Thursday, 28 July 2011

Fighting for St Mary's ABC, Chatham

St Mary's ABC, Street End Road

Labour Councillors in Luton & Wayfield will be supporting the campaign by our local St Mary's ABC which is currently threatened with closure after the ownership of the land changed.

I along with Councillor colleagues met the campaigners yesterday evening and it is clear they will fight to the end for a club which spawned former world champion Johnny Armour and top heavyweight Tom Dallas.

St Mary's Amateur Boxing Club in Chatham is one of the oldest and proudest clubs in the county and has support from across the region. It is the epitomy of a small sports club fighting against corporate greed.

You can join their Facebook site and a petition is currently being organised to safeguard this piece of local heritage. The Council has a responsibility to local sportsclubs to ensure they are safeguarded; one such as this with such a proud history must be looked at.

St Mary's has been at the site for more than 50 years. It has previously rented the property for a peppercorn rent of just £26 a year, but following the death of its landlady, the future of the club is in doubt.

Club secretary and head coach Dave Bowler said to Medway Messenger:

"We are very worried. We don't know who is going to buy it and if they will let us stay. If the new owners put the rent up, we wouldn't be able to afford it, and we can't afford to go anywhere else."

St Mary's most famous son is Armour who reigned the WBU bantamweight division for three years. He trained at the club from the age of 10 until he signed a professional contract aged 21.

He said:

"It would be a great shame if the club had to close. A lot of people would feel the same as me. It has been there such a long time and a lot of people will have fond memories of it.

"It is a blinding club, I don't think you will ever get a club as good as St Mary's in Medway. I couldn't have done anything I have done in my career without the start I was given at that club."

As Councillors - Sam Craven, Tristan Osborne and Christine Godwin will be fighting for the boxing club and are currently engaged with the Council to ensure that the tradition of this much-loved sport continues in our community.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

We Will Rock You

A quick post to congratulate the cast, teachers and back-room staff who put on a truly remarkable performance of 'We Will Rock You' at the Bishop of Rochester Academy from the 13th-15th July.

There were some truly talented performances in front of an audience of parents, teachers and a few dotted Councillors as well.

It was really encouraging to see that many of those performing will be leaving the Academy and going onto Performing Arts courses at some excellent Universities.

All those that took part in the production should be immensely proud.

The Academy has had a tough year but with the committment and enthusiasm on display last Friday there are some really inspiring days ahead

Ready, Steady, Councillor

Residents in Luton and Wayfield enjoyed a day packed full of family fun over the weekend with live music, a barbecue, a talent show, fete and a quite comical Ready, Steady, Cook competition between local councillors Tristan Osborne and Sam Craven.

Residents also enjoyed a host of other events across the area including a Talent Performance Show at the Bishope of Rochester Acedemy. the event was a useful way of finding and engaging with people about their area and what they would like to see in the future.

With the tagline Local People, Local Solutions, the project is a joint initiative from Medway Council alongside NHS Medway, Kent Police in Medway, schools and community groups based in the area.

By working with the community and encouraging them to talk about any issues and concerns they have, the aim is to gain residents' feedback on the services they receive and how they can be improved, as well as looking at better ways to tackle issues such as anti social behaviour within a community.

Commenting Councillor Craven stated

"Hundreds of residents turned out across all threee of the venues despite the poor weather and immersed themselves in the activities on offer. Residents enjoyed watching the talent contest with urban dance from Rochester Group ATZ to belly and folk dancing. The fete at Wayfield Primary School was really well attended with the 'Guess the Teacher' stand attracting a lot of attention from former pupils

"It is very clear from the performances we saw that Medway has lots of very talented young people and this needs to be encouraged and harnessed."

Councillor Osborne

"Politicians are regularly told that if they dont like the heat they should get out the kitchen, so it was also a useful opportunity to rest a score from the local election with a 'Ready, Steady, Cook' competition. The competition pitted my cooking prowess with that of Cllr Craven, a mum and teacher"

"After a very brief tutorial from the chef's my skills were put to the test and though my chicken pasta dish was a success, though minus the spinach. It was not enough. Cllr Craven won that day with an excellent curry, where my efforts were rewarded the wooden spoon"

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Luton & Wayfield Fun Day

Residents in Luton and Wayfield are getting set for a day packed full of family fun this weekend.

