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Transfer StationMore than 100 businesses from the construction, waste and maintenance industries attended a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event in Chatham hosted by Medway Council.

Councillor Alan Jarrett, Deputy Leader of Medway Council, said “It was great to see such a big turnout to the second Meet the Buyer event with local Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) well represented. I had lots of positive conversations with suppliers pleased at the open and innovative approach we are taking. I believe Medway Council is starting to position itself at the forefront of public sector procurement. ”

Workshops on how to fill out tender documents, details about the online tendering process and advice from experts gave businesses an insight into improving opportunities to win council work.

Neville Gaunt, North Kent Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses for Kent & Medway said: “It is great to see Medway Council changing the environment for SME procurement. I hope the local business community responds well to the opportunity it gives them. The FSB fully supports simple and creative thinking to get best value to all. I was particularly impressed that Medway has set itself a target for contracting with SMEs which is double the Prime Minister’s target for Government Departments.”

A number of the organisations who currently contract with the council, and who are looking for suppliers, attended including waste contractors Veolia, highways company Volker and building maintenance business Medway Norse.

Andrew Cottrell a Manager with the Leadbitter Group who have been contracted to build the new £11million Abbey Court Special Educational Need school said: “This was a brilliant event where we received lots of contacts with local suppliers. We applaud Medway Council in seeking to provide opportunities for Medway businesses and are impressed at their target to spend 50 per cent of their contracts with SMEs.”

Medway Council is also committed to the development of apprenticeship opportunities with local firms with a range of schemes and offers a £2,000 subsidy to qualified employers.

Kerry Linley, Account Manager with apprentice specialists TrAC, said: “This is easily the best meet the buyer event we have attended. Medway Council clearly mean business when it comes to apprentices and we were very impressed by the target in their procurement strategy that for every £1 million contract suppliers must provide at least one apprentice. We look forward to working with Medway to provide young people opportunities across the Borough and Kent.”

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

Medway Trading Standards are urging residents to draw up a list of traders they might need in a home emergency situation well before disaster strikes.

Posing as a consumer with a home emergency, the Medway Council team are conducting weekly online checks of more than 400 web links of nine types of home emergency trades from blocked drains to locksmiths.

Their websites are checked to see if response times have been exaggerated and if traders claiming to be local are genuinely based in the Medway area.

But despite searching for local traders officers found that only around 16 per cent were actually based in the Medway area with some being as far away as North Wales.

Several traders are also subject to further investigation for falsely advertising they were members of trade associations that they do not belong to including gas and electrical safety schemes. More

Festival of Wildlife 2013 – Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th August, 10am – 4pm

This free family event, now in its 6th year, is the only annual event in Kent to celebrate the wonderful world of wildlife. Organised by Kent Wildlife Trust and centred in and around a splendid woodland and lakeside setting – the packed programme features bug hunting, guided walks and angling demonstrations. The ‘Best of Kent’ stalls will offer all manner of arts and crafts and tasty locally-sourced food products. More

There can be very few people that think an airport anywhere on the Peninsula is a fantastic idea. If you would like to see why this area doesn’t need an airport and to get to appreciate some of the beauty that surrounds us, most often within walking distance of our homes, click the link below. It will take you to a Council publication that shows some circular walks on the Hoo Peninsula, some are good just for the view others will have you walking through history that in some cases goes back several thousand years. It may only be some coppiced woodland or the very path that you are walking on but many of us believe it should stay that way.

CLICK HERE

A new project has been launched on the Medway City Estate aimed at helping small businesses improve their ability to manage workplace health, safety and fire risks.
Estates Excellence brings together the Health and Safety Executive, Medway Council, Kent Fire Brigade and local businesses on the estate, including Veolia and Veetee Rice.
The partners will provide support, guidance and training to help businesses manage risk effectively, not only improving safety for employees but also enabling employers to benefit from reduced insurance costs and lost working time. More

The Electoral Commission has called on the Government to change the law so that voters are never again refused the opportunity to cast their vote, as happened at some polling stations during the last general election. More

An acting taster session will give wannabe actors the opportunity to uncover their hidden talents. More

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