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Day Of The Opening 14-5-14Upcoming exhibition at Rochester Art Gallery – Time Lapsed

A Medway artist will be showcasing her creative talents in the latest exhibition at Rochester Art Gallery.

Marissa Mardon – a painter from Rochester – will debut pictures of the historic town amongst a new display called ‘Time Lapsed’.

Mardon is known for her paintings of traditional landscapes using monochrome colours, but this exhibition shows an experimental side of the artist as she moves away from her usual style.

Many of the oil paintings will illustrate Medway’s rich history and reflect on the area’s ongoing regeneration.

Her canvases are bare in places, revealing visible pencil marks and brush strokes to show how a painting has developed over time – a fact that has helped inspire the name for this exhibition.

Visitors will also be able to watch a short film, capturing the process of Mardon’s work and how an image evolves from beginning to end.

Some of her pieces have been showcased at galleries throughout Britain and found homes across the world.

Also on display at the exhibition will be ceramics by two other artists. Imogen Noble will be presenting a selection of her crafted pots, rich in colour and inspired by natural patterns such as weathered stone and wood.

She will be joined by Raewyn Harrison, who will display her clay creations based on the themes of architecture, industry and tidal landscapes.

The artists’ work will be further complimented by historic objects loaned from the Rochester Guildhall Collection.

The exhibition will run from 28 March to the 1 June with a special preview on the 27 March between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Free Admission. Opening times are Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sundays, 10.30pm to 5pm

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Burlesque63Red
Flushed with success, now entering its fourth fabulous year, the world’s original touring burlesque spectacular is about to hit town.

Officially Britain’s biggest burlesque extravaganza – a quarter of a million people have now seen this show – An Evening of Burlesque is responsible for exposing the cream of the West End of London’s thriving burlesque scene to the world. Not only has the ever-so-cheeky production revealed the secrets of the art of burlesque to delighted audiences across the UK, it has also thrilled theatregoers at the swishest venues throughout Europe as well.
From Milan to Zurich, St Petersburg to Minsk, Leipzig to Verona, Dresden to Riga, Padova to Dessau the reaction has been the same – absolutely incredible, says show producer Michael Taylor.

“Nothing is lost in translation,” says Michael. “An Evening of Burlesque’s content – sparkling glamour, physical humour and a dynamic score – are appreciated in any language.”
An Evening of Burlesque features corsets, killer heels and stockings aplenty – and that’s just the theatregoers who come to see the show!

“For a spectacle that sparkles from its elaborately-decorated headdresses to its immaculately varnished toes,” says Michael, “it might not come as a complete surprise that audiences are predominantly female. Also, we’re pleased to report that, with a prize for the best-dressed member of the audience, theatregoers revel in dressing up for the occasion.”
The show itself sparkles with couture costumes recalling the golden eras of burlesque. An Evening of Burlesque claims to be the most glamorous show on tour.

For over-18s only, it boasts that its success is built on a combination of sultry vocals, breathtaking choreography, mischief, magic, frivolity and fun.

“It’s all tease, no sleaze,” says Michael. “The show combines musical and theatrical parody, cutting-edge variety, magic, comedy and dance with the art of striptease.”

Michael says he is proud to be bringing variety back to the theatre, claiming An Evening of Burlesque is the slickest, wickedly wittiest, most delightfully choreographed cabaret spectacular of the year.

“Dress up and come to the cabaret,” he says.

DRESS TO IMPRESS – PRIZE FOR THE MOST GLAMOROUS MEMBER OF THE AUDIENCE

Sparkling with couture costumes, featuring killer heels and stockings aplenty. . . no, we’re not talking about the burlesque all-star performers appearing in Britain’s hottest new theatre show sensation An Evening of Burlesque.

That’s a description of audiences for the glamorous production. Its combination of song, dance, mischief, magic, music, frivolity and fun has proved an unqualified hit with the ladies.

“Throughout the UK,” says show producer Michael Taylor, “at every venue, the fairer sex make up the majority of our audiences. “And the ladies just love dressing for the occasion.”

So much so, the production now offers a “burlesque-tastic” surprise prize for the best-dressed member of the audience on the night. The prize will be awarded by the show’s production manager, their decision being final.

“The show is an opportunity,” says Mike, “to forget about all your troubles for an evening and enjoy the thrills and spills of modern-day burlesque.

“Theatregoers completely immerse themselves in the evening’s entertainment.”
Michael says, as performers look out from the stage the auditorium is aglitter with the most dazzling outfits.

“As a consequence, the atmosphere at theatres is absolutely electric,” he says.

