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Santa Maria 7 Drawer ChestFrom life at sea, to the Santa Maria range from Little Tree Furniture

During his first voyage, Christopher Columbus’ largest ship was called the Santa Maria. Its impressive size and performance in the Atlantic crossing made the Santa Maria his flagship vessel. Pertaining to a rich history of exploration at sea, Little Tree Furniture’s aptly named Santa Maria range is made almost entirely from reclaimed boat timbers…

The Santa Maria upcycled furniture range creates a contemporary twist using vintage timbers – some of which are more than 150 years old. The wood displays a plethora of colours and etchings from its original purpose in boat hulls. Each one differs from the next – making every piece completely unique.

The boats might have made their final voyage at sea; however, Little Tree Furniture’s Santa Maria range ensures the existing attributes of the wood are not wasted and thrown on the shipping scrapyard! Providing a new lease of life for the timber, Little Tree Furniture has designed a range consisting of 12 furniture pieces that boast beautiful visual appeal; such as the Santa Maria Lamp Table, Console and Storage Chest.

The Santa Maria range exudes character, which can be truly admired and appreciated in the home.

www.littletreefurniture.co.uk Stockist: 01424 734191

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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.”

Residents in Medway will still have the cheapest council tax in Kent after councillors approved a budget for 2014/2015.

Councillors last night voted for a 1.99 per cent increase in council tax to combat an unprecedented cut in funding to the council from the government that will see the authority get just £52million this year – a huge 9.6 per cent less than last year.

Despite this, Medway Council has managed to protect frontline services from cuts in the budget for the forthcoming year. We are also freezing increases on car parking charges until 2017 and will provide £200,000 to improve play areas.

Council tax funds more than 140 services for almost 270,000 residents in Medway. These include important services such as weekly bin and recycling collections, adult social care, educational provision and children’s social services, as well as looking after Medway’s roads and parks.

The increase in this year’s council tax equates to a £22.77 increase per year for an average Band D property – the equivalent of 44p a week.

Medway currently has the seventh lowest council tax of all mainland unitary authorities and is, on average, over £100 below the average combined council tax for Kent County Council and Kent district councils.

Funding in the budget will include:

• £2million for highways improvements
• An extra to £450,000 to fix potholes caused by the adverse weather
• Doubling of free Christmas parking for five years
• £200,000 for improvements to children’s play areas
• £30,000 to fund apprenticeships on the Medway Queen
• £100,000 to fight plans for the Thames Estuary airport – a campaign that has all-party support
• An extension on freeze to car parking increases until 2017

Unlike many other authorities, our 16 libraries and 19 children’s centres will face no threat of closure – as the council is committed to keeping these important local resources open.

In fact, the council has also recently provided new community hub style libraries – which also provide a one-stop facility for information on and booking of other council services – for Gillingham, Rochester and Chatham. Strood and Twydall will see new community hubs open in 2015.

Medway Council has only increased its council tax twice in the past four years, and has done this only to secure a balanced budget.

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: “This has been an extremely tough budget for us against a backdrop of cuts and almost impossible deadlines imposed on us to produce it.

“The small council tax rise is unavoidable if we are to maintain our vital services. “But there are a number of very positive announcements in this budget and we are proud to have avoided cuts to our frontline services.

“While every authority has been hit by Government funding reductions, Medway has been particularly hard hit and we expect that by 2015/16, we will have seen our funding from central government cut by 48 per cent over five years.”

The councils total budget for 2014/15 will be £331 million compared to £348.5 million the year before.

All residents will receive notification in the mail over the next few weeks detailing their council tax and the new charge will start in April.

Food waste recycling has just got easier for Medway residents.

medway council caddyFrom Monday 27 January, compostable kitchen caddy liners to take food leftovers can be bought at selected Medway libraries.

The liners are £1.50 for 26, a competitive price to encourage more residents to use them.

Libraries at Chatham Community Hub, Hoo, Rainham, Strood, Walderslade and Wigmore will stock them for a six-week trial. If successful, other libraries could be added.

Cllr Phil Filmer, Medway Council Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services, said: “Using these liners is good. They keep the kitchen caddy clean, reduce smells and make it easier to transfer food waste.

“We have had a good response from residents since we introduced weekly recycling in October and we want to encourage more.

While caddy liners are best, newpaper or kitchen roll can be used as an alternative. For more details, www.medway.gov.uk/recyclenow

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

Householders in Gravesham will get a new and easy way to increase recycling as part of a major reorganisation of refuse and recycling collections in the borough next summer. The proposals will be discussed by the council’s Cabinet on 7 October.

Under the preferred scheme food waste will be collected weekly in separate new food caddies along with residual waste in black sacks every week. Once a fortnight recycling will be collected in wheeled bins. This has been proved to increase recycling and reduce residual waste as well as limiting the mess caused by food waste. Read more

grain-beach-0361.jpg If you need to know more about the possible hazardous waste site at Grain you can click the following link to find all of the contact details.

Perrys Farm Information

Or you can contact your local Councillor to register your opinion by following this link

Find Your Councillor

Three men stopped during operations by Medway Council’s environmental enforcement officers to tackle metal theft have ended up in court for failing to produce the correct documents for transporting scrap metal. More

A driver has been fined £600 for failing to produce a valid waste carrier’s licence. Stephen Collins, 60, from Gravesend was stopped by Kent Police Motorbike Team on Anthony’s Way, Strood, on 11 September. His Ford flatbed truck was loaded with waste materials including broken brake discs, tyres and white goods. More

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

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

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

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

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

A Chatham man has been fined £1,000 for failing to supply the correct paperwork for transporting waste.

In July this year, Kent Police and Medway Council Environmental Enforcement Team, working on a joint operation, stopped Terry Arnold, 22, of White Road, Chatham.
Arnold was issued with a fixed penalty notice for failure to produce authority for transporting waste.

The FPN remained unpaid, so in August an invitation was sent to Arnold to arrange a meeting with an enforcement officer.

There was still no contact or payment from Arnold, so the case went to Medway Magistrates Court, and was heard on Tuesday, 20 November. Arnold did not appear in court but the case was heard in his absence. Arnold was issued with a £1,000 fine, full costs of £409.90 and £15 victim surcharge. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety Cllr Mike O’ Brien said: “Unlicensed waste carriers are a higher risk for the illegal storage, transport and disposal of waste or flytipping than licensed carriers. Often little or no evidence leaves council taxpayers picking up the cost of clearing up the fly tipping. The total cost to clear and dispose of such waste was £2.7 million for the 2009-2010 tax year.

“Carrying the correct documentation allows authorities to monitor the accountability of the waste and who is responsible for the production and disposal of waste.
“Mr Arnold was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice which gave him the opportunity to discharge liability for the offence, but after no payment was received, we had no choice but to take this matter to the magistrates court.”

Medway Council will soon be able to offer residents weekly recycling collections, thanks to a successful bid for government funding.

The council has been given funding of just over £14million, following a successful bid for funding from the Weekly Collection Support Scheme. More

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

A Chatham man has been fined after failing to supply his waste carriers licence when stopped by council officials. Paul James Fletcher (22) or Sailmakers Court, Chatham, was sentenced on Monday, 28 November at Medway Magistrates Court. Fletcher was originally stopped outside EMR Whitewall Road, Strood on Friday, 22 July 2011. More

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