Our priority is to continue to provide essential council services while continuing to protect the health and wellbeing of Medway residents.
Added in August:
- A new message from council leader, Councillor Alan Jarrett - 7 August 2020
- From Monday 10 August, you will be able to browse book shelves in our community hubs and libraries
- From Saturday 8 August, you must wear a face covering in many of our venues. This includes libraries, theatres, museums, galleries and other tourist attractions. Find out more about face coverings
- Hoo Sports Centre will re-open on 15 August 2020. You must book in advance
Added in July:
- Medway Archives Centre re-opened on 27 July 2020 for pre-booked appointments only
- We're re-launching Mini Youth Sports Camps during the summer holidays 2020. Find out how to book a place for your child
- Medway Park and Strood Sports Centre re-opened on 25 July. Splashes Sports Centre is being refurbished and will be closed for 18 months. More about sports centres
- Snodhurst Bottom Pitch and Putt Course is now open
- When you visit our tourist sites or buildings, our staff may ask for your name, email, phone number and postcode. This is for test and trace.
- Keeping our town centres safe: advice for business owners and residents
See below for details of all service updates:
Benefits and financial support
We have help, support and guidance for those finding it difficult to pay their Council Tax instalments.
Housing Benefit changes
The government has made some changes to Housing Benefit to support people through coronavirus. These include increasing the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and the additional earnings disregard.
Find out more about the Housing Benefit changes.
New Housing Benefit claims
We can only accept new claims for Housing Benefit from:
- pensioners (if you are in a couple, both members need to have reached state pension age)
- people in specified accommodation
- people who are entitled, or have been entitled in the last month, to a severe disability premium
- people placed in temporary accommodation by Medway Council
More information and make a claim for Housing Benefit.
Help with rent
If you're not eligible to claim Housing Benefit, you may be able to claim Universal Credit to help with your housing costs.
Council Tax Reduction – help to pay Council Tax
If you're on a low income you may be eligible to claim Council Tax Reduction.
Discretionary Housing Payments
If you receive Housing Benefit or housing costs within Universal Credit, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment if you’re suffering extreme hardship.
We understand that the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus and measures to increase social distancing are difficult for businesses.
We have advice on:
- support for businesses
- applying for a grant
- takeaways and delivery services
More about business support
Bin collections, waste and recycling
Our bulky waste collections continue.
Capstone and Hoath Way household waste and recycling centres are open. You'll need to book an appointment to visit the sites.
Cuxton household waste and recycling centre remains closed.
Updated 20 April
All waste collections including black sacks, recycling, and food and garden waste will be operating as usual this week.
Please follow government advice on waste disposal if you are staying at home due to coronavirus.
Births, marriages and deaths
Funerals and cremations are going ahead as planned.
If you attend a funeral or cremation, or visit a cemetery you must follow government guidance on social distancing.
The Crematorium grounds and memorial garden are open.
Our reception area is closed to the public but enquiries and payments can made by phone, email or post.
From Monday 11 May we'll be offering 30 minute service slots at Medway Crematorium East Chapel. This will allow us to offer more services throughout the day.
All four of our cemeteries remain open.
Find out more about how social distancing restrictions are affecting Medway Crematorium and cemeteries.
We’re sorry if you’ve lost a loved one during this difficult time. We understand you may have concerns around social distancing at a funeral.
There’s currently no government cap on the number of people who can attend a funeral. There is new advice for funeral directors and faith leaders advising a restriction on the number of mourners attending funerals. Only members of the deceased person’s household or close family members should attend.
We have put a number of measures in place to help keep you safe. This includes placing chairs two metres apart at our services.
We also offer live streaming of funerals for those who are unable to attend in person. We have dropped all charges for the video streaming service during this time.
If you need to register a death that occurred in Medway, you no longer need to attend the register office in person. We are now accepting registrations by phone. Contact us on 01634 338 998 to make your phone appointment.
Find out how to register a death in Medway
If you or someone you know has suffered a bereavement, there is bereavement support available.
The government has announced that marriages and civil partnerships can restart from 4 July, with strict guidelines in place.