“We would like to reward the most glamorously-dressed person with a prize they’ll treasure forever.”

ENTERTAINERS, 200 LONDON ROAD, HADLEIGH, BENFLEET, ESSEX, SS7 2PD
Tel: 01702 427100 switchboard, 01702 427102 direct easytheatres.com

Hazelwood_School_Year_7_PS084 The inventive and award winning Learning Team at The Historic Dockyard Chatham has created two new Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities for Key Stage 3 and 4 pupils – “Missile Mission” and “Depth Charge Destroyers” – thanks to the generous sponsorship of BAE Systems, Electronic Systems, Rochester.

Pupils from Hazelwood School on the Kent / Surrey border were the first to trial one of the two innovative sessions, “Depth Charge Destroyers”. Inspired by The Historic Dockyard’s Second World Destroyer, HMS Cavalier, teams of students competed to construct and test a model destroyer complete with propulsion systems. They then devised a simple release mechanism to deliver a depth charge and the team whose ship survived the challenge of the tow tank wind and wave machine and hit the target won!

Michael Tierney, BAE Systems, Electronic Systems, Rochester Site Executive Lead, commented, “We are proud to be supporting these STEM programmes for children within the Kent and Medway area. It is wonderful to see children experiencing and solving STEM-related problems as well as exploring the possibility of careers in these fields.”

Rebecca Brough, Learning Manager at The Historic Dockyard Chatham said; “We are always looking for new and pioneering ways to engage the thousands of students who visit us here every year and take part in our education programmes. Our partnership with BAE Systems has enabled us to develop these extended 90 minute sessions, offering even better value for money to schools. The sessions are designed to develop pupils’ teamwork and communication skills while extending their technical knowledge of STEM subjects.”

Medway will be part of history in the making today when the Mayor of Medway raises a Commonwealth flag over Gun Wharf.

Mayor Josie Iles is set to fly the flag along with 500 other local authorities, community groups and charities throughout the British Isles to mark Commonwealth Day.

Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth is the first event of its kind and has caught the imagination of thousands of participants, enabling communities to join others nationwide in linking themselves with widespread public expression of commitment to the Commonwealth.

A specially written Commonwealth affirmation will be read out at each ceremony before the raising of the Commonwealth flag at 10am.

In Medway, the council’s Chief Executive Neil Davies will read the affirmation followed by Leader Rodney Chambers who will read a message from the Queen.

Mayor of Medway Josie Iles will then raise the flag over the council building. A second Commonwealth flag will be raised at Rochester Castle.

Charity teams will mark the day by taking Commonwealth flags to the top of the UK’s four highest national peaks and use the occasion to raise funds for their worthy causes: Cancer Research UK – Scafell Pike, England; Help for Heroes – Ben Nevis, Scotland; Walking with the Wounded – Mount Snowdon, Wales; and Fields of Life – Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland.

Mayor of Medway Josie Iles said: “I feel privileged to be raising the Commonwealth flag at the ceremony on Monday along with hundreds of others around the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. This mass flag-raising event is a wonderful way to mark Commonwealth Day.”

pancakes article On Tuesday 4 March the second Annual Pancake Races will be held on New Road, Gravesend. Local businesses will be racing against each other whilst flipping their pancakes. Races start at 12.15pm.

Last year’s winner was Lizzie from the Kent messenger. A council spokesperson said: “Last year was flipping crazy, there was a great buzz in the town with shrieks of laughter as the businesses raced against each other. We are looking forward to crowning a new champion this year.”

Fagin Fagin

The next meeting of the Rochester and Chatham Dickens Fellowship (R&CDF) is on Thursday the 20th of February 2014 at 7.15 for a 7.30 start. The meeting is in the Education Room of Dickens’ World in Chatham and includes a talk: Dickens and Medway: the years in Kent as seen through the Guildhall collection by Jeremy Clarke. The February meeting is always known as the Charles Dickens birthday meeting and suitable celebrations are planned. A short reading will also be given by an R&CDF member. Non-members are welcome to attend for a small fee. For details of the R&CDF, or for non-members to attend, contact the Hon. Secretary, Mr Steve Martin, on 01474 834164.

Jeremy Clarke
Dr Jeremy Clark is Education Officer in the Guildhall Museum, High Street, Rochester. He provides a learning programme based on the museum’s collections and buildings. Jeremy gained a PhD from the University of Kent in 2007 and has been in museum education for over 19 years.

