Archive for the ‘Health and wellness’ Category

Mrs Duckys’ Sunday Update From Parkwood Trout Farm

May 8, 2016

Hi, Mike,We are looking forward to welcoming you back to the farm this afternoon.

The sun’s shining, church bells ringing, it’s a lovely start to a day in the country.
Mrs. Ducky had a quieter day yesterday.

As the weather was so wonderful, our fishing lakes were full of fishermen & their families & there were a few too many people around for her liking.

So, she kept a low profile & stayed safe inside the tree, only coming out briefly later on in the day, when it was a bit quieter.

The swan is on high alert, however, and followed me all round the lake edges in the evening, while I was cutting the grass.

I’m his number one target, as I take food over to his mate at the nest site & if he can see me, will attack remorselessly…We have to be sneaky & feed him round the corner, then I can sneak over to the causeway & give her some grain while he’s not looking!

Anyway, Mrs. White Duck is busy laying her egg for the day as I’m writing go you, not best pleased that I’m having breakfast outside, I’ve messed up her privacy…..I can’t win, it’s very busy in the world of wildlife!

I’m really looking forward to visiting Parkwood Trout Farm today to see Mrs Ducky and her friends.

Mrs Duckys’ Continuing Adventures 

May 6, 2016

Here is the next instalment of Mrs. Duckys’ adventures….
Today, it was lunchtime dining for two, as Mrs. Ducky was joined by her partner, for a bit of lunch in the afternoon sunshine. Lovely afternoon for dining out in the sun!

This sophisticated dining was followed by a quick dip in the lake, a bit of a falling-out with the neighbouring mallards & back to the afternoons’ brooding……

Oh, by the way, we do have other expectant mothers seeing to their duties…

I’m looking forward to visiting on Sunday!
So endeth the tales from the countryside for today!

Mrs Duckys’ Adventures

May 5, 2016

You may recall my visit to the Parkwood Trout Farm in Harrietsham a few weeks ago when I met up with an old feathered friend, a particularly tame Call Duck.

She also likes her food!

She also does what Call Ducks do and created a bit of a panic by disappearing for a couple of days.

My great friends Alison and Paul spent frantic days trying to find her but finally decided to tell me that Mr Fox had done his dastardly deed.

After telling me that, they found her nesting in the base of a tree brooding over a clutch of eggs.

Not a very wise Duck as of course Mr Fox came back searching for her ,so, whilst Alison took her in doors to feed her up on the cat food

Paul ensured that her nest was well and truly protected.

Next instalment of Mrs. Duckys’ adventures….

Latest news from Alison:

It’s going well, she now knows I’m bringing her some food each day, so we have a good system working now!
Lunch time was a bit earlier today, 1.30pm & out she popped straight away (with an audience of our favourite anglers who are nature lovers). Lunch, quack for the old man, a trot down to the lake, quick swim & a preen & back in 10 minutes.

Here she is…..

18 days to go to hatching and I’m sure that there will be many more adventures to follow and I will keep your posted!

Great to meet the new Head Teacher of the Howard School in Rainham

April 15, 2016


Having just started in his new role as Head Teacher of the Howard School in Rainham it was a real pleasure to be visited by Terry Millar this morning where he brought both myself and my ward colleague Cllr Barry Kemp up to date with his plans for the future of the school.

Terry joins us from the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Crayford Academy and I know is extremely excited at his new role with us here in Medway.

After discussing local ward issues I was able to spend time with Terry discussing various issues and really look forward to working with Terry and the leadership team at the Howard School in the future.

Thank you Terry for taking the time to visit, it is very much appreciated.


Residents invited to enter beacon lighting competition

April 14, 2016


News from Medway Council

Six beacons in Medway will burn bright on 21 April as part of a national salute to the Queen on her 90th birthday.

To make the occasion special for local people, we’re inviting residents to enter a competition to light Medway’s main beacon at Great Lines Heritage Park in Gillingham, together with the Deputy Mayor of Medway Cllr Steve Iles.

There is a long and unbroken tradition in the UK of celebrating Royal jubilees, weddings, coronations and special birthdays with the lighting of beacons. The last major beacon celebration marked the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on 4 June 2012.

To enter the Medway beacon lighting competition, head to Twitter, use #MedwayBeacons and in one tweet tell us why you should be chosen to light the Great Lines’ beacon.

The winner will be contacted on Twitter by the official Medway Council Twitter account (@Medway_Council) on Tuesday, 19 April.