Registrations are now open to all. You need to book an appointment to register the birth.
Although our centres are closed we want you to know that we are still continuing our online and distance courses for vocational qualifications, English and Maths, Functional Skills, GCSEs and English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL).
We have been very busy developing new learning models and processes for online and remote delivery of a wide range of learning opportunities.
We appreciate you may have questions however we kindly ask that you do not phone the centre.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries and our admin team will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your understanding and patience during this time.
Medway Test (11+)
We assure you that children will be given the opportunity to get a place at one of Medway's grammar schools.
We are unable to tell you exactly how and when the Medway Test will take place with the current coronavirus measures in place.
We'll have a clearer picture when we know when restrictions will ease and schools will reopen.
Any changes to when the Medway Test will take place will depend on the national legislation and guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) such as the School Admissions Code.
Schools are working hard to ensure that pupils still get education and support.
Registration for the Medway Test is still on the planned date of 1 June to 29 June. Children who are registered for the test by the deadline will be given papers to help familiarise them with the format and layout of the test.
The method to decide which pupils will be considered for places at Medway grammar schools is calculated after the test.
Consideration is given to the overall Medway Test performance of children who take part, which will be reflected in the cut-off score required to be ‘assessed as grammar’. The cut-off score is calculated after the test has been sat and will assess 23% of the Medway cohort as grammar.
We are working to find a solution that is best for the children taking the Medway Test. We will update you when more information becomes available.
Find out more about The Medway Test (11+)
Health, housing and social care
Medway Adoption team welcomes new enquiries, and during this difficult time we'll do our best to respond quickly to these.
If you have specific questions about the adoption process and your situation contact us by email at email@example.com or phone 01634 335 676.
We're following government advice to help stop the spread of coronavirus so we've regrettably cancelled forthcoming information events. We're setting up an online webinar information event, which we hope will be available in the next few weeks.
Your interest in adoption is really important to us and very much appreciated. The situation is changing daily and we'll aim to keep you informed about any changes using our adoption pages and Facebook page.
We are holding a virtual information event at 7pm on 12 May 2020. Find out more information about the event
Thank you for your understanding.
We've launched a support project, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Medway support, with the help of our partner agencies, to help our most vulnerable residents.
Together, we're helping those most affected by social distancing who do not have any family, friends or neighbours who can help them.
Kingsley House - reopened
Kingsley House is open but is working reduced hours:
- Monday to Thursday: 9am to 5pm
- Friday: 9am to 4.45pm
Our telephone lines are open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Or find the information you want online.
We are not currently taking cash and cheques at Kingsley House using the automated till. Please use a different payment method during this time.
We are working with partners to find accommodation solutions for people currently sleeping rough.
Where possible this will be self contained to maximise the number of people able to self isolate if they show symptoms of coronavirus.
This will be aimed at people with pre-existing health conditions and may place them at additional risk if they become infected. We have received funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) to assist in this process.
Make sure you can include details of where the person sleeping rough was seen.
Repairs and maintenance
Currently our main priority is the wellbeing and safety of our residents, team members and contractors. The responsive repairs service is responding to emergency and urgent repairs only with routine repairs suspended. Gas repairs and servicing will continue as normal.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus then you will need to tell us this when reporting repairs.
If Mears are unable to carry out a repair to your property, you will be informed.
Repairs can be reported by phoning 01634 333 601 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Private Sector Housing Team
During the current coronavirus outbreak, the Private Sector Housing Team will be running an adapted service.
Following government advice we have decided to suspend or cancel some of our services.
Others will be running with increased hygiene considerations.
Suspensions and cancellations
The following services are suspended or cancelled:
- Little Chefs group - suspended until the end of April
- Little Explorers groups – suspended until further notice
- Tri for You course - suspended until further notice
- Fit Fix - suspended until further notice
- cycling groups – suspended until further notice
- All breastfeeding drop-in sessions and face-to-face meetings - suspended until further notice. Phone and video support is available
- walking groups - suspended until further notice. We plan on making a series of self-guided walks available online and at venues around Medway. Follow @ABetterMedway on Facebook and Twitter for details later next week.
