were taken.
CLICK HERE FOR IMAGES

Medway Council’s Safer Journeys Officers will be visiting a school and children’s centre next week to speak to parents and show them how a small step can make a big difference to a family’s safety. More

The internationally acclaimed show Björn Again will get the party started with the greatest hits of Abba, before Steps take the Castle Concerts stage on Thursday, 19 July.
Created in the late 80s by Australian director and musician Rod Stephen, Björn Again has now performed 4,700 times in 70 countries over 24 years
Originally designed as a rocked-up light-hearted satirical Abba spoof, the show rapidly achieved world-wide cult status and initiated the Abba revival which brought about Abba Gold, Muriel’s Wedding and Mamma Mia! More

How to use leftovers, meal planning and food on a budget are just some of the top tips that visitors to a food safety roadshow can learn about.
Medway Council’s Food and Safety Team will be visiting six locations around Medway during National Food Safety week – 11 to 15 June. More

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