Saturday, 17 November 2012

All Saints Project Support

David Miliband MP,  Labour’s former Foreign Secretary, visited Chatham on Tuesday 13th November to see the All Saints Community Project and the work it does for the local community which serves a number of areas within Luton.
David was there to visit the community project with Labour’s candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner, Harriet Yeo but also to highlight how Labour Councillor's can work and partner with the community to deliver real change
The Community Project was set up in 2001 as a response to the needs and issues faced by many people in the All Saints area of Chatham, and has been a great success offering homework clubs and summer holiday activities for children, support groups for residents, community clean-up days and much more

The hard work being undertaken at All Saints by the staff is a real testimony to community engagement and change.

Millenium Green Proposed Works

As ward Councillor's we are pleased to report that we are making significant progress in our key campaign pledge to improve Luton Millenium Green which is a much cherished green park near to Shipwrights in Chatham

We have been working with Council officers and Portfolio Holders to secure the site in the Council ownership which has was finalised by Court Order on November 13th last week.

Ward Councillor's have since met with Council officers and made representations at full council with several questions for a programme of proposed works to improve the site. 

We have received a lot of support from all Parties on this project which shows bi-partisan working at its best.

With limited funding we will need to partner with others to secure funding for major works but some limited improvements can occur over the next 12 months on site at little cost. 

Ward Councillor's have made representation for shrub clearance, new bins and signage and for additional lighting for users using the park as a cut through during the late afternoons and early evenings.

With the St Mary's Boxing Club close to raising its target to relocate to the derelict Scout hut adjacent to this site we believe that we could be on the cusp of some positive change for this park with new neighbours; and for a facility which has been neglected for a period of time.

For those that decry the work of Councillors this is the type of action that can be delivered for those who work hard for their ward.

The legal aspects of now been completed; now comes the delivery phase.

Members Item for Age Concern Closure

We are deeply disappointed as Ward Councillor's that the conversations led by the Conservative Council and MP has failed to secure a positive outcome for Age Concern in Chatham.

The centre in Hopewell Drive is based in Princes Park ward but we are concerned as local Councillors who border on this facility because many of our residents use this service.

The Luton & Wayfield team will be requesting a consideration of a Members Item which we are to discuss in more detail next week for the next Health & Adult Social care committee. 

We want to know the detail of the conversations and from first hand evidence whether our Conservative administration and Parliamentary representatives got the best deal for this charity. 

Age Concern is a key service which many of our resident in Luton & Wayfield use. We feel unhappy that many Charities in Medway have been let down by continued charity funding cuts and we want to explore whether funding cuts and the publicised move from Chatham town centre to Hopewell Drive as a result of Council policy on regeneration in the town centre has contributed to this closure. 

This was a charity with a long and proud history in Medway with a forty year record of help in the community

Over the last 18 months we have seen how the Tory-led Council have treated charities through massive budget cuts; we have seen the watering down of service provision for elderly residents with dementia and key care needs, so making it more difficult for residents to get support for loved ones as the criteria get even tighter; we have seen the threats to privatise and close local services. 

In terms of work undertaken we have made several representations to the media over the last four weeks and linked below press releases and blog articles to the matter where we have made open our willingness to arbitrate on behalf of the service users for an outcome. 



The Labour Group is in contact with Council officers to raise our concerns around three major issues:

  • The current Council contracts with Age Concern and the state of these post December 2012
  • Future of provision in the Chatham area given the closure and its impact on other services locally
  • The detail on the offer and a response from the Charity as to why they refused. The letter received does not go into detail and the offer was not made public for obvious legal reasons during the arbitration.

We have made representation to the leadership of our group that we should be tabling a members item at the next Health & Adult O&S. 

Due to legal sensitivities on the offer and us not seeking to prejeudice or politicise any conversations we have been sensitive to media output. Now the offer has been rejected this allows us to probe in more detail, and more publicly, make representation and listen to those called to speak.

In terms of our wider work the Labour Group will also be having an open forum to discuss Adult Social care and our policy on November 29th which is open to the public. The meeting will take place from 7-9pm in the Princes Hall, Corn Exchange, Rochester. 

One of the issues discussed will be our campaign efforts to stop the privatisation of Platters Farm, Nelson Court and Robert Bean which was persued by the Conservative Party administration