- Nordic walking groups – suspended until further notice
- face-to-face healthy workplace consultations - suspended until further notice. Email any questions you have to email@example.com. Get specific advice for employers
- Tipping the balance - all face to face sessions and consultations are suspended until further notice. We are running a remote support service, phone 01634 333 101 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Exercise referral - all sessions are suspended until further notice.
We look forward to being able to resume these services and will keep you updated.
Running as usual
The following activities continue to run:
- Smokefree Advice Centre - reduced service. We are temporarily unable to offer face-to-face consultations, but are delivering nicotine replacement therapies to peoples' homes. We are still able to offer telephone and digital support
New: Daily online activities
Join the A Better Medway team online for daily health and wellbeing activities on Facebook Live.
From ideas for family cooking, to beginner’s exercise and help with feeling more relaxed, we’ve got you covered.
You can still get help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
We have had to make changes to the services we offer in line with government advice.
Check details of each pest type for more details or call us on 01634 283 215 to discuss the treatment we can offer.
Our allotments are open.
Please follow government advice on social distancing, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
All events are now cancelled up until the end of September. These include:
- English Festival, 18 April
- Sweeps, 2 and 3 May
- Focus On Rainham, 16 May
- Cycling Festival, 13 to 21 June
- Dickens Festival, 13 and 14 June
- Armed Forces Day, 27 June
- Focus On Walderslade, 28 June
- The Dutch are Coming 20 and 21 June
- Dickens 150 (postponed)
- Medway Mile 24 July
- Focus On Strood, 19 September
- Focus On Will Adams, 12 September
Medway's open top tour bus
In line with government advice to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we have taken the decision to cancel Medway’s open top tour bus.
While we appreciate that this will be disappointing news, we hope you understand that the health and wellbeing of our customers and staff is of the utmost importance to us.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Some of our heritage sites re-opened in July.
- Rochester Castle is currently closed
- Guildhall Museum is open
- the Visitor Information Centre (including Rochester Art Gallery) is open
- Upnor Castle, Eastgate House, Temple Manor and Brook Pumping Station – will remain closed until further notice.
Events and group activities are cancelled until further notice.
More about arts and heritage
Our libraries and community hubs are open with a reduced service.
More about community hubs and libraries
- return books
- use our click and collect, and reservations services
- collect reusable recycling bags
- collect caddy liners
From Monday 10 August you will be able to browse our book shelves.
You can book a computer slot by phoning 01634 337 799. Due to social distancing measures you can only book 1 hour session per week, across all libraries.
The family and adults activity sessions will remain cancelled until further notice.
You can buy daily parking visitor vouchers by phone: 01634 332 266
When visiting our buildings, please follow social distancing guidance
The mobile library remains closed.
Medway Archives Centre
Medway Archives Centre re-opened on 27 July 2020 for pre-booked appointments only.
Loans, renewals and membership
Until further notice:
- all loans and renewals will be issued for 3 weeks
- you can renew loans up to 15 times
- any overdue charges and fines will be waived
- the system for borrowing books from partner libraries has been suspended
- library cards due to expire will automatically be renewed for another year
Events and group activities held at our libraries and archives centre are cancelled until the end of July.
Guildhall Museum and the Visitor Centre (including Rochester Art Gallery) re-opened on Tuesday 7 July
Capstone Country Park and Riverside Country Park are open as usual.
The car parks are open.
The cafes are open 10am to 4pm for takeaway only.
Children's play areas and outdoor gyms are open.
When using the equipment please take the following measures:
- do not eat or drink within the play area
- use hand sanitiser to clean children's hands before and after play
- use hand sanitiser before and after using the gym equipment
Rainham Recreation Ground play area is currently closed for refurbishment.
More about parks and green spaces
Fishing is currently allowed at Capstone Country Park. You can book a day ticket Monday to Friday by emailing your fishing license to email@example.com then call 01634 338 191 to make the payment over the phone.