The Friends of Chernobyl’s Children is a local branch of a charity that helps children from Belarus by giving them a recuperative holiday which allows respite from the poverty and difficult conditions they face at home for a month each year. The charity is based in Cliffe with host families in Cliffe, Cliffe Woods, Allhallows, High Halstow, Medway Towns and Higham. (More information can be found at

 Thyroid patients receive medicine at the Radiation Medicine clinic near Minsk Thyroid patients receive medicine at the Radiation Medicine clinic near Minsk

cc.org.uk” target=”_blank”>http://www.focc.org.uk)

This is provided through family placements and the charity meets the full cost of these visits which include optical, dental and health checks as well as lots of tender loving care. It is anticipated that up to twelve children will be able to take up the opportunity this year in Medway. While they are here they undertake a range of activities and visits that they would be unable to do at home.

By extensive fundraising FOCC (Medway) meets the full costs of all the visits. The charity is self-funding and everyone involved gives their time and talents freely – ensuring that all money raised is utilised for the children.

In order to continue with our work we constantly need to raise money. Until now, the cost of the children’s visas for their trips to the UK has been funded by the British Government but last year the funding was withdrawn. The air fares for the children are rising each year and it costs hundreds of pounds to bring each child to the UK.

While appreciating that we are living in austere times, any donation no matter how small will make a huge difference to these children.

We are also looking for an additional Trustee for our Executive committee, if you feel that you could help in this capacity please get in touch. If you would like to find out more or be involved as a helper, fundraiser or host family please contact Di Fitter.
Group Coordinator: Diane Fitter – Tel. 01634 222875 E-mail: dianefitter@btinternet.com

Police all over Kent are increasing the number of Public Surgeries and Community engagement events they run. Please find below a list of these events around Medwaylink_Kent_Police_logo_-_Two_line_colour (1)

Surgeries being held by PCSO CORNWALL

Luton Library, Nelson Terrace, Chatham Thursday 6th February 1000 – 1130 hours

Luton Library, Nelson Terrace, Chatham. Thursday 6th March 1000 – 1130 hours

Surgeries being held by PCSO DAVISON

Medway Maritime Hospital, Windmill Road, Gillingham. February 19th 1000 – 1100 hours.

Community Engagement/Surgery held by PCSO KING

Morrison’s Car Park, Princes Avenue, Chatham. February 3rd 1000 – 1100 hours

March 3rd 1000 – 1100
April 7th 1000 – 1100
May 5th 1000 – 1100
June 2nd 1000 – 1100
July 7th 1000 – 1100
Aug 4th 1000 – 1100
Sept 1st 1000 – 1100
Oct 6th 1000 – 1100
Nov 3rd 1000 – 1100
Dec 1st 1000 – 1100

Community Engagement/Surgery held by PCSO KING

Walderslade Village Library, Walderslade Chatham

Feb 4th 0900 – 1000
March 4th 0900 – 1000
April 1st 0900 – 1000
May 6th 0900 – 1000
June 3rd 0900 – 1000
July 1st 0900 – 1000
Aug 5th 0900 – 1000
Sept 2nd 0900 – 1000
Oct 7th 0900 – 1000
Nov 4th 0900 – 1000
Dec 2nd 0900 – 1000

Surgeries being held by PCSO BROOKS

Wigmore Library, Fairview Avenue, Wigmore.

Thursday 27th February 1100 – 1200
Thursday 27th March 1100 – 1200
Thursday 24th April 1100 – 1200

Surgeries being held by PCSO McCANN

ABC Project, Mercury Close, Rochester.

Thursday 13th Feb 1000 – 1100
Thursday 13th March 1000 – 1100
Thursday 10th April 1000 – 1100
Thursday 15th May 1000 – 1100
Thursday 5th June 1000 – 1100
Thursday 10th July 1000 – 1100

Surgeries held by PCSO COLTHORPE

The Rochester Hub, Rochester High Street.

Thursday 13th Feb 1000 – 1100
Thursday 13th March 1000 – 1100
Thursday 10th April 1000 – 1100
Thursday 8th May 1000 – 1100
Thursday 5th June 1000 – 1100
Thursday 3rd July 1000 – 1100

Surgeries being held by PCSO McCANN and PCSO COLTHORPE

St Peters Church, Delce Road, Rochester

Tuesday 4th February 1000 – 1100
Tuesday 11th March 1000 – 1100
Tuesday 8th April 1000 – 1100
Tuesday 13th May 1000 – 1100
Tuesday 3rd June 1000 – 1100
Tueday 8th July 1000 – 1100

Surgeries being held by PCSO McCANN

St Justus Church, The Fairway, Rochester.

