Our priority is to continue to provide essential council services while continuing to protect the health and wellbeing of Medway residents.

Updated on the 29 May:

Other recent updates:

See below for details of all service updates:

Benefits and financial support

We have help, support and guidance for those finding it difficult to pay their Council Tax instalments.

Housing Benefit changes

The government has made some changes to Housing Benefit to support people through coronavirus. These include increasing the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and the additional earnings disregard.

Find out more about the Housing Benefit changes.

New Housing Benefit claims

We can only accept new claims for Housing Benefit from:

  • pensioners (if you are in a couple, both members need to have reached state pension age)
  • people in specified accommodation
  • people who are entitled, or have been entitled in the last month, to a severe disability premium
  • people placed in temporary accommodation by Medway Council

More information and make a claim for Housing Benefit.

Help with rent

Universal Credit

If you're not eligible to claim Housing Benefit, you may be able to claim Universal Credit to help with your housing costs.

Council Tax Reduction – help to pay Council Tax

If you're on a low income you may be eligible to claim Council Tax Reduction.

Discretionary Housing Payments

If you receive Housing Benefit or housing costs within Universal Credit, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment if you’re suffering extreme hardship.

We understand that the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus and measures to increase social distancing are difficult for businesses.

We have advice on:

  • support for businesses
  • applying for a grant
  • takeaways and delivery services

More about business support

Bin collections, waste and recycling

Our bulky waste collections continue.

Capstone and Hoath Way household waste and recycling centres are open for essential journeys only. You'll need to book an appointment to visit the sites. 

Cuxton household waste and recycling centre remains closed.

 Updated 20 April

All waste collections including black sacks, recycling, and food and garden waste will be operating as usual this week.

Please follow government advice on waste disposal if you are staying at home due to coronavirus.

Births, marriages and deaths

Funerals and cremations are going ahead as planned.

If you attend a funeral or cremation, or visit a cemetery you must follow government guidance on social distancing.

Medway Crematorium

The Crematorium grounds and memorial garden are open.

Our reception area is closed to the public but enquiries and payments can made by phone, email or post.

From Monday 11 May we'll be offering 30 minute service slots at Medway Crematorium East Chapel. This will allow us to offer more services throughout the day.

Cemeteries

All four of our cemeteries remain open.

Find out more about how social distancing restrictions are affecting Medway Crematorium and cemeteries.

Attending funerals

We’re sorry if you’ve lost a loved one during this difficult time. We understand you may have concerns around social distancing at a funeral.

There’s currently no government cap on the number of people who can attend a funeral. There is new advice for funeral directors and faith leaders advising a restriction on the number of mourners attending funerals. Only members of the deceased person’s household or close family members should attend.

We have put a number of measures in place to help keep you safe. This includes placing chairs two metres apart at our services.

We also offer live streaming of funerals for those who are unable to attend in person. We have dropped all charges for the video streaming service during this time.

Read the latest advice on attending the crematorium and cemeteries.

If you need to register a death that occurred in Medway, you no longer need to attend the register office in person. We are now accepting registrations by phone. Contact us on 01634 338 998 to make your phone appointment.

Find out how to register a death in Medway

If you or someone you know has suffered a bereavement, there is bereavement support available.

Weddings and civil partnerships due to take place during this period of social distancing are postponed.

Our weddings can be rearranged, free of charge, and cancellations will be refunded according to our cancellation policy. Separately, you will need to speak to your venue about their refund or cancellation policy.

Appointments to register births have been postponed until after this period of social distancing.

Education

Although our centres are closed we want you to know that we are still continuing our online and distance courses for vocational qualifications, English and Maths, Functional Skills, GCSEs and English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL).

We have been very busy developing new learning models and processes for online and remote delivery of a wide range of learning opportunities.

We appreciate you may have questions however we kindly ask that you do not phone the centre.

You can email enquiries@medway.gov.uk with any enquiries and our admin team will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your understanding and patience during this time.

Some schools across Medway will be welcoming pupils back to school next week.

In line with government advice, pupils in reception, year 1 and year 6 will return to the classroom from Monday, 1 June.

Find out more on advice for schools and parents.

Read our update on Medway schools

Medway Test (11+)

We assure you that children will be given the opportunity to get a place at one of Medway's grammar schools.

We are unable to tell you exactly how and when the Medway Test will take place with the current coronavirus measures in place.

We'll have a clearer picture when we know when restrictions will ease and schools will reopen.

Any changes to when the Medway Test will take place will depend on the national legislation and guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) such as the School Admissions Code.

Schools are working hard to ensure that pupils still get education and support.