Entrants must be over 12-years-old, must live in Medway and be willing to have their photo taken. Photos may appear in the local media, or in council material including social media. The winner will need to arrive on site no later than 8.10pm, ready for the lighting ceremony at 8.30pm.

Other beacons to be lit in Medway at 8.30pm on 21 April:

• Capstone Farm Country Park in Gillingham in the Event Field
• Riverside Country Park in Gillingham at Horrid Hill
• Victoria Gardens in Chatham
• Broomhill Park in Strood
• Kings Hill in Hoo

Deputy Mayor of Medway, Cllr Steve Iles said: “I am very much looking forward to lighting the Great Lines Heritage Park beacon to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday. It’s a special occasion set to be celebrated nationwide and I am pleased I’ll be lighting a beacon alongside the winner of the competition, as well as hundreds more people up and down the country.

“Good luck to all who enter the Medway beacon lighting competition.”

Medway Council’s budget 2016/17

February 26, 2016


Medway Council Press Release

Medway residents will continue to pay the lowest council tax in Kent following councillors’ approval of the budget for 2016/17.

Last night councillors voted for a 1.994 per cent increase in council tax and an additional two per cent social care precept – a new power announced by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement.
This will help combat an unprecedented cut in government funding that will see the authority lose almost £12million in grant support from central government compared to 2015/16 – that’s a 30 per cent drop. The additional precept will allow the council to partially fund the ever growing cost of looking after an ageing population.
This year’s council tax, inclusive of the two per cent precept, equates to £1,234.89 per year for an average Band D home. This represents a rise of 91p a week or £47 a year on last year’s council tax charge.
While Medway Council seeks to be as efficient as possible, it needs to increase council tax to ensure a balanced budget – a legal obligation it must meet despite the fact that it is becoming harder to achieve this as government funding continues to decrease.
Services such as highways, libraries and leisure will be protected. Medway remains determined to support its community hubs, which have been key in offering residents a whole host of council services. The council will also continue to provide weekly bin and recycling collections, one of a handful of authorities in the country to do this, and car park fees will be frozen until 2017.
Additional funding in the budget will include:
£16,000 for the Queen’s 90th birthday beacons
£50,000 for Dutch Raid commemorations

£49,000 for Medway’s Dickens heritage

£140,000 on HMS Kent Freedom

£55,000 for inward investment

£15,000 has been put aside to continue to fight against a Thames estuary airport, should the need arise.
The authority has embarked on a digital transformation programme which will see more services delivered online for less cost, and in social care there will be a stronger focus on people being supported to maintain their independence and receive care within their own homes. School budgets have also been protected at similar rates to 2015/16.
Historically, Medway receives much less in government funding than other similar sized local authorities and this is a continuing feature.

Because of this, the council is constantly looking for ways to improve services, lower costs but also deliver its priorities for the area.
Alongside the budget, the council has agreed its four year business plan.

Three priorities for change are supported by a range of projects.
• Medway: A place to be proud of – supporting a clean and green environment and helping to put Medway on the map.
• Supporting Medway’s people to realise their potential – helping older and disabled people to live independently; resilient families; supporting a healthy and active community; helping children to achieve their potential in schools.
• Maximise regeneration and economic growth – creating a strong and diversified community; residents with jobs and skills; preventing homelessness; delivering new homes in Medway to meet need; getting around Medway.
Leader of Medway Council Cllr Alan Jarrett said: “It’s been a really tough task to balance this budget, something we have spent a very long time on to ensure we protect the services that are most important to local people, while still making the vast savings required.
“We have absolutely been backed into a corner by central government, as have all local authorities, and while we have again managed to find ways of continuing to deliver important and quality services, continued future funding cuts will be damaging to the level of service we are able offer local people – something we have always strived to avoid.
“The 1.994 per cent rise in council tax and the additional social care precept is unavoidable if we want to maintain services.
“Over the coming years, ongoing major regeneration in the area is going to boost the local economy including Rochester Airport Technology Park, Rochester Riverside development, Strood Riverside and Chatham and Temple Waterfronts, and George Osborne’s recent announcement of Enterprise Zone status for Rochester Airport as part of The North Kent Innovation Zone, will attract more businesses to the area.”

Trying our hand at Design Technology at Rochester Maths School

February 24, 2016


In the company of local Ward Councillor Stuart Tranter, I visited

Sir Joseph Williamsons Mathematical School (Rochester Maths) today.

Warmly greeted by the Head Teacher Eliot Hodges he took us for a tour of the whole school where we were able to speak to both staff and students.

