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Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, has launched a new grants scheme to help local people.

The ‘Commissioner’s Fund’ will give away £100,000 over the next financial year. It aims to support the hundreds of unique, community-led projects that can make a real difference to safety and crime prevention in our towns and villages.

Voluntary organisations and not for profit groups will be able to apply for grants up to £2,000 that demonstrate a positive impact on a community.

Applications, which open today, must meet one or more of the following criteria:

• Prevent and reduce re-offending

• Support victims of crime

• Empower local communities to work together to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour

All grants will initially be reviewed by the Kent People’s Trust – a local charity that aims to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour – with the final decision being made by the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, and where appropriate with input from the new Youth Commissioner.

Discussing the launch of the new scheme, Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to be able to launch this grant scheme for local people. Local communities know their patch and they understand what needs to be done to make it a better place.

‘I firmly believe that even a small investment will rally local people into playing their part in finding community solutions for local issues. I want people to be innovative and creative with their ideas and I’m really looking forward to giving local communities a cash injection.’

Bryn Price, Director of Kent People’s Trust said: ‘The charity has over 12 years of experience in community grants and we are really delighted to have been asked to provide our expertise as part of this new exciting project. Both the charity and the Commissioner have one common aim and that’s to make Kent a safer place.’

Applications will be accepted throughout the year. Full terms and conditions and information on how to apply can be found at www.kent-pcc.gov.uk/commissionersfund

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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%

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

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

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

Medway Council has pledged to continue the very important improvements it is bringing in to its services that look after children in care. The council has vowed to do this after Ofsted inspectors graded Medway’s Looked After Children Services as inadequate. 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

The WantedThe full line up of acts supporting The Wanted at this year’s Castle Concerts is now complete. Max, Nathan, Tom, Jay and Siva will storm the stage at Rochester’s Castle Gardens with their ferociously infectious tunes, including All Time Low and Glad You Came, plus tracks from their new album Third Strike. Tickets are still available but selling fast for the show, which takes place on Thursday, 18 July. More

Interested in a career in fitness? Medway Community Learning is holding an information day, where potential learners can meet the tutors, find out more about working in a gym and have a go at some exercise activities.

The information day is Wednesday, 17 July 10am to 2pm at Medway Park. Wear gym clothing and bring a water bottle. Places are limited so please call to book.

MCL is running gym instructing courses in August and September and a personal training course in September. To find out more about these courses or to book a place on this information day, phone 01634 338400.

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

9 task groupMedway Council’s Fair Access to Credit Task Group Report has been highly commended in the Good Scrutiny Awards 2013 run by the Centre for Public Scrutiny. The cross-party group was short-listed in the Innovation category for its work to promote financial literacy and affordable lending. The judges thought this review tackling debt and co-ordinated with the national campaign to end legal loan-sharking was an “excellent example of scrutiny having an impact nationally as well as locally”. More

A5 EOD Amber

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

Kent’s leading wildlife charity is calling upon the horse riding fraternity to support its cross country ride this spring to raise vital funding towards the conservation of local wildlife.

The third Kent Wildlife Trust Charity Ride, supported by Barclays Bank and Lillicos Country Stores, will be held on Sunday 14th April. More

Paul Chowdhry is coming to Gravesend for a Comedy and Curry night on 11 April.

Known for his dry observational humour, Paul Chowdhry beat the likes of Michael McIntyre and Ross Noble to become Funniest Stand Up at the Loaded Lafta 2013 awards earlier this year.

The Comedy and Curry Show at The Woodville is at 8pm on Thursday 11 April. Tickets start from £11 and are available from The Woodville box office on 01474 337774 or http://www.woodville.co.uk

Cycling enthusiasts are encouraged to join The Mayor of Medway on an 18-mile bike ride this month.

Cllr Vaughn Hewett and the A Better Medway health improvement team are taking part in the Active Medway Cycle Groups ride on Sunday, 21 April. The route will go along the wonderful Heron Trail on the Hoo Peninsula – 18 miles of pretty countryside, mainly on cycle paths or low traffic roads. Trained ride leaders will also be on hand to assist cyclists along the route. More

A Kent-based charity is to offer free consultancy to two communities wishing to start planning for their futures.

