In his latest message to residents Cllr Alan Jarrett discusses the next step on the government’s roadmap and looking forward to summer, including a new flexible summer events programme.
I hope this message finds you well.
I am pleased that we have now taken step three on the government’s roadmap to recovery and I’m sure many of you are already enjoying the new freedoms it has brought.
It is fantastic news that we can once again meet up to six people inside, and up to 30 people outside, enjoy indoor hospitality venues such as cinemas and not have to worry about the weather when going to a restaurant, or pub, to eat. I know I’m certainly looking forward to being able to visit my grandchildren in person, once again.
I’m sure many families across the country, not just here in Medway, are also thankful for the reopening of heritage attractions and indoor children’s play areas, especially with the next half-term break just two weeks away. There are plenty of things to see and do across Medway for the whole family to enjoy, and I was delighted to visit the Historic Dockyard in Chatham on Monday morning (17 May) to speak to BBC Radio Kent who broadcasted their breakfast show live from the dockyard. Rochester Castle, The Guildhall Museum and the Visitor Information Centre, including Rochester Art Gallery, reopened yesterday (Tuesday, 18 May) and I would encourage residents to visit these fantastic attractions on their doorstep and support local hospitality venues, shops and businesses this summer.
We’re currently developing an exciting alternative, flexible and COVID-19 safe festival and events programme for the summer. The new innovative events programme will showcase Medway’s strong cultural offer and demonstrate the resilience we’ve shown during the pandemic. The events programme will also highlight Medway’s creative spirit as it prepares to bid for UK City of Culture 2025. More information about the new events programme will be announced in due course. Medway is also aspiring to become a Child-Friendly City, putting children and young people at the heart of everything we do. There are a number of fantastic events already lined up for this summer which support both of our ambitions.
This Saturday, 22 May, sees the launch of Estuary 21 which celebrates the lives, landscapes and histories of the spectacular Thames Estuary. There are more than 20 exciting events and activities happening across Medway during the festival and we’re looking forward to welcoming Patrick Brill OBE RA, better known as Bob and Roberta Smith to Chatham. The artist will create a pavilion on the waterfront, near the community hub, where residents will be invited to make their mark and draw directly onto the walls of the structure which will gradually develop and become a portrait of Medway, focussing on how we retain hope and love during major events such as the pandemic and climate change, which have such global and personal resonance. Find out more.
A unique gaming festival, Medway Rapture Gaming and Creative Festival, is due to be held at the Historic Dockyard Chatham on Saturday, 3 and Sunday, 4 July. The weekend family-fun festival, which is being supported by a multitude of incredible show stakeholders, will have something for everyone – from gaming pros to novices. There will be plenty of gaming fun and interactive exhibitions for people of all ages to get involved in, including children, families and students.
As we all eagerly look forward to the summer, and the possible lifting of all government restrictions it remains vital that keep going and continue to follow the latest guidelines to keep ourselves, and our loved ones safe.
Stay safe and continue to follow the government guidelines - hands, face, space, fresh air.
Cllr Alan Jarrett
Leader of Medway Council