Published: Friday, 1st May 2020

The Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett has issued the following message to residents.

Dear residents,

I hope this message finds you well, as we enter a new month.

All of us have been affected by coronavirus since we went into lockdown on 23 March, from new working arrangements or being furloughed to adapting to home schooling. We know that some residents may be looking for things to do to keep themselves, and their children, entertained.

We’re continuing to find innovative ways of delivering services to you, which includes a number of online materials such as daily sports classes, mindfulness sessions and local history lessons, which are available on our social media channels.

Children and families

We are continuing to support Medway’s most vulnerable residents including children in care, and adults and families who need additional support. We are using technology to stay in touch with our most vulnerable residents and we also have phone support for people who have no-one else to call upon during this time. We’re continuing to work closely with schools to ensure they are able to remain open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

Health and mental wellbeing

We also know how important it is to look after your mental wellbeing and there is a wealth of advice and information on our A Better Medway webpages and Facebook page. Since the sessions began 10,000 people have watched the videos. They offer a range of support including with giving up smoking and cooking with the food explorer sessions for young families.

Fitness

Medway Sport is continuing to offer online fitness classes, suitable for all ages and abilities.

History class

The Guildhall Museum in Rochester may be closed, in line with government advice, but that hasn’t stopped our Heritage Team introducing our younger residents to a few of the thousands of objects in the museum’s collection. Our education officer has recorded some videos to share some interesting facts about the past with you. The talks cover the Stone Age, Bronze Age and the Romans. Visit the Enjoy Medway Facebook page to watch the history classes.

Reading

We also offer a digital library service. Residents can join the library online and delve into a collection of ebooks, audiobooks, emagazines and enewspapers - more than 15,500 have been accessed so far.

Meetings

We’ve also livestreamed our Planning Committee, Full Council and Cabinet meetings online for the first time. You can catch up on what was discussed and the decisions made, and watch the meetings back.

I would encourage you to visit our website and social media pages and see some of the activities we have on offer, we hope you find them useful during these unusual times.

Our residents are at the heart of everything we do and we are continuing to support the most vulnerable people in our community. Our emergency support community project is continuing to deliver food packages to those most in need and so far more than 2,700 food boxes have been delivered to 4,100 people. This equates to 86,000 meals. We also offer a personal shopper service, for older residents and those who are at high risk and are self-isolating which helps vulnerable residents get their usual food items for the supermarket.

We’re continuing to support businesses in these trying times. I’m pleased to update you that we’ve helped more than 2,000 Medway businesses and paid out more than £53million in support or grants in three weeks.

Next Friday is the 75th anniversary of VE Day. We are encouraging residents to create colourful window displays to mark the occasion including Union Jack flags and bunting. Please share your photos with us by tagging our social media accounts and using the #MedwayTogether hashtag.

Finally, I would also like to thank all of our partners and frontline workers, including NHS staff for their valiant work. We hope we can return to normal as soon as possible but we will continue to do all we can to keep us all safe.

Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.

Cllr Alan Jarrett

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