Action with Communities in Rural Kent (ACRK), which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, will be offering free help to two communities within the county to start making a neighbourhood plan. Neighbourhood plans have been promoted by the government as a way of giving influence to communities over what is built locally. ACRK will be charging a fee for such help later in 2013, but has been awarded funding to try out a support package in two places. More

Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales
The Central Theatre, Chatham
Sunday, 7 April at 3pm

For a non-chocolate treat this Easter take the children to the theatre.
Award-winning children’s author Julia Donaldson’s fantastically funny stories – Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales – are bought to life at The Central Theatre, Chatham on Sunday, 7 April at 3pm.

Under the sea, on the farm, and in the jungle, these popular stories have been woven together with music and colourful puppets. Aimed at children aged three and upwards, the show is part of the Sundays are for Kids programme at Medway’s two theatres.
An absolute treat for children this Easter holiday – one not to miss.

Tickets, priced at £12, are available from the box office on 01634 338338 or online at http://www.medwayticketslive.co.uk

The Medway Community Safety Partnership is continuing to hold community engagement meetings for residents in Medway.

Following on from the first of its kind in October, the next meeting is to be held at St Marks Church in Canterbury Street Gillingham on Tuesday, 16 April from 7pm. More

A female author known for her witty and rebellious writing style will be sharing her experiences to mark International Women’s Day.
Writer Scarlett Thomas, will be at Rochester Community Hub on Friday, 8 March to talk about her career, and she will also be available for book signings.
Scarlett has written such titles as Bright Young Things, Going Out, PopCo, and Our Tragic Universe.
The talk begins at 7.30pm and is free of charge.
This is one of many events which will be taking place around the world on 8 March to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) and to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
To book a place at the Scarlett Thomas talk, phone 01634 33744 or email rochester.library@medway.gov.uk

Tap into your inner creative writer at a workshop with a Medway-based award-winning writer. Poet Philip Kane will lead the workshop entitled – What if? – at Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre where he will help guide wannabe writers into the art of creating alternative histories and parallel worlds, using the archive’s resources along the way. The workshop is on Saturday, 9 February from 12noon to 3pm at Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, Clock Tower Building, Former Civic Centre site, Strood.
Workshops costs £5 but places are limited so booking is essential, phone 01634 332714. Please bring your own writing equipment.

Get fit, de-stress and have fun at one of the Active Life classes with Medway Community Learning.

Exercise to music
All Saints Church, Magpie Hall Road, Chatham
Mondays 7-8pm

Tai Chi
Medway Community Learning, Eastgate, Rochester
Tuesdays Noon-1pm

Pilates
St Thomas Church Hall, Rainham
Tuesdays 2.30-3.30pm

Exercise to music
Woodlands Arts Centre, Gillingham
Wednesdays 7-8pm

Classes run term-time only and each class costs £2.50. Please phone 01634 338400 to book a place.

Yoga classes start next month with Medway Community Learning. Yoga for all (progression) starts Tuesday, 5 February at 1.30pm. Yoga for all starts on Tuesday, 12 February at 7.30pm. Both classes are at Rochester Adult Education Centre. To book and for more details phone 01634 338400.

Three exciting workshops will keep children and young people entertained during the February school break. Magical puppets and storytelling with Sparkle and Dark Travelling Players is on Monday, 18 February from 10am to 3.30pm. Creative children can work with the creative company to produce their own puppets. One Direction dance workshop is on Wednesday, 20 February from 10am to 3.30pm. Dance Diva dance workshop is on Thursday, 21 February from 10am to 3.30pm. At these dance workshops young people will learn dance moves to some of their favourite songs, and perform the routine in front of friends and family in the showcase at 3.15pm on the same day. All three workshops take place at The Brook Theatre, Chatham. Workshops are priced at £14 and are suitable for eight to 16 year olds. For more details or to book a place, phone the box office on 01634 338338.

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

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of their very first hit, enjoy the authoritative Beatles live concert show when it comes to Chatham. More

Come and join the Fun on Friday 30th November at St Helens School, Cliffe from 3 pm – 5 pm. Get in the Christmas spirit and meet Father Christmas. Refreshments will be available, raffle and various stalls! We look forward to seeing you there for fun in the afternoon.

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