Registration for the Medway Test is still on the planned date of 1 June to 29 June. Children who are registered for the test by the deadline will be given papers to help familiarise them with the format and layout of the test.

The method to decide which pupils will be considered for places at Medway grammar schools is calculated after the test.

Consideration is given to the overall Medway Test performance of children who take part, which will be reflected in the cut-off score required to be ‘assessed as grammar’. The cut-off score is calculated after the test has been sat and will assess 23% of the Medway cohort as grammar.

We are working to find a solution that is best for the children taking the Medway Test. We will update you when more information becomes available.

Find out more about The Medway Test (11+)

Health, housing and social care

Medway Adoption team welcomes new enquiries, and during this difficult time we'll do our best to respond quickly to these.

If you have specific questions about the adoption process and your situation contact us by email at adoption@medway.gov.uk or phone 01634 335 676.

We're following government advice to help stop the spread of coronavirus so we've regrettably cancelled forthcoming information events. We're setting up an online webinar information event, which we hope will be available in the next few weeks.

Your interest in adoption is really important to us and very much appreciated. The situation is changing daily and we'll aim to keep you informed about any changes using our adoption pages and Facebook page.

We are holding a virtual information event at 7pm on 12 May 2020. Find out more information about the event

Thank you for your understanding.

We've launched a support project, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Medway support, with the help of our partner agencies, to help our most vulnerable residents.

Together, we're helping those most affected by social distancing who do not have any family, friends or neighbours who can help them.

Kingsley House - reopened

Kingsley House is open but is working reduced hours:

  • Monday to Thursday: 9am to 5pm
  • Friday: 9am to 4.45pm

Our telephone lines are open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Or find the information you want online.

We are not currently taking cash and cheques at Kingsley House using the automated till. Please use a different payment method during this time.

Rough sleepers

We are working with partners to find accommodation solutions for people currently sleeping rough.

Where possible this will be self contained to maximise the number of people able to self isolate if they show symptoms of coronavirus.

This will be aimed at people with pre-existing health conditions and may place them at additional risk if they become infected. We have received funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) to assist in this process.

If you see anyone sleeping rough, report rough sleeping online, by emailing Roughsleepersteam@medway.gov.uk or by phoning 01634 334 008.

Make sure you can include details of where the person sleeping rough was seen.

Repairs and maintenance

Currently our main priority is the wellbeing and safety of our residents, team members and contractors. The responsive repairs service is responding to emergency and urgent repairs only with routine repairs suspended. Gas repairs and servicing will continue as normal.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus then you will need to tell us this when reporting repairs.

If Mears are unable to carry out a repair to your property, you will be informed.

Repairs can be reported by phoning 01634 333 601 or emailing housingrepairs@medway.gov.uk.

Private Sector Housing Team

During the current coronavirus outbreak, the Private Sector Housing Team will be running an adapted service.

View the adapted service

Following government advice we have decided to suspend or cancel some of our services.

Others will be running with increased hygiene considerations.

Suspensions and cancellations

The following services are suspended or cancelled:

We look forward to being able to resume these services and will keep you updated.

Running as usual

The following activities continue to run:

New: Daily online activities

Join the A Better Medway team online for daily health and wellbeing activities on Facebook Live.

From ideas for family cooking, to beginner’s exercise and help with feeling more relaxed, we’ve got you covered.

You can still get help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

View domestic abuse help and advice

We have had to make changes to the services we offer in line with government advice.

Check details of each pest type for more details or call us on 01634 283 215 to discuss the treatment we can offer.

Leisure

Our allotments are open.

Please follow government advice on social distancing, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

All events are now cancelled up until the end of July. These include:

  • English Festival, 18 April
  • Sweeps, 2 and 3 May
  • Focus On Rainham, 16 May
  • Cycling Festival, 13 to 21 June
  • Dickens Festival, 13 and 14 June
  • Armed Forces Day, 27 June
  • Focus On Walderslade, 28 June
  • The Dutch are Coming 20 and 21 June
  • Dickens 150 (postponed)
  • Medway Mile 24 July

View support for the creative sector

Our heritage sites are closed.

Events and group activities have been cancelled until the end of June.

Libraries and all hubs closed

Our libraries and community hubs are closed until further notice, in line with government advice on social distancing. This includes the mobile library.

Loans, renewals and membership

Until further notice:

  • all loans and renewals will be issued for 8 weeks
  • you can renew loans up to 15 times
  • any overdue charges and fines will be waived
  • the system for borrowing books from partner libraries has been suspended
  • library cards due to expire will automatically be renewed for another year

You can manage your libraries account online where you can also borrow eBooks, eAudiobooks or eMagazines.