Live music, a barbecue, a talent show and cookery sessions will be the eclectic mix of activities on offer at the Luton and Wayfield Big Event, taking place this Saturday, 16 July.

A whole host of activities for all the family to enjoy will be held at three main venues across the areas of Luton and Wayfield on a day dedicated to the residents of the area.

The event will launch the pilot project focused on the Luton and Wayfield area aimed at finding better ways to engage local communities and effectively tackle issues faced in their area.

With the tagline Local People, Local Solutions, the project is a joint initiative from Medway Council alongside NHS Medway, Kent Police in Medway, schools and community groups based in the area.

By working with the community and encouraging them to talk about any issues and concerns they have, the aim is to gain residents' feedback on the services they receive and how they can be improved, as well as looking at better ways to tackle issues such as anti social behaviour within a community.

The event will be an opportunity for residents to find out more about the project, as well as having some fun with their community, kick started with a talent show, held at Bishop of Rochester Academy.

The You’ve got Talent competition takes place at the academy's Magpie Hall Road site from 10am to 4pm, where performers will take to the stage and strutt their stuff in front of a select panel of judges and an audience. To take part in the show, call Medway Council on 01634 333333.

Over at Luton Junior School on Luton Road, families will be invited to don their aprons and take to the kitchen as the school opens especially for a day of fun packed cookery challenges.

Putting the fun back into food will be school meals provider Chartwells, who’ll be offering families the chance to take place in a series of cookery challenges, including Get Set Cook and Fun Fitness and Food – with fitness games, quizzes and cook -offs taking place from 10am to 4pm.

The third and final venue for the day is Wayfield Children’s Centre, where staff will be firing up the barbecue for an afternoon of summer fun.

The centre, on Wayfield Road, will be open from 12 to 4pm, and will also be holding a summer fete, with family fun in the shape of traditional games, face painting, cakes and more.

All events are free to attend and residents who attend two or more of the venues will receive a free goodie bag.

There will also be a prize draw on the day, with the chance to win a bike, smoothie maker or basket of fruit.

For more information and to register for the talent show, contact Medway Council on 01634 333333.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Standing up for Schools

Cllr Craven has concerns about school management

We remain extremely concerned by a number of press articles on Primary / Secondary school education across Medway and will be working with colleagues over the coming weeks to ensure that we reach a position where those responsible are held to account for a number of significant and expensive failures.

Quite frankly, our young people deserve better if press reports are to be believed.

We also want to stand in support of the angered parents, pupils and former governors of Ridge Meadow School who have been let down by the current Council. The school catchment included a large swatch of Wayfield and its closure was detrimental to the community.

Phone Mast Update

The consultation for the Phone Mast on Burma Way has now closed.

We will not know the outcome from the Council until the end of July but rest assured we will be opposing this application on behalf of local residents.

Meanwhile, we have written to the agents of the phone masts, to highlight our concern by the number and type of applications were are seeing.

We have suggested that instead of applying for masts in core residential areas with schools and homes; that instead the Agents for phone companies consider the use of industrial units.

This would allow the area to see an upgrade to its existing infrastructure and future demand whilst also accepting that masts close to residential areas continue to acquire a mixed press.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Ridgemeadow Closure

Councillor Sam Craven joined 'Save Our Schools' parents today on BBC News and local media, to highlight the fact that the evidence for school closures in 2009/2010 was not only inaccurate but based on flawed judgement which has harmed our community.

The Conservative Council pressed ahead with the closure of Ridgemeadow School in Wayfield despite repeated assertions by residents, parents, governors and campaigners that the basis for this closure, falling school rolls, was false.

The arguments used by the parents at the time that the area would see increased demand over the medium term were entirely accurate.

The Conservative administration therefore closed the school on a false argument.

Commenting Cllr Sam Craven

"It is cheek for all the parents who fought for weeks, months, or in our case, for years not to close the schools. All the evidence we collected was obviously correct and it shows the administration didn't listen or care. They rode roughshod over the parents' arguments"

We will continue to work with residents and parents on securing the Ridgemeadow site for future education resource