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Snorkellers below the Minack (Rod Allday) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Snorkellers below the Minack (Rod Allday) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Registration has opened for Medway’s newest mass participation event – the Medway Big Splash.

The weekend-long event will showcase watersports, aquatics and water-based activity sessions, all culminating in the main event – a mass community swim challenge.

It takes place at Medway Park and Strood Sports Centres on 18 and 19 January 2014.

The swimming event builds on the success of the annual Medway Mile, which now attracts thousands of people of every age for a one-mile walk or run around Rochester. Read More

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A private childcare nursery in Rochester has been rated as outstanding in all areas by Ofsted.
Little Explorers Nursery received the grading after a visit by inspectors in May 2013. Ofsted rated it as outstanding against all criteria: how well the early years provision meets the needs of the range of children that attend; its contribution to the well-being of children; and the effectiveness of the leadership and management. More

Three of Medway’s Sure Start centres have been praised highly by Ofsted in their first ever inspections and a Medway day care nursery has been recognised as outstanding.
Bligh Sure Start Children’s Centre in Strood has been rated as outstanding – the first in the country to be awarded this grade since Ofsted introduced a new, significantly tougher inspection regime in May 2013. Its day care centre also received its second successive outstanding rating. More

Two of this year’s Rochester Castle Concerts have now completely sold out, so anyone looking forward to going along to the other two should book without delay.

Tickets are sold out for legendary rockers Status Quo, who will kick off this year’s More

More than a half a million pounds is being invested in local nurseries in readiness to offer a thousand additional places for two year olds in Medway by 2014.

Around 50 pre-schools are set to expand under the new scheme and a small number of new nurseries will be developed in areas where high demand is forecast. More

Medway Council will this week invite owners of local licensed betting and gaming premises to a meeting to seek agreement for a voluntary code on gambling.
The move is part of ongoing efforts to prevent a small minority of gamblers from getting into a spiral of debt to feed their addiction, including the use of fixed odds betting terminals. More

Medway Council’s Cabinet has today (Tuesday, 12 March) approved the setting up of a ground-breaking joint venture company to help it provide facilities management services across its property portfolio. The partnership between the council and the public-sector owned company Norse is the first of its kind in the South East and will both save money and create local jobs for local firms and apprenticeships. Medway Council operates from more than 140 buildings across Medway with a current value in the region of £1bn, which all need to be looked after. The council spends more than £7million per year on traditional facilities management such as cleaning, maintenance and catering and wanted to find a way of offering a better value for money service. More

Two people will have to part with three hundred pounds each as a result of their decision to drop litter in Medway. More

BBC Radio 4s Any Questions? is set to be broadcast from Medway. The current affairs programme, which is presented by Jonathan Dimbleby, is broadcast live on Friday evenings, just after 8pm. More

Two litterbugs have been fined by magistrates after discarding cigarette butts in Gillingham High Street, in two separate incidents. More

Another local business has opened up in Medway, and for cobbler Arnaud Gois, it’s the start of a dream come true. The 38 year old has accomplished a 10-year dream and set up his own cobblers based in Station Road, Rainham, with a little help from a Medway Council start up grant. Cobbler Elf was officially opened for business at the end of September by owner Arnaud, who has spent the last 15 years working for shoe repair company, Timpson. More

Remember, remember – the biggest fireworks display of the year will be on Saturday, 3 November.
A Medway’s Year of Celebration draws to a close, many thousands of people are expected to attend this year’s free event at The Great Lines in Gillingham.
The Mayor of Medway, Cllr. Vaughan Hewett will light the bonfire at 7pm, then the skies will light up as a stunning display of fireworks gets under way from 7.30pm.
Refreshments will be on sale throughout the evening. Visitors are asked not to bring their own fireworks or sparklers and to make sure pets are kept at home. – There are no parking or toilet facilities on the site. Entry to the event is free. 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

A new way of working with care providers, which has seen service improvement and a £1.9 million saving, has been approved by Medway Council’s Cabinet.

The approach used to award new suppliers for the council’s homecare and extra care services for adult social care clients was a pilot of the new Category Management approach to procurement. More

Hospital staff and patients, students, parents and children – everyone is benefiting from road safety improvements in Marlborough Road, Gillingham.

A new zebra crossing has been installed on Marlborough Road, near its junction with York Avenue.

In addition, the existing crossing near Stafford Street has been updated with new high friction surfacing and refreshed road markings. More

A Medway Council benefits officer was caught by colleagues fraudulently claiming council tax discount for living alone after he posted on social media websites about his family. Married father-of-two Jonathan Lincoln, 30, came under the spotlight after he failed stringent I.D. and address checks for staff working in the benefits section of the council. Shocked colleagues discovered he not only illegally claimed a 25 per cent council tax discount for living as a single person, but had also turned a blind eye to his wife Ellen’s bogus income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit claims as well. More

Medway is gearing up for a day dedicated to showcasing the area’s economic prowess and employment opportunities.

Businesses and industry leaders from across the south east and London will descend on the Construction Expo in Medway, on Thursday, 11 October, for a day dedicated to boosting employment and regeneration in the area. More

Medway Council Environmental Protection Team has won a national award for its work.
The team entered the RSPCA Community Animal Welfare Footprints Awards 2012, and won the English Unitary Council Innovator Award.
The project entered for the award was the council’s A Day for Every Dog events, which were organised in conjunction with the annual national Noise Action Week. Although the main focus was to raise awareness of dog barking complaints, it was an ideal opportunity to promote responsible dog ownership throughout Medway. More

Sign up to a new course and a new skill with Medway Community Learning.
Level 1 Award in British Sign Language starts on Wednesday, 9 January 2013. Interviews are taking place now for those people interested in this course.
The course is over 36 sessions and takes place every Wednesday from 7pm to 9pm at Eastgate, Rochester. Course fees starts from £180.
For more information and to enrol, phone Maureen Yates on 01634 338472 or email maureen.yates@medway.gov.uk

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.

