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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

Work has started on upgrading a Medway park which has attracted £60,000 from a green projects fund.
broomhill view2
This follows a successful Medway Council bid for SITA Trust funding to enable the £150,000 project to begin at Broomhill Park, Strood.

A complete refurbishment of the infant play area will take place and a new sports wall will provide an opportunity for children to play sport and active group games.

Full resurfacing of 1km of paths and the car park also forms part of the project.
A human sun dial has been designed jointly with the Friends of Broomhill and will replace one painted on the site’s old gun emplacement five years ago.

The play area will have a natural theme with images of leaves embossed in the playground surfacing. Equipment will include swings, a climbing frame and a see-saw.
Installing the play area as well as resurfacing paths and the car park will take up to six weeks and the site car park will be closed during that time.
Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “This is an exciting scheme which will provide young children with a lovely place to play in a natural setting.
“It’s part of a long-term vision developed by our greenspaces team with the local community. We are very grateful for the significant contribution from SITA that has allowed this project to go ahead.”
Jools Granville of SITA Trust said: “We are pleased to provide this much- needed funding to such a good project. We’re very impressed with the amount of community buy in and look forward to seeing members of the public enjoying these new facilities.”

Blake Aldrige2More than a thousand people have signed up to take the plunge at Medway’s mass swimming event The Big Splash with Olympian Blake Aldridge even making an appearance. Aldridge – who competed for Team Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – has won three world medals in diving and will now be joining the Big Splash as a special guest.

The Medway Big Splash takes place on Saturday, 18 and Sunday, 19 January at Medway Park in Gillingham and Strood Sports Centre. Watersports, aquatics and water-based fun will make up the weekend-long event, all culminating in a mass community swim challenge. Taking a quick break from coaching with Tom Daley on ITV show Splash, Aldridge will be at Medway Park on Sunday from noon to 2pm.

He will be meeting members of Black Lion Swimming Club and Medway Sporting Academy to share his experiences of diving from the age of five. He will also perform some of his award-winning dives. Visitors can also see Medway’s own GB synchronised swimmer, Amy Campbell, in action at Medway Park on Saturday. She will be showcasing her talents at 3pm during a display with synchronised swimming team the Medway Mermaids.

The Big Splash will be an action-packed weekend at both leisure centres. On Saturday, both pools will host free taster sessions in a wide range of activities including water polo, diving and swimming lessons. These run from 10am to 5pm at Medway Park and 10am to 3pm at Strood, with different sessions held every hour. In the evening both pools have free family pool parties, complete with a giant inflatables, games, music and lighting.

The main event on Sunday, 19 January is the Big Swim Challenge, when swimmers will take to the water and swim anything from a length to a mile, with the aim of seeing how far Medway can swim in one day. Every participant taking part will receive a free souvenir t-shirt and certificate. On the same day, a family sports day will be running from 11am to 3pm at both sports centres with no pre-booking required.

The weekend will also start the countdown to Medway’s other new mass participation event – the Medway Big Ride. Static bikes on turbo trainers will be set up in the reception at Medway Park for the launch of a four-month touring roadshow, setting Medway the challenge of riding to Rio, the next host city for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Howard Doe, Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “It is very exciting to have an Olympian as well as a local sporting star coming to The Big Splash. “The event offers families in Medway a fantastic opportunity to swim and have fun for free as well as a chance to see these experts in action. “I’d encourage people to come along and take part in activities if they can.”

*Tickets are still available for the 5.30pm to 7pm party at Strood on Saturday and for a 3.30pm to 5pm party on Sunday at Medway Park.
For full timetables, booking and registration information for all elements of the Big Splash weekend visit www.medway.gov.uk/bigsplash

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.

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.

If you live within the distribution area of the Peninsula Times printed version, you will doubtless be aware of Anim-Mates charity and the good work that they do. If you have some time to attend one or both of these events you would be providing tremendous help to them. Plus you get to eat CAKE at one of the events and everyone likes cake!

Just to illustrate the kind of people they are. We found a cat hiding under our car at home, clearly injured and clearly in distress. We tried in vain to contact other animal charities for help without success. We called Anim-Mates and hoped, someone answered, not only did they answer but they gave us the address of a vet that could help and even called ahead to say that we were coming and any charge should be referred to them. Unfortunately the poor little cat died as a result of her injuries within a day or so and although it was a short period of time Anim-Mates were there and available to help when bigger and better known charities were not. Please help them if you can by going along to have some fun at these events.

