Local News

Volunteers Wanted To Help Support Vulnerable People

Volunteers Wanted To Help Support Vulnerable People

Swale Borough Council are asking for volunteers to help support vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak.

The council has been asked by the government to coordinate how to get support out to the most vulnerable people in the community.

A Council spokesperson told SFM News: "We need to make sure these people can access information and can contact us to let us know the support they require. This also involves working with our partners in the community and voluntary sectors for their support. We are already working hard to help the local community respond to this unprecedented situation, and this scheme is an important part of that. The government has given us guidance on how this scheme should run, and we are urgently mobilising our efforts."

The council is now looking for volunteers to help with deliveries of food and medicines to the vulnerable residents in Swale and have set up an online form for people interested in helping deliver this work.

Volunteers must not be in one of the high risk categories identified by the government.

Training will be given, and social distancing measures will be followed by all temporary support and voluntary roles.

Information has been sent to borough councillors, town and parish councils, and the local community and voluntary sector to help create as wide a network of support as possible.

106.9 SFM is also assisting by giving messages out On Air and helping to signpost volunteers through to Swale Borough Council - stay tuned for the latest information.


Swale Borough Council Responds To COVID-19

Swale Borough Council Responds To COVID-19

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to develop, Swale Borough Council has begun activating plans to maintain essential services across the borough.

At present, council meetings are being scaled back to only those we are legally required to continue, and we are awaiting government advice on running these remotely - either online or by phone.

Council officers have begun working remotely, and for now council offices remain open to the public for essential services such as supporting rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness.

Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of the Council, said: "These are serious times and we - officers and members of the council - will do all that is possible to protect people from this virus and maintain the services and decision making that we have to do. Over the last few weeks, we have been preparing for the potential impact on the borough. It is highly likely our services will be affected in some way, but we have been planning what we can do to minimise any disruption.

"Before any impacts become apparent it is important that people know where to get the right information. People should check our website and social media accounts for information and updates. We are already working with our partners across the public sector as part of the county-wide response to the outbreak, and we will continue to support each other throughout this crisis. We must also think about how we, as members of our communities, can support each other. When friends and neighbours are isolated, we need to support them too. Practical things like help with shopping can be a lifeline, but something as simple as a phone call to let them know someone cares can be a great morale boost.

"Our local businesses that employ thousands of people across the borough will most likely be affected, and it's vital that we all support them however we can. We don't know when this will end, but we do know that it will, and I want us to know we did everything we could to help each other through this difficult time."

For information and advice about council services impacted during the coronavirus outbreak, visit www.swale.gov.uk/coronavirus.

National information about the current situation, including travel advice and updates on what action is being taken, is available on the Gov.uk website.

More specific health advice is available on the NHS website.

If you are feeling unwell and worried about your symptoms, use the online NHS 111 coronavirus service. Do not go directly to your GP, pharmacy, hospital or other healthcare setting.

Sittingbourne Burglar 'Caught In The Act' Jailed

Sittingbourne Burglar 'Caught In The Act' Jailed

A burglar, who was caught in the act by a courageous Sittingbourne householder, has been jailed.

At around 4.50am on Tuesday 10th September 2019, a Miller Close resident saw a light was on in the wooden cabin in his back garden. Suspecting there were intruders, he approached the cabin and saw David Bignall inside along with a second man. He attempted to trap them inside by holding the doors closed, but they forced their way out and ran off down an alleyway.

The victim followed and caught Bignall as he attempted to follow the other offender over a fence into a neighbour's garden. A struggle ensued and Bignall, who was holding a screwdriver, assaulted the victim while making threats. A number of neighbours who heard the commotion came to the victim's assistance and helped restrain the burglar until the arrival of police officers.

Bignall of Larkfield Avenue, Sittingbourne was arrested and later charged with burglary, going equipped to steal and assault. The 38-year-old pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court and  was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison on (Thursday 12th March) at the same court..

Officer in the case, Detective Constable Nicola Lincoln told SFM News: "This burglar did not hesitate to use violence in an attempt to escape the scene of his crime. It is to the victim's credit that he stood his ground and bravely held onto the offender until the arrival of patrols. I would also like to commend the neighbours who came to his assistance. This prison sentence will ensure the residents of Sittingbourne are protected from Bignall's criminal activities."