Make sure your unwanted household furniture goes to a good home, by taking it to one of Medway’s three Household Waste Recycling Centres.
In a new scheme launched this month (September) Abacus Furniture Project (part of the registered charity West Kent Extra), now makes weekly visits to the centres to look for second hand items which can be sold at low cost to families in need, while preventing the items from going to landfill.
Any unwanted items that are too good to throw away are welcome, such as tables and chairs, chairs, sofas, beds, bedroom furniture and garden furniture.
If taken, the items will be made available to the public to purchase from the Abacus store at 67 Cuxton Road, Strood.
The furniture that is left at the Household Waste Recycling Centre will go for recycling where applicable.
The RE-use scheme is run by Medway Council in partnership with FCC, which manages the three recycling sites.
Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services Cllr Phil Filmer said: “This is an excellent initiative to help people to be able to furnish their homes affordably while ensuring as many items as possible are recycled rather than going to landfill. So I would urge people to use Medway’s Household Waste Recycling Centres as the best way to dispose of unwanted furniture.”
FCC’s Regional Manager Neil Jones added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to put to good use, items that would normally have been discarded. The best part is that we are assisting a very good cause in Abacus Furniture Project, helping the local community and excellent causes in other areas.”
The three household waste and recycling centres in Medway are located at Ambley Road, off Hoath Way, Gillingham, Shawstead Road, Capstone, Chatham and Sundridge Hill, Cuxton.
All three sites are open between 8am and 4.30pm Monday to Saturday and from 9am to 4pm on Sundays and bank holidays.
On Mondays between April and September, the Capstone and Cuxton sites only are open until 6.30pm

The Medway Community Safety Partnership is holding a series of community engagement meetings for residents across the area from next month.
Meetings will take place on a three-monthly basis in local areas across Medway.
The first will take place on Tuesday, 9 October, between 7 and 9pm at the All Saints Church, Magpie Hall Road, Luton.
The purpose of the meeting is to allow local community safety issues to be discussed with representatives from Medway Council and Kent Police.
Medway Community Safety Partnership Chair Councillor Mike O’Brien will be there to answer questions alongside representatives from Kent Police and Medway Council.
These will include Kent Police Chief Superintendent Neil Jerome and Medway Council’s Robin Cooper, the Director of Regeneration, Community and Culture, and its Assistant Director for Frontline Services Andy McGrath.
Cllr O’Brien said “We plan to conduct a series of meetings with residents in areas across Medway to give them the opportunity to discuss community safety issues where they live.
“Similar meetings will be held elsewhere in Medway on a 3 monthly basis, and we will publicise these as they are arranged.”
“I would like to invite anyone who wishes to come along to the 9 October meeting in All Saints o please come along as all are invited.”
For further information members of the public should please call 333333.

Businesses are being urged to dispose of waste properly after a court ordered a beautician to pay more than £1,600 for taking rubbish home and putting it in her household bin. More

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

The first of Medway’s flagship academy builds has been completed, on time and on budget.
The doors of Strood Academy’s old building have closed for the final time as its new £26million home gets set to open – the first new secondary in Medway for more than 40 years. More

Young people in Medway are being asked to get involved and help shape the future of education in Medway by taking part in a new online survey.
The survey is aimed at pursuing the possibility of establishing a University Technical College in Medway, by asking young people what they think about the idea.
By launching the survey, at http://www.medway.gov.uk/utc the board behind the bid, which is led by the University of Greenwich with members from the university, MidKent College and the council, hope to get as much feedback about the proposal for a Medway UTC as possible, to use should any future rounds of applications be announced. More

Medway Council is inviting potential providers to submit their applications to establish and operate a new primary academy in Chatham. More

Five officers from Medway Council’s Community Safety Team have trained to become walk leaders as part of Medway Health Walks. The five walk leaders now guide weekly health walks from the libraries in Strood, Cuxton, Lordswood, Luton and Hook Meadow, Walderslade.

Medway Health Walks is an NHS funded programme, aimed at getting more people out walking in their local community and utilising Medway’s excellent green and urban walking routes. The community walks are held every week and take approximately one hour. During the walks the community officers can identify any issues such as rubbish, fly-tipping and stray dogs.

After the walks the community officers join the walkers for refreshments, which also gives them a chance to discuss any local concerns with residents. The walks have proven to be very popular. Strood now has more than 40 registered walkers, with a regular turnout of 15-20 people each week.

To find your nearest Medway Health Walk, please visit www.abettermedway.co.uk/getting-active/findasession or phone 01634 333720.

Medway Council has reluctantly written to Gillingham Football Club to say it must leave its training ground for failing to pay for its use, or for gas, water or electricity bills. More

This month (July) Medway Libraries is encouraging visitors to be creative, and meet new people in the process.
Strood Library is hosting a social event on Saturday, 14 July for those people who are interested in writing, painting, photography and acting.
The idea is to encourage people from all age groups and walks of life to meet and mingle. Open to all artists from beginners to professionals.
Creative minds: meeting like minds is on Saturday, 14 July from 10am to 12.30pm at Strood Library. Places are limited. To book a place phone 01634 335890 or email strood.library@medway.gov.uk

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