Events and exhibitions

Events and group activities held at our libraries and archives centre are cancelled until the end of July.

Hoo Peninsula consultation

The drop in exhibitions for the Hoo Peninsula consultation are cancelled.

The consultation has been extended to 11 May 2020.

All Medway markets are closed until further notice.

The Guildhall Museum, Royal Engineers Museum, Medway Visitor Information Centre and Rochester Art Gallery are closed until further notice.

View support for the creative sector

Capstone Country Park and Riverside Country Park are open as usual.

The car parks have reopened.

The cafes are closed until further notice.

There is still pedestrian access to enjoy this green space if it’s your local park for your one piece of daily outdoor exercise.

Play parks are closed in line with government advice.

Fishing is currently allowed at Capstone Country Park. You can book a day ticket Monday to Friday by emailing your fishing license to medway-countryside-service@ncsgrp.co.uk then call 01634 338 191 to make the payment over the phone.

Please follow government advice on social distancing, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Our sport centres are closed.

Please check Medway Sport on Twitter and Facebook for further updates.

We confirm the following information for our gym members, swimming lesson customers and clubs:

Medway Sport Members

  • We will be freezing all membership payments with immediate effect at no cost to you. We will not take further money from your account while the centres are closed. You do not need to take any action.
  • We will give members a 10-day credit on their account when we re-open to reflect the closure during March.
  • If you have paid for an annual membership, this will be extended by the period of time that the centres are closed.

Medway Sport Swim Academy Lessons

  • Swimming lesson customers will be credited on their account for any missed lessons following our closure from Saturday, 21 March. These lessons will be credited to your account for the new term of lessons when we re-open.
  • Existing customers will get priority re-enrolment in the first week of enrolment. This will be for the next term of lessons, once lessons are able to resume.

Other customers

  • We give a full refund to customers who had a party booked at one of our sports centres.
  • Clubs with block bookings who have paid in advance will have the cost of these discounted when their sessions resume.
  • We will extend annual admission passes by the period of time the centres are closed.

The Strand

The Strand outdoor swimming and paddling pools will not open this year due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We understand that this will be disappointing news but the safety and wellbeing of visitors is our top priority. 

Find out more about The Strand updates

All shows at The Brook and Central Theatres in Chatham are cancelled until the end of June.

Find out more information about cancelled and rescheduled theatre shows including what to do if your theatre event is cancelled.

View support for the creative sector

Youth group and evening activities are cancelled until the end of June.

We have set up online youth sessions to help support young people in Medway while group sessions are cancelled.

Centres remain open as offices and points of contact.

Travel and transport

Parking for NHS and social care staff

Parking charges have been suspended for all NHS staff and social care workers in Medway during the coronavirus pandemic.

Our car parks and parking bays can be used for free by NHS staff and social care workers.

We have provided social care workers with parking permits to be used when they are out in communities supporting residents.

Parking enforcement

We've made some changes to how we enforce parking restrictions in Medway.

We'll be concentrating our parking enforcement on dangerous and inconsiderate parking.

Find out about parking in Medway during the coronavirus pandemic.

Blue Badges

You can apply for or renew a Blue Badge, but due to the current situation our processing time may take longer than usual. Find out more about Blue Badges and coronavirus.

All our public toilets are open.

Travel Information Centre

The Travel Information Centre at Waterfront Way, Chatham is closed until further notice.

For travel information visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 2233

Buses

Arriva are running an amended timetable.

National Express are running an emergency timetable. All services will be suspended from 5 April 2020 until 1 August 2020 subject to further notice.

Farleigh Coaches B150 suspended until further notice.

Stagecoach Express M2 service has been withdrawn.

ASD Coaches are running to a Saturday timetable.

See further updates for Nu-Venture, Red Route, Farleigh, National Express and Chalkwell on their websites.

Concessionary bus passes

Those with disabled person's bus passes and older person's bus passes can now use buses for free all day, including before 9am.

MY Buses

MY Buses are no longer running until further notice.

See refund updates for MY Buses

Trains

Southeastern trains are running a reduced timetable.

Your council, democracy and the Mayor

Some council meetings have been cancelled

Check the meetings calendar for details.

The Police and Crime Commissioner elections, which were due to be held on Thursday 7 May, have been postponed for a year.

Our Electoral Services team continues to process applications to register to vote.

However, it may take the team a little longer than usual to respond to your emails to electoralservices@medway.gov.uk.

In line with government advice, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are not attending engagements or accepting new invitations to events until further notice.

Planning for growth on the Hoo Peninsula consultation

Due to current conditions, the Hoo Peninsula consultation deadline has been extended to Monday 11 May 2020.