Published: Thursday, 23rd December 2021

In the Leader’s Christmas message he discusses COP26, the Levelling-up fund & how to best protect yourself and your loved ones over the festive period

Dear residents,

I hope this message finds you well.

2021 has been another unpredictable year but I am pleased, as I’m sure you all are, that we were able to get back to more of the things we love, including seeing more of our friends and family.

Although the pandemic is continuing to affect all of our lives, Medway’s immense community spirit and resilience is continuing to shine through and it is truly heart-warming to see.

We have continued to achieve a tremendous amount this year including continuing work on our monumental regeneration programme, acquiring Mountbatten House, starting work on a new slip road to ease congestion on Medway City Estate as well as continuing our fantastic track record of securing additional funding.

In October, the government announced that we would be receiving £14.4million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund which will be invested in three projects to further support the establishment of Chatham as Medway’s city centre, The Docking Station, The Brook Theatre and The Fitted Rigging House, to support our flourishing creative sector and provide further opportunities for economic growth including new co-working and studio spaces and job opportunities for local residents and graduates. The funding will also reinforce Medway’s position as a regionally important creative hub. These exciting projects will also have a visible impact on Medway’s cultural and heritage infrastructure and creative industries sectors, supporting Medway’s cultural strategy, delivered by Creative Medway, and aim for the area to be internationally recognised for its creativity and culture by 2030.

Medway was also recognised as a priority place by Arts Council England, one of 54 areas in England that the organisation will be focussing on in the next few years. The Arts Council will be working closely with us to develop new opportunities for investment, both from the Arts Council and other partners.

As we look to Medway’s bright future it would be remiss of me to not mention climate change. In June we adopted our Climate Change Action Plan which sets out how we are taking action to reduce emissions and respond to the challenges of climate change. During COP26 the 26th United Nations annual Climate Change Conference of the Parties which took place in Glasgow in November - we held our first Climate Change community conversation event in Rochester. We were pleased that more than 60 people came along and shared their ideas on what we can all do in our communities to tackle climate change together. We are now working hard to achieve net zero carbon across Medway by 2050 and I would encourage residents to visit our website to find out more about what we’re doing to respond to the challenges of climate change.

Protect yourself, and your family and friends this Christmas

There are a number of things we can all do to reduce the likelihood of catching or unknowingly spreading Coronavirus. These include taking a symptom-free (lateral flow) test before social events or gatherings, meeting outdoors if you can, or if you’re indoors open a window to keep rooms well ventilated. We must also all continue to follow the latest government advice. The best way to protect yourself, and your loved ones, is to get both doses of your vaccination, if you haven’t already, and to get your booster as soon as you’re able to.

This year has been another jam-packed year, despite the pandemic, and we have much to look forward to in 2022 including Medway’s City Bid, progressing work on our ambition to become a Child-Friendly City, continuing with our £170million infrastructure project on the Hoo Peninsula and, of course, hosting some truly spectacular events. My next message, which will be sent early in the New Year, will tell you all about it.

I would like to thank everyone, including our emergency services and colleagues in the NHS, who will be working over the Christmas and New Year period to help and support residents.

I wish you all an enjoyable Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Stay safe.

Cllr Alan Jarrett

Leader of Medway Council

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