Wednesday 19th Feb 1000 – 1100
Wednesday 12th March 1000 – 1100
Wednesday 9th April 1000 – 1100
Wednesday 14th May 1000 – 1100
Wednesday 11th June 1000 – 1100
Wednesday 30th July 1000 – 1100

Surgeries being held by PCSO McCANN

The Holiday Inn, Maidstone Road, Chatham

Thurs 13th Feb 1200 – 1300
Thurs 13th March 1200 – 1300
Thurs 17th April 1100 – 1200
Thurs 22nd May 1100 – 1200
Thurs 19th June 1100 – 1200
Thurs 31st July 1100 – 1200

Surgeries being held by PCSO CLARE

Memorial Hall Car Park, Holly Road, Wainscott
Feb 14th 1600 – 1700

Outside Parkside Car Park, Cliffe Woods.
14th Feb 1730 – 1830

St Helens Church Car Park, Cliffe
14th Feb 1900 – 2000

2014 069Another evening, more rain and more puddles, more mud and no chance of getting outside and really enjoying yourself.

Then it’s a good job the Upnor Pier is here to brighten up our evenings and whisk us off to the Caribbean for the evening with entertainment, three course meal and fun competitions combined to provide a great evening again and not forgetting the genuine Steel band.

Our chivalrous host enabling all to take part Our chivalrous host enabling all to take part

Our congratulations to the Limbo Competition winner who beat off some stiff competition, not that it was a close run thing as I meant stiff in a…. finding it awkward to bend sort of way.

And the winner is........feeling a little unwell. And the winner is……..feeling a little unwell.

As for the winner of the Chilli eating contest, well Julia, you are fearless, we are checking, but don’t think anyone, ever, in the History of the Upnor Pier chilli eating contest (It’s a tradition now you know) has eaten all six, the last one being named a Ghost Chilli. Congratulations and sympathy go to you this morning.

If you would like to know more about events at The Pier, find them on face book, or see them on page three of our printed edition for regular updates. You can find all the pictures from last nights event HERE.

Layout 1A long-term plan that secures the future of Rochester Airport has been approved by Medway Council.

The Rochester Airport Masterplan includes proposals for 1,000 jobs with the creation of a new hub for science and technology firms and much-improved facilities in this key location.
The approval of the masterplan comes after a comprehensive public consultation.

First established in 1933, the Rochester Airport site is owned by Medway Council and has been leased since to an airport operator – Rochester Airport Limited.

Proposals involve replacing many of the existing buildings and facilities on the airport that are now reaching the end of their useful life and a reconfiguration of the existing runways.

One of the grass runways on site will be closed and replaced with a new parallel grass and paved runway. The paved runway will allow a small aircraft to take off and climb to a higher altitude very quickly, reducing the impact of noise on surrounding homes.

The grass runway will allow the nationally recognised Medway Aircraft Preservation Society (MAPS) to continue to use the site for heritage aircraft and open days.

The new runway layout will allow 29 acres near to Rochester Airport Industrial Estate to be developed as a new hub for science or technology related firms – with the potential to eventually create up to 1,000 new skilled jobs.

There are no plans to develop Rochester Airport into a commercial airport.

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Deputy Leader of Medway Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: “Rochester Airport is an important asset for Medway and securing its future will help contribute to the regeneration and economic development of Medway.

“We want to ensure the future of the airport by maximising its potential for jobs and tourism and that’s what the masterplan does.

“The potential for new jobs here is just one of many benefits this masterplan brings.”

Figures released today show schools in Medway are narrowing the achievement gap between disadvantaged pupils and other pupils.

Performance at Key Stage 4 shows that in Medway, there has been an increase in the percentage of disadvantaged pupils gaining 5+ GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and mathematics, up 1.8 percent to 38.8%.

That closes the gap from 30% in 2012 to 28.5% in 2013.

cllobrien.jpgIn 2013, the overall Medway figure for the percentage of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics) has been maintained at 61%. That means Medway is above the national figure of 60.6%. Lead Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Medway Council, Councillor Mike O’Brien, said: “We have much to celebrate in Medway schools with further evidence of a continuing improvement.

“Figures only show part of the picture and don’t always reflect the hard work being done by teachers and pupils but today we can congratulate all those involved for showing Medway schools are really going places.

“That’s not to say we will take these figures for granted and the hard work will continue.
“But this is fantastic news and I would like to say well done to all our young people who have worked so hard to achieve this with their dedicated and hard-working staff.”

Key facts and figures:
Medway Performance at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5

• The number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 has increased by 2.3%, from 3168 in 2012 to 3242 in 2013.

• In 2013, the overall Medway figure for the percentage of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics) has been maintained at 61%.

