Medway will be launching its 20th anniversary celebrations this weekend at an annual family festival.
2018 represents an important milestone in Medway’s history - it marks 20 years since the founding of Medway and the creation of the unitary authority, Medway Council.
Medway residents are invited to enjoy a series of free, family events throughout the year to share their memories of how the area has changed, from new schools and sports facilities to more jobs and improved public transport.
Since 1998, Medway has transformed and seen many huge improvements. Not only does it now boast the biggest regeneration zone within the Thames Gateway, but Medway is surrounded by award winning rural areas and rich heritage.
Join in the celebrations
One of Medway’s renowned, green flag country parks is being used to kick-start the Medway20 celebrations. The English Festival, which celebrates St George’s Day, is being held at Riverside Country Park on Saturday, 21 April, between 11am and 5pm. There will be lots of the usual activities for families to enjoy - funfair rides, face painting, farm animals, falconry displays, live music and singing - as well as a few things organised to recognise Medway’s 20th anniversary.
People of all ages are invited to share their memories of Medway’s achievements over the past two decades – a TV studio will be set up in a marquee and residents will have the opportunity of sitting in the hot seat in front of friendly interviewers. The TV studio is open to everyone, whether you have lived in Medway since 1998 or this is the year you were born and spent your childhood benefitting from the new facilities.
At 1pm families will be able to join in an historic group photo, which could be shown in many years to come.
Look out for the Medway20 volunteers - have your photo taken in the Medway20 photo frame and post your photos on social media using the hashtags #wearemedway and #Medway20.
Check out the exhibit boards which give lots of fun facts about the year Medway was born and achievements over the last two decades, such as more than 20million books being borrowed from Medway libraries since 1998.
Focus On – events throughout 2018
Four new local festival days are being held across Medway this year to celebrate community identities. The Focus On activities have been designed for local people and will highlight all that is great about each area. There will be plenty for people of all ages to enjoy.
The first Focus On event is being held in Cozenton Park, Bloors Lane, Rainham on Saturday, 19 May. Three further events are being held in September at Hook Meadow in Walderslade, Northcote Road recreation ground in Strood and in High Halstow.
Providing growth for all over the next 20 years
Medway already has a lot to offer and enjoys a world-wide reputation for its rich heritage, including Rochester and Upnor castles, Rochester Cathedral and The Historic Dockyard in Chatham. The council’s 20-year regeneration programme is set to add to Medway’s offering and will provide further economic growth and housing opportunities. Medway is on track to become a leading waterfront university city by 2035 and it is anticipated that the revitalised urban centres and riverfront developments will attract thousands of new residents and business people to Medway.
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “2018 sees us celebrate 20 years of Medway and the journey we’ve been on to provide new communities, schools and jobs. I am proud to be a resident of Medway and to have the opportunity of representing people living across Gillingham, Chatham, Rainham, Rochester and Strood. Medway has seen many improvements since the council was formed in 1998, from improved public transport and roads to modern sports facilities which have produced world class athletes. This weekend at the English Festival we will be sharing memories of what Medway was like 20 years ago and all of the achievements the area has seen over the last two decades. I am also pleased to announce that we will be holding four events in communities this year to recognise the people who make Medway the truly special place it is.”