MS Swale Bowlers Take Up The Challenge

MS Swale Bowlers Take Up The Challenge

Three bowlers from MS Swale (the independent local charity, offering support to anyone in Swale with Multiple Sclerosis and those affected by someone with MS) have formed a team and entered the South East Region leg of the Disability Bowls England Inter-Club Triples competition which was held at Ashford Indoor Bowls Centre on Saturday (7th March).

Around 2½ years ago, MS Swale realised that their members would benefit mentally and physically from exercise and decided to set up a Para-bowls club, run weekly at Swale Indoor Bowls Club in Milton Regis. It soon became obvious that the members were enjoying the sessions and with the help of grants from Swale Council and local councillors, combined with fund raising efforts, they purchased 5 specialised wheelchairs, plus steps for an outdoor rink to enhance everyone's enjoyment. The numbers participating have increased and members really enjoy the sessions, usually staying for lunch at the Bowls Club afterwards. Many members were so keen that they also played outside during the summer season at the Appleyard Bowls Club. Playing ability has greatly improved so that they have now formed a team to play in one of the many leagues run by Swale Indoor Bowl Club, competing on an equal basis with able bodied players.

When they heard about the Disability Bowls England Triples competition to be held in Ashford, they welcomed the chance to take up the challenge. 8 teams, each consisting 3 players with a disability from the same bowls club, will take part in the competition. The teams will be divided into 2 groups, playing a minimum of 3 games each.

Steve Harbour, David Webb and Janice Hancock made up the MS Swale team, with Tony Hancock as Reserve. Many of their fellow members, family and friends planning to cheer them on at the event. Steve Harbour said "Playing bowls has really made a difference to my life. The Para-bowls sessions have enabled me to play sport again, benefitting me both physically and mentally. The regular sessions have given me the confidence to take part, with the rest of the team, in the Swale Indoor Bowls Club leagues and I am looking forward to the challenge of the Disability Bowls England Competition".

MS Swale invites anyone who has a neurological disability to come and join us at bowls. The sessions take place each Friday from 12.00 midday at Swale indoor Bowls Club, Vicarage Road, Milton Regis ME10 2BL.


Sittingbourne FC Manager Chris Lynch Resigns

Sittingbourne FC Manager Chris Lynch Resigns

Chris Lynch has today resigned as First team Manager of Sittingbourne FC.

He told the SFM Sports Team: "After a lot of consideration and with a heavy heart I have made the decision over night to step down from my role as manager of this great club with immediate effect".

This announcement comes after yet another home defeat last night to Sevenoaks Town (0-3).

In an official statement to 106.9 SFM the club has said "[we] would like to place on record our thanks to Chris for his time with the club and are sad that Chris has decided to go. We wish him well in the future and feel sure that his dedication and thoroughness will mean that he will succeed in football management sometime in the future".

More as we get it.

2020's Carnival Court Gets Selected

2020's Carnival Court Gets Selected

The Selection of the Sittingbourne Carnival Court for 2020 took place on Sunday (8th March) at The Appleyard.

Miss Sittingbourne for 2020 will be Emily Thomas and her two joint Sittingbourne Princesses for 2020 will be Shannon Evans and Nola Hart (all pictured above).

They were very excited to be chosen and look forward to representing their town at events throughout Kent, starting with the Teynham Court Selection this coming Saturday (14th March).

The judges were Sonja Wilson, a former Miss Faversham in 1987, Zoe Hetherington, current Miss Kent Great Britain and a Miss Great Britain finalist, Leanne Martin, former Miss Sittingbourne 2008 and Miss Kent 2011, Cllr Mike Baldock, the Deputy Leader of Swale Borough Council and Roy Bailey, the Chairman of Minster (in Thanet) Carnival Association and Chairman of the AKCO (Association of Kent Carnival Organisations).

The afternoon was enjoyed by over 150 people, including 11 other Carnival Courts from around Kent supporting the event.

Good luck to the new 2020 Carnival Court and we look forward to working with you throughout the next 12 months!

Sittingbourne's Carnival Day will be on Saturday 27th June and the 106.9 SFM Roadshow crew will be there too!