• The number of pupils entered for all English Baccalaureate subjects increased by 68%.

• The percentage of Medway pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects increased from 14.7% in 2012 to 18.6% this year. This represents an improvement of 3.9% and exceeds the 2012 national figure of 18.4%.

• Almost all Medway state funded schools saw an increase in the percentage of pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects.

• Both of the Medway LA maintained secondary schools had successful results.

• The number of pupils at the Howard School at the end of Key Stage 4 increased from 219 in 2012 to 238 in 2013. In the past year, the Howard School maintained it performance level for the number of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics). Their figure of 62% was the same as last year, and exceeded both the corresponding Local Authority and national figure for 2012.

• The Howard School also saw a remarkable increase in the percentage of pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects. Their performance improved from 1% in 2012 to 20% in 2013.

• In 2013, St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive School increased the percentage of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics) to 47%, up one percentage point from the previous year. The percentage of pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects also saw a notable increase from 2% in 2012 to 8% in 2013. The school also showed significant gains at Key Stage 5.

• Robert Napier is the most improved for 5+ GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and mathematics, with figures increasing from 31% in 2012 to 47% in 2013.

• Medway has reduced the achievement gap between disadvantaged pupils and all other pupils. There has been an increase in the percentage of disadvantaged pupils gaining 5+ GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and mathematics, up 1.8 percent to 38.8%, thereby closing the gap from 30% in 2012 to 28.5% in 2013.

• The percentage of Medway disadvantaged pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate has also increased by 1.6%

HMD Poster FINALA holocaust survivor will recall the horrors of fleeing Nazi Germany during a special event at Rochester Cathedral.

Susi Bechhofer, who wrote a moving book of her experience, is expected to talk about how she fled Germany at the age of three and and how it took her almost 50 years to learn that her mother had died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, in Poland, in the Second World War.

Susi’s account is part of an event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day at the cathedral on Monday, January 27, at 6pm.

Medway schools have been busy preparing for the event and there will be readings, poetry, drama, music, exhibits and prayers by pupils.

Pupils will also reflect on more recent genocides in Rwanda, Cambodia and Bosnia, focusing on the current problems in South Sudan.

In addition to the Memorial Day, there will be an exhibition of artwork at Rochester Guildhall produced by schools and Mid Kent College students.

A Peace Wall has also been created where individuals will be able to pledge what they can do to make the world a better place.

Members of the Medway Youth Parliament will be taking the Peace Wall to the Pentagon Centre in Chatham on January 25 and it will be at the cathedral on the day of the service, which this year has the theme of ‘Journeys’.

Holocaust Memorial Day is being supported by Medway Council, Rochester Cathedral, Medway Youth Parliament, Chatham Memorial Synagogue and Medway Inter Faith Action.

For press enquiries and confirm a place at the Memorial Day call Canon Philip Hesketh from Rochester Cathedral on 01634 843366 or email bookings@rochestercathedral.org

health appAn innovative new NHS service is helping to put Medway people more in control of their own health and find the right treatment quickly when they need it.

The web app Health Help Now advises people on the best treatment for different symptoms, and helps them contact the best service for them, whether that is a pharmacy, their GP practice, NHS 111 or many other services.

In the first month since its launch on 13 December 2013, Health Help Now has been used more than 3000 times by more than 2100 people.

Dr Chris Markwick, Urgent Care GP at NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Health Help Now has useful information and advice for people of every age. By using Health Help Now, people should be able to find the service in Medway or Kent that can help them, whether they are at home or out and about.

“We know that it can be confusing to know where to get help. People who are unsure often just go to A&E, even if they only have a minor injury or ailment.

“Health Help Now can help these people to get the right treatment without having to wait in a busy A&E department.

“That will help them and, by keeping A&E free for those who really need it, it will also help the NHS focus lifesaving care on the most seriously ill and injured patients.” Now, everyone who lives, studies and works in Medway and Kent can have details of local health help at their fingertips, whatever the time and wherever they are.

Health Help Now shows the user where their nearest services, such as GP practices, minor injuries units, dentists, optometrists and pharmacists are. It also suggests support phone lines for mental health worries, and contains a wealth of information on common health conditions, and links to reliable resources.

The web app is available via the website www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net and can be saved to your phone, tablet or computer for easy use. Why not save it so you have it readily to hand when you need it?