If you can’t quite read the detail click on the image to make it huge!

fun auction 2013

Afternoon Tea 2013

DSC_0176Having successfully won funding of £14m in a joint effort with Veolia Environmental Services, our recycling collections will change to weekly on the 28th October. Almost all of us by now will have received our grey food recycling box which can be kept inside the house and its compostable liner can then be placed in the brown bin or its equivalent.

The increase in frequency should make it easier for most households to make the most of their recycling opportunities for all the items that the council currently process. I for one will be glad to know that Friday is recycle day, full stop, rather than having to peer up and down the road to see what everyone else has put out. Read More

winepour Warnings have been issued to a number of restaurants, take-aways and off-licences in Medway after an operation led by the council’s licensing team working with police, HMRC, Environmental Food Safety and Enforcement teams. A number could face prosecution.

Twenty premises in River Ward were found in breach of licensing conditions – mainly not having a policy in place as set by the Home Office to prevent sales of alcohol to under age drinkers and not carrying out sufficient staff training. Some of the restaurants were in breach of the rules on drinking measures and were providing customers with unmeasured wine.

Five premises were found to have poor hygiene standards in their kitchens and one was issued with a prohibition notice because the electricity supply was found to be in a dangerous condition.

HMRC also seized more than 400 litres of alcohol from two off licences. 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

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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A number of road closures are scheduled for September to allow for essential repair works to be carried out. Read More

An exciting programme of summer fun events is taking place at Strood Youth Centre throughout August. All the activities are free and aimed at eight to 19 year olds.

Climbing – Monday, 5 August 3pm – 6pm

Archery – Tuesday, 6 and Tuesday, 20 August 3pm – 6pm

Trampolining – Wednesday, 7 August 3pm – 6pm

Cake decorating – Tuesday, 6, Wednesday, 7 and Monday, 12 August 3– 6pm

Jewellery making – Monday, 12 and Tuesday, 13 August 3pm – 6pm

Wet and Wild (water fights, slides and play) – Wednesday, 14 August 3pm – 6pm

Inflatable activity fun (gladiator style challenge) – Monday, 19 and Wednesday, 21 August 3pm – 6pm

All the workshops listed above take place at Strood Youth Centre, Montfort Road, Strood, ME2 3ET

1 – 15 August, Charlton Football Club will be running a summer slam football activity week from 10am – 4pm each day in Northcote Rec, Northcote Road, Strood. For more details about any of the activities and workshops, phone 07789 988165 or email patricia.houssein@medway.gov.uk

LEADING BEAUTY BRANDS LAUNCH EXCLUSIVE PINK RANGES FOR BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

Shop with a conscience and shop pink this October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Beauty favourites, Avon and ghd, have joined forces with leading charity, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, to launch exclusive pink products which carry a minimum 10% donation to Breakthrough’s life-saving work.

Avon and ghd, along with many more leading retailers, will all be doing their bit to help the nation turn pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More women than ever before are being diagnosed with breast cancer so it’s crucial that everybody gets involved and helps raise vital funds to stop women dying from the disease.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to saving lives through improving early diagnosis, developing new treatments and preventing all types of breast cancer. With 1,000 women dying from the disease each month in the UK alone, every penny raised is vital in order to help us create a world freed from breast cancer. Do your bit, do it pink.

1. Avon Pro Viva Pink Nail Varnish, RRP £4, 25% donation to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, available from your local Independent Avon Representative or online at avonshop.co.uk
2. ghd pink styler and paddle brush gift set RRP £135, £10 donation to Breakthrough Breast Cancer, available in the finest salons and at http://www.ghdhair.com. ghd has been supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer for 10 years.

Summer fete poster 2013

Cake bakers of the Peninsula take one step forward, wooden spoons and Kenwood Chefs at the ready. Send us pictures of your cakes and we will put them on our website for the world to see.

RAISE SOME DOUGH AND HELP BEAT BREAST CANCER, BREAKTHROUGH BREAST CANCER LAUNCHES THE VERY FIRST GREAT PINK BAKE OFF

This year leading charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer is recruiting an army of bakers to fire up their ovens, hit the kitchen and give breast cancer a good beating in the first ever Great Pink Bake Off.

More women than ever are being diagnosed with breast cancer so Breakthrough Breast Cancer wants local communities to whip up some support to help fund their life-saving research. More

Keep children entertained this summer holiday with some creative fun and activities thanks to Medway Council Arts Team.

Heatwave summer activities programme is designed for children aged eight to 16. More

RichardIII-blogpostTwo Medway pupils will be treading the boards this summer with a professional theatre company. Kent-based Changeling Theatre Company open-air tour of Richard III comes to Rochester Castle on 10 July and Upnor on 31 July and 1 August.