We are pictured above with a group of students showing us their initial cardboard models of the ideas that would eventually be their finished products. They would be using some sophisticated machinery such as 3D cutting which was demonstrated to us in the photograph below.


All of the students were keen to show us their work, whether it was Biology, Science, Language or Maths. Stuart and I were extremely impressed by the positive ethos that was evident across the whole school.

Their motto being : Aspire, Achieve, Excel!

I look forward to returning.


Meet Olympic champions at inspirational event

February 7, 2016


Medway Matters

Olympic champion turned TV presenter Amy Williams is to lead a panel of world-class athletes coming to Medway for International Women’s Day.

The gold medallist will be taking part in an Audience with the Olympians Inspire Evening on Tuesday, 8 March.

The event aims to showcase successful females in sport and inspire more women and girls to consider sporting careers, whether as an athlete, coach, administrator, broadcaster or in another field.

The special evening held at Royal Dockyard Church Lecture Theatre at Chatham Historic Dockyard will run from 6-8pm, and there’s a chance for local people to enter a ballot to be there alongside an invited audience.

Amy, who won gold in the skeleton in the 2010 Winter Olympics, will be joined on stage by former modern pentathlon world champion Mhairi Spence and Medway’s own Rugby World Cup winner Rachael Burford, who looks set to represent Great Britain in Rugby Sevens at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

A question and answer session will be hosted by sports broadcaster Eleanor Oldroyd and there will an opportunity for the audience to mingle with the sporting stars over light refreshments.

Amy said: “I’m hoping we can all inspire Medway’s young people to choose sport and get as much enjoyment out of it as I have.

“Sport has always been a powerful tool for bringing people together and enriching lives, which is why I’m looking forward to coming to Medway, to share my story with everyone and to also hear what others think about sport.”

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services Cllr Howard Doe said: “The Audience with the Olympians Inspire Evening is going to be a very special occasion. It’s an opportunity to recognise some of the outstanding sporting achievements of women and allow youngsters interested in getting more involved in sports to hear from some great sporting stars about their own experiences.

“It will be a wonderful way to mark International Women’s Day and I urge anyone who would like to come along, to enter the ballot – good luck.”

Fifteen pairs of tickets are up for grabs and those wishing to enter the ballot need to register by sending their name and contact details to

The closing date is Tuesday, 23 February, when the winners will be drawn at random. Winners will be contacted shortly after the closing date.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

The Audience with the Olympians Inspire Evening is a council-run event organised in partnership with the University of Kent, Kent Sport and Project500.

A warm welcome at the King’s School Rochester

January 29, 2016


I have enjoyed a great day with the staff and pupils of the King’s School in Rochester today.

The visit was the last in my tour of Medway Schools to present them with their copy of the history of the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, “Unconquered”.

On hand to give a presentation of the Lieutenancy and to answer questions was my friend Russell Race the Medway Deputy Lieutenant.

We had the pleasure of joining sixth form pupils at their history lesson and pictured above with them after the presentation.

After the presentation and talking with the pupils we joined them and the Principal for lunch.


After lunch I visited the Combined Cadet Force under the command of Major Short RE and was able to join the cadets in each of their regular Friday groups :

Army, Navy and Airforce.

I am pictured below with some of the Naval cadets honing up on their chart and navigation skills.


A wonderfully warm welcome, a big thank you to the Principal Mr Jeremy Walker, staff and pupils.

I look forward to returning.

Outstanding school leaders lend a hand to help drive improvement

January 22, 2016


Medway Matters

Outstanding school leaders from London are working with Medway head teachers to share expertise and good practice, as part of the council’s Get Medway Learning campaign.

Throughout this academic year, head teachers from the capital with National Leader in Education status, will help local primaries on an improvement journey with regular visits and training.

This practical approach is set to drive up standards of leadership and teaching in 13 Medway schools, and consequently improve learning for pupils.

Not only will the National Leaders in Education regularly visit primaries, the Medway head teachers will also travel to their respective outstanding schools as part of the programme.

Schools receiving help via the coaching scheme are either classed as ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted, or schools which would benefit from help in specific areas.

The linking of outstanding schools from outside the area with those who need help to improve in Medway, is set to enable local school leaders to drive progress in their own schools.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr Mike O’Brien said: “This is a really big and important step in the teaching strand of the Get Medway Learning campaign. Not only do we want to recruit outstanding teachers, but also allow our already good teachers and leaders to access advice and gain tips from the very best.

“Just because a school is receiving advice and help through this coaching scheme it doesn’t mean they are bad school. Advice from those at the top of their field is always useful and should be welcomed with open arms.”