St Werburgh Court, Hoo St Werburgh Court, Hoo

A recent report, commissioned by the National Housing Federation, revealed that the gap between supply and demand in housing is widening. Nationally, England needs to build 240,000 homes a year just to meet the demand[1] yet house building decreased by 11% between 2009 and 2013[2]. In Medway, the demand for affordable homes is clear: rental prices are expected to rise by 38% by 2020[3].

mhs homes is on target to build more affordable homes across Medway in 2014 with developments at Amherst Hill, Brompton and the sites previously used as Rainham and Rochester police stations. The properties will be available for shared ownership and affordable rent. More homes are planned for Kent and Medway in 2015 and beyond.

Emma Riddington, Head of Development at mhs homes, says:

“At mhs homes, we recognise the need to support the local community and are developing properties to suit all individual circumstances. We are increasing our portfolio of both affordable and market rent properties and have started work on sites outside of Medway. In 2012/13 we built 140 new homes, and are on target to build another 260 new homes by the end of March 2015.”

[1] National Housing Federation, “Supply and demand/affordability”
[2] ibid
[3] National Housing Federation, statistics for Medway.

Earlier this month, mhs homes staff members spent three days volunteering with Medway Foodbank.

The volunteers worked at Medway Foodbank’s warehouse and main office in Medway City Estate, allocating goods to six local centres across the Medway area. This included organising goods in date order, packing up boxes of food to replenish the centres, and sorting the ‘Christmas corner’ which contained seasonal treats such as mince pies to help bring some extra Christmas cheer to Foodbank users. The volunteers sorted through donations received from Tesco shoppers, Medway churches, the general public and mhs homes staff.

Kevin Jennings, Medway Foodbank Warehouse Manager said:

“We really appreciate the wonderful help we have received from mhs homes staff. It has been really busy in the warehouse and the extra help has been a real blessing. During the first weekend in December we had approximately 4.4 tonnes of food donated by generous Medway residents, for which we are extremely grateful.”

Joanna Blackwood, Housing Systems Co-ordinator said:

“At the time the warehouse seemed packed to the rafters but we were told that this was only because of the food drive. In fact the Foodbank manager said that if we came back after Christmas we would see a much depleted stock! It was great to see how generous the public had been, and especially that there were also some extra treats to provide some extra Christmas cheer.”

For more information about Medway Foodbank, or to give a donation please visit http://www.medway.foodbank.org.uk or call: 01634 757057

Irene Ropery CobblestonesAs darkness descends, The Historic Dockyard takes on an eerie atmosphere, providing the perfect backdrop for tales of history, mystery, murder and intrigue – mixed with a little adventure and romance. This year’s ghost walks and spooky tales take visitors around the darkened cobbled streets of the Ropery buildings and into the dimly lit Ropery itself – an eerie experience in the darkened ¼ mile rope walk.

Commencing at 8pm and lasting approximately 1½ hours these eerie evenings cost £12 per person and run on the following dates:
Friday 25th October
Friday 1st & 15th November
Friday 13th December

Places are limited! To avoid disappointment, pre-booking is essential. Call 01634 823845 / 823852 or email ghostwalks@chdt.org.uk

Minimum age is 16 years if accompanied by a full paying adult over the age of 21.

Welcome to another exciting installment in this season’s Peninsula Darts action. With the expanding of the league’s ‘premises’ and promotion of two very good teams into the first division, it is anyone’s guess how things will unfold. Well, so far, so topsy-turvy! Newly promoted Hoo have made a bold start by beating neighbours Five Bells (9-3), the Evening Star (10-2) and then the champions at The Labour Club in Twydall (8-4). The Labour Club’s A team are sitting close by in second place after another cracking start. Wins over The Labour Club B, The Palmerston Club and at The Hogarth in Grain. Also in joint second place in the table are ‘old’ league members The Sportsman A, who have also triumphed in Grain, beaten The Cecil Arms and put paid to the hard to beat White Horse. Again, another place affected by legs won and lost. Much fancied Walnut Tree, from Gillingham, have lost just one game so far, against fellow cross-river team, Palmerston Club, enough to keep them back in seventh place behind The White Horse in Upper Stoke. The lower reaches of the first division are more interesting. Read More

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

Fagin

Fagin

The next meeting of the Rochester and Chatham Dickens Fellowship (R&CDF) is on Thursday the 17th of October 7.00 for a 7.15 start. An extraordinary AGM followed by a talk by Dean Caston titled “The Victoria Palace Theatre” The meeting is in the Education Room of Dickens World in Chatham. Non Members are welcome for a small fee. For details of the R&CDF or for non-members to attend contact the Hon. Secretary Mr Steve Martin on 01474 834164. For Dickens World – http://www.dickensworld.co.uk

Dean Caston – The Victoria Palace Theatre

The current Victoria Palace theater opened in 1911 so most of the talk covers the period 1911 to date. However, Dean will also talk about the history of the theater from 1832 – 1866 when it was a Music Hall.