Man Charged After Sittingbourne Burglary

Man Charged After Sittingbourne Burglary

A suspected burglar has been charged following a break-in at a Sittingbourne address.

Jewellery and a quantity of money was reported to have been stolen from a property in Place Lane, Hartlip between 8am and 8.15pm on Friday 13th November 2019.

Charlie Knight, 22, of Goudhurst Road, Gillingham was arrested and charged with one count of burglary on Friday (6th March).

He appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court on Saturday 7th March and will next appear at Maidstone Crown Court at a date to be determined.

Jail For Sheerness Dangerous Driver

Jail for Sheerness Dangerous Driver

A motorist from Sheerness, who fled from police in a stolen car at speeds exceeding 100 mph, has been jailed.

Harrison Bennett, of Marina Drive in Minster-on-Sea, hurled glass bottles from an Audi and drove on the wrong side of the road during a police pursuit last year. Officers were forced to abandon the pursuit due to safety fears but then located Bennett at a property nearby where he tried to get rid of evidence by flushing the car key down a toilet. The 29-year-old pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, handling stolen goods and driving without a licence or insurance at Maidstone Crown Court.

At around 7pm on Friday 13th December 2019 patrols spotted Bennett driving an Audi with cloned number plates in Sheerness High Street. Attempts were made to stop the car but Bennett increased his speed, driving at over 100mph in a 40mph speed limit, throwing glass bottles from the car and driving towards oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road. Due to the poor driving and risk to the public, officers decided to stop pursuing the vehicle and instead carried out a search of the area. The car was found parked outside an address in Berridge Road. Bennett was discovered inside the property and the key to the Audi was found and recovered from a toilet within the house. He was arrested and charged the next day. Bennett was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment and banned from driving for 30 months at Maidstone Crown Court earlier today (Thursday 5th March).

Officer in charge of the case, Detective Constable Kara Sweetland from North Kent CID, told SFM News: "Bennett drove so dangerously that evening that it was lucky no one was injured. He behaved with complete disregard for the safety of himself, the passenger in his car, officers and other drivers. Even though we had to abort the pursuit, prompt action by our officers meant we were still able to track and locate Audi and bring Bennett to justice. Thankfully this result means he has now been taken off the roads of Swale and is unable to pose a threat to other drivers or members of the public."

Refund Scam Alert from Kent Trading Standards

Refund Scam Alert from Kent Trading Standards

Kent Coiunty Council's Trading Standards Team are warning local residents to be vigilant after several people in the Sittingbourne area have been sent fraudulent cheques drawn on companies like SKY, HMRC etc.

The details are as follows:-

• Resident receives a cheque which is said to be a refund for an overpayment.
• They are contacted by the criminals within a day or two informing them that the amount refunded was too much.
• They are given account details and asked to transfer the excess by bank transfer.
• After the transfer is complete the cheque bounces as it is a "counterfeit cheque" and the resident loses their money.

Here's what to do:-

• Be suspicious if you receive a refund cheque (whether expected or not) and confirm with the actual company that the cheque is legitimate.

• Contact your bank for help and advice if you have deposited a refund cheque or paid out funds against it.

• If you have already been a victim of this type of crime call Kent Police on 101 to report.

Man Charged With Five Burglary Offences

Man Charged With Five Burglary Offences

Five charges have been made against a man who is suspected to have burgled five business premises across Folkestone, Sittingbourne and Rochester.

Tony Jackson was arrested by Kent Police officers on Tuesday (25th February) after he was identified as a suspect for offences committed at business parks between Friday 6th December 2019 and Friday 21st February 2020.

The combined total of damage caused, and cash stolen, is estimated to be in excess of £12,000.

The 58-year-old, of Redbridge Close in Chatham, has since been charged with burgling businesses in Bingham Road and Caesars Way, both in Folkestone, on 6th and 28th December respectively. He has also been charged with burgling two businesses in Bingham Road, Sittingbourne, on Saturday 15th February and targeting another business in Maidstone Road, Rochester, on Friday 21st February.

Jackson was remanded in custody to appear at Medway Magistrates' Court today (Wednesdayth 26 February) and at the hearing he was further remanded in custody again and will appear at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday 30th March.


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