Please follow government advice on social distancing, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Mini Youth Sports Camps
We're re-launching Mini Youth Sports Camps during the summer holidays 2020. Find out how to book a place for your child.
Hoo Sports Centre will re-open on 15 August 2020. Splashes Sports Centre is closed for refurbishment.
You must book activities in advance.
We confirm the following information for our gym members, swimming lesson customers and clubs:
Medway Sport Members
We will be freezing all membership payments with immediate effect at no cost to you. We will not take further money from your account while the centres are closed. You do not need to take any action.
We will give members a 10-day credit on their account when we re-open to reflect the closure during March.
If you have paid for an annual membership, this will be extended by the period of time that the centres are closed.
Medway Sport Swim Academy Lessons
- Swimming lesson customers will be credited on their account for any missed lessons following our closure from Saturday, 21 March. These lessons will be credited to your account for the new term of lessons when we re-open.
- Existing customers will get priority re-enrolment in the first week of enrolment. This will be for the next term of lessons, once lessons are able to resume.
- We give a full refund to customers who had a party booked at one of our sports centres.
- Clubs with block bookings who have paid in advance will have the cost of these discounted when their sessions resume.
- We will extend annual admission passes by the period of time the centres are closed.
The Strand outdoor swimming and paddling pools will not open this year due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
We understand that this will be disappointing news but the safety and wellbeing of visitors is our top priority.
Professional sports training
Medway Council is considering how to safely accommodate training requests from professional and elite athletes who are now entitled to use sports facilities that otherwise remain closed to the general public.
Youth group and evening activities are cancelled until the end of August.
We have set up online youth sessions to help support young people in Medway while group sessions are cancelled.
Centres remain open as offices and points of contact.
Travel and transport
You can apply for or renew a Blue Badge, but due to the current situation our processing time may take longer than usual. Find out more about Blue Badges and coronavirus.
All parking enforcement resumed in Medway on Monday 15 June - this includes in permit holder areas and where time restrictions apply.
After the government announced lockdown in March, we eased parking restrictions in controlled parking zones across Medway to help residents staying at home. During this time our civil enforcement officers concentrated on dangerous parking to help keep motorists and pedestrians safe.
Thank you to residents for parking safely during this difficult time, allowing the emergency services and our waste collection trucks to gain access to roads across Medway.
As government continues to lift more restrictions and with fewer people now at home compared with in previous weeks, motorists are asked to park appropriately in controlled parking zones.
Find out about parking in Medway during coronavirus including how to apply for and renew your parking permit, and how to buy daily visitor vouchers.
Parking charges have been suspended for all NHS staff and social care workers in Medway during the coronavirus pandemic.
Our car parks and parking bays can be used for free by NHS staff and social care workers.
We have provided social care workers with parking permits to be used when they are out in communities supporting residents.
All our public toilets are open.
Travel Information Centre
The Travel Information Centre at Waterfront Way, Chatham is closed until further notice.
For travel information visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 2233
Face coverings on public transport
From 15 June, you will need to wear a face covering when you travel on public transport, including MY Buses. Find out more on GOV.UK.
Arriva, ASD Coaches, Farleigh Coaches and Redroute are operating normal timetables.
National Express are operating an amended timetable. emergency timetable.
Stagecoach Express M2 service has been withdrawn.
Concessionary bus passes
From Tuesday 1 September older person's and disabled person's bus passes will return to the 9.00am Monday to Friday start time.
This is to make sure there is enough room on buses for children returning to school.
You can continue to use your bus pass at all times during the weekends and bank holidays.
Kent County Council areas will return to the 9.30am start time on the same date.
See refund updates for MY Buses
Southeastern trains are running a reduced timetable.
Your council, democracy and the Mayor
Some council meetings have been cancelled
Check the meetings calendar for details.
The Police and Crime Commissioner elections, which were due to be held on Thursday 7 May, have been postponed for a year.
Our Electoral Services team continues to process applications to register to vote.
However, it may take the team a little longer than usual to respond to your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In line with government advice, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor will only be attending online events during August.