Dean Caston has been involved with the theater for over 35 years and serves on the committee for the Rainham Theatrical Society and the British Musical Society. He is currently appearing at the Criterion Music Hall in Sheerness and will be appearing soon in ‘Dick Whittington’ at the Hazlitt Theater, Maidstone. Dean is also a tour guide at Dickens World.

trainThe rail industry’s powers to increase fares are being curbed as part of the Government’s drive to cut the cost of living and overhaul the existing rail fare system.

The ability of train operators to add an additional five per cent to some individual fares, as long as the average rise of regulated fares is maintained at one per cent above inflation, is being limited to just two per cent as part of the Government’s Fares and Ticketing review published today by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

As well curbing the rise in fares, the review opens the door for future innovations such as the end of paper tickets, a code of conduct for train companies to give passengers the confidence that they are getting the best deal for their journey, and a flexible approach to season tickets which could benefit part-time workers.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “By capping fares we are protecting passengers from large rises at a time when family incomes are already being squeezed. We will need to wait for the rail industry to calculate individual ticket prices for next year, but this cap could save some commuters as much as £200 a year.

“Alongside this, the Government is investing over £16bn to transform our rail network, which will make sure we can respond to increasing passenger demand and drive forward economic growth that will help strengthen our economy.”

The Fares and Ticketing Review sets out the Government’s vision for a modern, customer-focused fares and ticketing system aimed at encouraging even more people to travel by rail and ensuring they have a better experience.

In addition to the limit on the maximum increase in regulated fares, the review includes a range of further measures:

• A Ticketing Code of Practice. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) will oversee the code to ensure that passengers are provided with the information they need to choose the best ticket for their journey and that this information is clear and not misleading.

• Ticket Offices. A strengthening of the rules around how train companies alter opening times at station ticket offices. The Government’s intention is that passenger representative bodies can play a greater role in shaping any changes and ensure that appropriate passenger safeguards are also put in place.

• Flexible Ticketing. The Government is committed to introducing more ’touch in – touch out’ rail tickets across the network which could mean part-time workers receive a discount on season tickets for travelling 3 days rather than 5 or for travelling earlier or later. The Department for Transport’s £45 million South East Flexible Ticketing programme will pilot many of these innovations next year.

• Market Review. The ORR will look into the sale of tickets and consider whether current markets are operating efficiently, effectively, and in the best interests of passengers and taxpayers. The Department has committed to consider any cost-effective recommendations that come out of the review.

• Annual Surveys. ATOC has agreed to release information to customers from next year on how well ticket office staff, ticket machines, and websites perform in regards to selling passengers the best ticket for their journey.

• Single Leg Pricing. The DfT is planning a pilot scheme which will allow passengers to more easily ‘mix and match’ each ticket type when planning a return journey, giving passengers extra confidence that they are getting the best deal on their journeys.

The Fares and Ticketing review can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/rail-fares-and-ticketing-review

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s Written Ministerial Statement on the Fares and Ticketing Review: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/fares-and-ticketing-review

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s speech to the Rail Industry following the Fares and Ticketing Review: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/fares-and-ticketing-review–2

Jessie Brennan portrait © Chris Dorley-Brown

Jessie Brennan portrait © Chris Dorley-Brown

A new exhibition at Rochester Art Gallery this month, ‘Adrift on Life’s Tides’, is inspired by the River Medway’s heritage and will see the first public view of a new work by the award winning London based artist Jessie Brennan.

The exhibition also includes one of the artist’s most famous works The Cut which won Second Prize in the Jerwood Drawing Prize, 2011, more recently this piece won Contemporary Talents 2012 (Drawing Category), François Schneider Foundation, France. Read More

Eastgate_House_open_day_140913 More than 1,200 people took the opportunity to have a look around Eastgate House, Rochester during Heritage Open Days (12 to 15 September). The scheme celebrates England’s fantastic architecture and offers free entry to historic buildings that normally charge for admission or are not usually open to the public.

This was the last chance for visitors explore all four floors of the Elizabethan town house before work begins on a Heritage Lottery Funded project to conserve the building and transform it into an exhibition and community space with improved access. The house is due to re-open in 2015. Read More

ApprenticeshipA number of local businesses looking to recruit new staff will be setting up shop at the Pentagon Centre in Chatham this week for the Medway Jobs and Apprenticeship Fair 2013.

