Read the latest message to residents from the Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett.
I hope this message finds you well.
I’m sure you are all as pleased as I am that since Monday (29 March) we have been able to meet our friends and family outside once again in groups of six, or two households. I hope you have been able to enjoy the lovely weather. Spring has definitely brought a new sense of hope and the signs of getting back to some normality and I hope you will all be able to meet with some of your loved ones over the Easter bank holiday weekend.
Roadmap to recovery
It’s great news that we have been able to take the next step on the government’s roadmap to recovery. As part of this next step, we were able to launch new outdoor fitness classes at our sports centres, which you may have seen on the local news. I know our staff thoroughly enjoyed welcoming residents back and I would like to thank them for all their hard work in ensuring the classes were able to open safely.
I would also like to thank schools across Medway who have successfully welcomed children and young people back to the classroom over the last few weeks. We have seen excellent attendance rates which I am sure will continue next term. We have also worked to ensure that the 9,000 Medway children who are eligible for free school meals will continue to receive support over the Easter break. As well as food vouchers to spend in local supermarkets, we have also provided activity packs for families with outdoor and indoor family activities, recipes, puzzles and games.
We are continuing to put plans in place for the reopening of our libraries, heritage attractions and inside activities at our sports centres, when it is safe to do so and look forward to the government update on the next phase of the roadmap next week. We’re also busy with plans to support shops and local businesses, which may be able to reopen on Monday, 12 April, in line with government guidance. When non-essential shops reopen we want to encourage residents to enjoy their shopping safely and continue to support Medway’s local businesses.
The Rainbow Effect
If you are planning on meeting up with friends or family outdoors across Medway this week you may notice an exciting new range of public artworks on display in more than 30 different locations. They are all part of a pioneering project called The Rainbow Effect. We commissioned 10 local artists and creatives to come up with their own imaginative ways to remind people of essential coronavirus messages and to thank our key workers for everything they have done throughout the pandemic to help keep residents safe. The works include massive murals on the side of public buildings, statues and online events. The exhibition showcases the innovative skills and approaches of our creative sector in Medway in the year that bidding starts for the UK City of Culture 2025. It’s wonderful to have our creative community so involved in our fight against COVID-19 and we hope that you will enjoy it. You can also enjoy the exhibition from the safety of your own home by watching a video on the project here
It is excellent news that coronavirus cases continue to slow across Kent and Medway and whilst we want you to enjoy being reunited with loved ones please do remember to be careful and continue to follow the government guidelines - hands, face, space, fresh air.
Stay safe and I hope you enjoy a peaceful Easter.
Cllr Alan Jarrett
Leader of Medway Council