Ashley Stevens and Jacob Clarke are playing the princes in the tower at the Rochester and Upnor performances after successfully auditioning earlier this year. Ashley, who turns 16 next month, lives in Lordswood and has just completed his GCSEs, including drama. He is looking forward to performing in Medway with all the cast. He said: “I’m not sure acting is something I want to pursue because at the moment I need to concentrate on my A’ Levels studies – including drama. I’m really grateful to Changeling Theatre Company for giving me this opportunity. More

Swashbuckling Summer School Holiday Family Fun returns to The Historic Dockyard!

From 27th July until 1st September, it is fun ahoy at The Historic Dockyard Chatham as the popular pirate extravaganza returns. This year, in conjunction with the exhibition Exploring Antarctica: The Final Expeditions of Scott and Shackleton – it takes on an exploration theme! 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

A5 EOD Amber

This summer’s Castle Concerts series includes a fabulous 80s Night featuring Tony Hadley, ABC, and Go West on Friday, 19 July.

As lead singer of New Romantic pioneers Spandau Ballet, Tony Hadley has earned the accolade of being one of pop music’s greatest vocalists, fronting countless smash hits including Gold, Only When You Leave, Lifeline and the epic Through The Barricades, as well as his prominent vocal contributions to Band Aid and Live Aid. More

How-To-Catch-a-Star-190A charming show to kick start the Spring break comes to The Brook Theatre, Chatham as part of the Sundays are for Kids programme.
How to Catch a Star is on Sunday, 26 May at 11.30am and 2.30pm.
This is the story of a boy who loved stars very much. Every night he watched stars from his bedroom window and wished he had one of his own. One day he decided he would try to catch a star.
This beautiful show comes to life with an irresistible blend of music, puppetry and storytelling.
Tickets are priced at £6 for adults and £5 for children.
To book phone the box office on 01634 338338 or visit http://www.medwayticketslive.co.uk

A celebration of learning takes place at Eastgate Rochester on Saturday, 18 May as part of national Adult Learning Week (18-24 May).

Medway Community Learning is holding a free open day for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses between 12noon and 3pm at the Rochester Adult Education Centre.
The event will include information, demonstrations, displays of previous learners’ work, and activities for both adults and children.

There will be opportunity to speak with members of the adult learning team.
Free entry. Children welcome. Refreshments available.

Shoppers in Medway are being encouraged to take a trip down to their local market and discover the delicious, the fashionable and the bargains on offer.

The nationwide Love Your Local Market fortnight returns this week (15-29 May) part of a campaign run by the National Association of British Market Authorities championing market traders across the land. More

Here is a little something for this weekend if you have some time. Two venues over the two days, including some great ideas for gifts from crafters from all over the area and a few from beyond.

craft fairs

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IMG_7834Members of the Morgan Sports Car Club – South East Centre, also known as HopMog, visited The Historic Dockyard Chatham on Wednesday 1st May on one of their weekly outings to attractions and places of interest in the South East. Their twenty six classic Morgan cars were displayed on Museum Square in the centre of the maritime heritage site and also added an extra attraction for visitors to enjoy.

Alan Patterson, Group Organiser for the Morgan Sports Car Club (MSCC) said; “A huge thank you for making our visit to the Dockyard both memorable and enjoyable. The morning tour guides, Rose and Barry, were very knowledgeable and informative, and really gave us an insight as to how the dockyard worked. Steve (sorry, MR Steve!) was very entertaining throughout the Ropery tour with his grumpy foreman character and had us all in stitches. I know several of our members have upgraded to the annual ticket with the intention of returning later in the year. Please pass on our thanks to everyone involved in making it a day to remember.”

The Historic Dockyard Chatham makes a wonderful destination for car clubs to visit. Members can enjoy three historic warships, a working Ropery and four other museum galleries and attractions for the specially discounted car club admission rate. The club is given priority parking on site allowing easy access to cars during the day and also allows members’ cars to be viewed and admired by other visitors to The Historic Dockyard. Car Club bookings can be made with the Group Sales Officer on 01634 823815 or groupsales@chdt.org.uk

Other clubs booked for this year include The Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club 25 Register – Monday 13 May; BMW Motorcycle Club on Sunday 9 June; 1066 Chapter Harley Owners Group on Saturday 15 June; Alfa Romeo Owners Club on Sunday 11 August and the Porsche Club GB – Kent Region on Sunday 18 August.

All images copyright of and supplied by courtesy of Mr Patrick Boniface.

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