The event, organised by Medway Council and Job Centre Plus, takes place from 10am to 3pm on Thursday, 26 September on the first floor of the shopping mall.

It builds on a highly successful jobs fair held last year attended by more than 1,700 jobseekers resulting in 100 jobs being secured and many others helped to get their career ambitions on track.

A number of local employers from across Medway and the rest of Kent will have stands as well as employment support agencies, offering advice on training and skills to help people back into work or find a new career.

That includes the council backed Employ Medway service, based in High Street. Chatham which offers courses and one-to-one support for people who have been unemployed for some time.

Jobcentre Plus will be on hand to provide information on how both employers and jobseekers can benefit from the Wage Incentive scheme, work trials and work experience. Read More

batsbroomsThings get spooky this Autumn Half Term at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, as visitors explore the eerie and ethereal through a range of exciting activities.

Running from 25 October through to 3 November, visitors can join in the Bats and Broomsticks activities, suitable for all the family. These include a brand new and very informative Bat Trail, the return of Megan the Witch with spell binding stories to enchant and – back by popular demand – families can challenge their creative skills by trying their hand at Pumpkin Carving or take the spooky mini Ghost Tours through the eerie Hearts of Oak gallery in the dark! Read More

Public consultation on a new document setting out how Medway’s potential World Heritage Site supports the area’s regeneration agenda goes live today (16 September, 2013).

The draft Chatham World Heritage Planning Policy document responds to government feedback on Medway’s bid to nominate Chatham Dockyard and its Defences as a World Heritage Site in 2014.

Chatham is one of just eleven sites on the government’s shortlist of potential World Heritage Sites. It is considered the world’s best-preserved example of a defended dockyard from the age of sail. Read More

DCMedway Council has been praised by the Prime Minister for some of the best results in Britain for helping families in a groundbreaking government scheme.

Under the project the council will help more than 500 families in a three year period.
The programme in Medway means council workers assist families with the underlying issues which can lead to truancy and anti social behaviour. The scheme also gives advice on developing skills and getting back into work.

The Prime Minister’s comments have been welcomed by Councillor Mike O’Brien, Medway Council’s lead porfolio holder for Children’s Services. Medway Council has worked with 180 families in the last twelve months and more assistance will be given to another 380 over the next two years of the project.

David Cameron praised Medway’s work in implementing the payment-by-results programme. The Prime Minister said: “I am determined that we help people to get on in life including those families where things may be going wrong. For some, that starts with attending school every day, staying out of trouble with the police and taking practical steps towards work, just as other families do. Every month, more and more of the most troubled families are getting help to deal with these issues head-on in Medway . That is good for those families, your community and our country as a whole.”

Cllr O’Brien said: “I am delighted the Prime Minister has recognised the excellent work being done to make Medway a great place to live and work for everyone. It is a tribute to the hard work being done by many council staff to help those in most need. Within three years we will have helped 560 families. ”

chatham-watersFollowing detailed planning approval being given last night (Wedneday, 12 September 2013) for the first phase of the Chatham Waters development at Chatham Docks, Gillingham, Medway Council Leader Rodney Chambers said:

“Chatham Waters is a key development for Medway and we are pleased that the first phase can now go ahead. This marks the beginning of a new era for the docklands at Gillingham, which promises to bring thousands of local jobs and economic prosperity to the area. Read More

Rochester station (Malc McDonald) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Rochester station (Malc McDonald) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Medway Council’s planning committee last night (11/9) agreed to proposals from Network Rail for a new railway station in Rochester.

The £26million station, which will be built at Corporation Street car park, is part of Network Rail’s East Kent investment programme to improve high-speed rail services, increase capacity, improve journey times and update infrastructure.

It will mean that Rochester’s rail station will be situated closer to the heart of Rochester town centre, which will help businesses in the High Street and boost tourism. Read More

Medway Council’s ‘ambition to improve standards for its young people is universally acknowledged by its schools, a letter from Ofsted states.

The schools’ regulator made the comments in a letter to the authority following a focused inspection which included visiting a very small number of the area’s schools.

This inspection, which took place in June, and involved Ofsted going to ten of Medway’s 100 schools, was to ask their opinion of how they work with the council on school improvement. Read More

ORIGINAL 244a Fiona

For the first time ever at any event, Salute to the ‘40s has three of the leading 1940’s female performers together on one stage. With two Main Stages, two dancehalls, dance workshops, street performers and music across the site the weekend at The Historic Dockyard is going to be full of entertaining vintage delight! Keep Calm and Carry On to Salute to the ‘40s on 21st and 22nd September at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. Read More

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