Published: Thursday, 23rd July 2020

Read the Leader's latest message to residents

Dear residents,

As schools break up for the summer holidays I wanted to personally thank the tireless hard work of teachers and school staff throughout the ongoing pandemic.

I was fortunate enough to meet some of our dedicated teaching staff, as well as pupils who had returned to the classroom, on a recent visit to Lordswood School. I was extremely pleased to learn that the children were delighted to be back at school with their friends.

We will continue to work closely with schools and headteachers over the summer in preparation for all children and young people returning to the classroom in September. In the meantime, I hope all school staff as well as children and young people enjoy their summer break.

If you are struggling with ideas on what do with your children during the summer holidays there are a whole host of activities, and places to visit, listed on our website. There is something for children and young people of all ages to enjoy from online Minecraft sessions organised by our Youth Team, this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, a trip to Rochester Castle or a picnic in one of Medway’s award winning parks.

Sports centres

This Saturday (25 July) Medway Park, in Gillingham, and Strood Sports Centre will reopen their doors. We have put extra measures in place to ensure the safety of both customers and staff and residents must book sessions in advance. We’re currently putting plans in place to reopen Hoo Sports Centre in August and Splashes Sports Centre in Rainham will remain closed for redevelopment, which I will mention later on in this message.

Find out more and book your session.

Household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) update

Residents can now visit our centres at Capstone in Chatham and Hoath Way in Gillingham twice each calendar month. You must book an appointment to visit our centres. Please continue to bring your booking reference number with you, wear gloves and follow social distancing guidelines during your visit. Book your trip.

Community hubs – click and collect book service

We have launched a new click & collect service so residents can reserve books for collection at our reopened community hubs. Medway Libraries has a growing collection of children’s eBooks, which could help them with the Summer Reading Challenge. Become a member of Medway Libraries and borrow eBooks immediately.

Investing in the future

Last week we held a virtual Full Council meeting, which went on until the early hours of the morning, to discuss some important decisions. Although we are all continuing to respond to the coronavirus pandemic it is incredibly important that we continue to plan ahead and invest in our community facilities and Medway’s future.

I was delighted that Full Council approved plans for up to £5million redevelopment of Splashes Sports Centre and to add £135,000 to the council’s capital programme to invest in play areas. These investments support our aspiration to become a child-friendly city, putting Medway’s young people at the centre of everything we do.

At the meeting we also approved plans to add £10million to our Housing Revenue Account (HRA) capital programme to build more affordable homes across Medway for council tenants.

Reviewing Medway’s cultural landmarks

We are incredibly proud of our diverse and multi-cultural communities which make Medway the special place it is today. Although we cannot change the past we can consider the present day cultural links to historical figures which may now be considered more controversial in 2020. I put forward a motion at Full Council, which was approved, to set up a cross party working group to conduct a review of cultural landmarks, memorials, historic markers and monuments in Medway. The findings of the cross-party working group will be presented to Cabinet at the earliest practical opportunity. Find out more.

Protect Medway

Although we are all looking forward to enjoying the summer we must all remember that the pandemic is ongoing and it is extremely important we all remain alert and continue to take steps to protect others and stop the spread of the virus. Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines and remember that from tomorrow, 24 July, we will need to wear face coverings whilst in shops.

Take care, stay alert and stay safe.

Cllr Alan Jarrett

Leader of Medway Council

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