Published: Tuesday, 24th December 2019

As we reach the end of another year filled with stories which make us proud to live, work, learn or visit Medway, I’d like to take the opportunity to reflect on 2019 and share with you our main focus

It’s been a year that’s brought successes and challenges, much like the national picture. We are committed to providing great services for residents and this remains at the heart of everything we do.

This is why we immediately took important and urgent steps in the summer to improve the services we provide to our most vulnerable children following our disappointing Ofsted findings. We are determined to ensure our young people are given the best possible support. We’ve already made progress recruiting additional social workers and are working to ensure they get the support they need to provide such a vital role for our young people and their families. Providing our future generations with the best start in life is one of the most important things we can do as a council and we will continue to prioritise our work in this area.

I’d like to thank all council staff who continue to work hard to ensure our residents have access to high-quality services and facilities.

Medway has a great success rate of bidding for external funding, which is particularly important to ensure that major improvement projects can continue at a fast pace. We continued our success rate in attracting external funding with the wonderful news that we have secured £170million government funding for major infrastructure developments on the Hoo Peninsula, including new road and rail links and environmental projects. This will unlock the development of much needed new homes for our growing Medway community and help us grow sustainably over the next 20 years.

In July we were honoured to be awarded the pleasure of hosting one of British Cycling’s major national competitions. Thousands of residents watched elite cyclists race around the streets of Rochester and took part in free cycling activities in the castle gardens.

We also strengthened our historic links with the Royal Navy when we welcomed HMS Medway and her crew to Chatham for her official commissioning and a week of historic celebrations. This builds on Medway’s great military traditions of which we are so proud.

Medway has a highly successful vibrant and innovative arts and cultural scene and this year I was proud to launch Medway’s ambition to bid for City of Culture 2025. City of Culture will create a legacy for Medway and raise the profile of arts and creativity locally and across the country, as well as bring huge financial benefits to Medway. I hope residents will get behind us as we all work together on Medway’s bid.

The transformation here in Medway that has taken place over this last decade will continue and grow into the next. We remain hugely ambitious for Medway to be one of the best places to live work, learn and visit in the south of England. Next year promises to be just as busy as the last with the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens being just one of the highlights.

Thank you again for your support throughout the year. We were delighted to receive the endorsement of local people in May’s local elections and we look forward to another year of working with our residents to provide the services which matter most to you.

I’d also like to thank everyone who will be working over the Christmas and New Year period to continue providing support to our most vulnerable residents.

Wishing you all an enjoyable festive period and a healthy new year.

Medway Council Leader, Cllr Alan Jarrett

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