Local News

Swale's June Jobless Total Down

Swale's June Jobless Total Down

Unemployment across Kent and Medway tumbled by 1,556 people last month (June 2013) according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics released earlier today.

Locally the claimant count dropped 135 to 3,014 and every Kent district saw a fall in the number of jobless.

Nationally, for the three months to February, the Unemplyment figure stands a 2.51million, down 57,000 with a total unemployment rate of 7.8%.

"Special Measures" At Medway Hospital Trust

"Special Measures" At Medway Hospital Trust

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has announced in Parliament today that the Medway NHS Foundation Trust has been placed in special measures following "fundamental breaches of care".

Medway is one of eleven out of the fourteen trusts that have been put under further investigation by NHS Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh. Mr Hunt announced that the standard of care at the trust, which runs the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, were put under the spotlight following the recent inquiry into care at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust. An investigation of the mortality rates at Medway revealed that the hospital had 1,745 deaths in a year (210/2011) - 238 more than expected.

The Medway NHS Foundation Trust came in the bottom 12 of all 145 English hospital trusts for the end of last year and the recent investigation uncovered "more worrying findings".

Referring specifically to Medway, Mr Hunt told the Commons "A public consultation heard stories of poor communication with patients, poor management of deteriorating patients, inappropriate referrals and medical interventions, delayed discharges and long A&E waiting times."

Under the special measures introduced the trust will have to implement recommendations from the Keogh Review. This will include regular visits from external teams; health care regulators will assess the quality of leadership at the hospital/s and the removal of any senior managers unable to lead the improvements required; and the hospital/s will be partnered with high-performing NHS organisations from other area.

 

Appeal After A249 Bobbing Collision

Appeal After A249 Bobbing Collision

Kent Police are appealing for witnesses following a collision on the A249 yesterday (Monday 15th July).

At about 11.45am a white Mercedes Axor HGV was involved in a collision with a stationary marked police vehicle on the Maidstone-bound carriageway, near Bobbing.

Police were responding to a report that a blue Citroen Picasso had broken down and was partially blocking the live lane. The HGV, which was carrying gas cylinders, then collided with the central reservation and landed on its side. A number of the gas cylinders fell from the vehicle and Kent Fire and Rescue Service attended.

Both carriageways of the A249 between the Stockbury roundabout and A2 Key Street were closed. At about 2.35pm lane 1 of 2 on the northbound carriageway was opened. Both carriageways were fully re-opened by 7.40pm.

The driver of the lorry, believed to be aged in his 30s and from the London area, was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital and was released later the same day with minor injuries. The officer attending the reported broken down vehicle and the driver of the broken down vehicle were uninjured.

Anyone who may have witnessed the accident, or may have further information, is asked to contact PC Glen Braidwood, at the Kent Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit, on 01622 798538 or they can call Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555 111.

Two Charged With Rape In Sittingbourne

Two Charged With Rape In Sittingbourne

Two men have been charged in connection with a rape in Sittingbourne in the early hours of Sunday (14th July) morning.

Kent Police have confirmed that they were called at just before 3.40am on Sunday to reports of a rape of a 36-year-old local woman in Dover Street.

Maksim Volkon, aged 32 and of Merleburgh Drive and Vitalijs Alehovics, aged 26, of Periwinkle Close, both in Sittingbourne, have been jointly charged with rape.

They appeared before Maidstone Crown Court yesterday and were remanded in custody.

The pair are due to appear before the court again on Friday 2nd August.

Police Appeal After Distraction Burglary In Lynsted

Police Appeal After Distraction Burglary In Lynsted

Kent Police have released a computer generated image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with a distraction burglary in Sittingbourne.

Detectives are investigating the incident which is believed to have taken place between 3.40pm and 4pm on Wednesday 3rd July, in Cellar Hill, Lynsted.

The resident, an elderly woman, answered a knock on the door to find a man holding a clipboard and claiming to be a police officer, who said he was there to speak to her about a previous incident at her home. It is understood the man flashed a card at her but did not give her chance to inspect it properly. On the grounds of having an update to the incident, the man persuaded the victim to follow him into her front room, where it is believed he closed the door, blocking her view of the entrance to the house.

Suspicious, the victim asked the man to leave and challenged his identity. The suspect said he would get his identity card from his car and left. The victim then saw him driving off towards the A2 in a blue saloon car. Later, she noticed someone had searched the upstairs of her house and stolen a substantial quantity of cash from her bedroom.

Detectives have now released an e-fit image of a man they believe could help with their enquiries (above). The suspect has been described as a white man with thinning fair hair and stubble. He is believed to be around 5ft 9ins tall and of medium build.

Senior investigating officer, DCI Ann Lisseman of Kent Police, told SFM News: 'We believe this victim may have been specifically targeted and we are working closely with her on our lines of enquiry.
This was a particularly unpleasant incident that has left a vulnerable lady very shaken up and upset. Never let anyone into your house that you don't know or aren't expecting. Genuine visitors will be more than happy to provide identification and remain outside while you verify it with their company and the police. A police officer will never come to your door and refuse to provide identification straight away, so please ask for it whenever you are unsure. No Kent Police officer will mind waiting outside while you verify who they are - look at their ID cards closely and if you are still unhappy, close the door and call us on 101 to confirm their identity. If you have any doubts at all, don't let them in. Ask them to come back another time or to arrange an appointment at a convenient time for you, when you can have a friend or neighbour present."

Anybody with any information on this incident is asked to call DC Richard Allingham on 01795 419230, quoting crime reference XY/020346/13. Alternatively they can contact Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonimously on 0800 555 111.

Major Fire At Recycling Plant

Major Fire At Recycling Plant

Kent Fire & Rescue Service (KFRS) have been tackling a huge blaze at the Sweeep Kuusakoski building on Gas Road in Milton Regis.

It is believed that the fire broke out just after 8.00am this morning and 10 fire engines were sent to the scene. Two men, in their 20's and workers at the plant, suffered smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital. Local residents in the Milton Regis area were advised to keep their windows and doors shut as a precaution and a large exclusion zone was set up around the scene with the B2005 Mill Way being closed.

An investigation in to the cause of the fire will be instigated by the KFRS later today.

Man Appears In Court For Leysdown Armed Robbery

Man Appears In Court For Leysdown Armed Robbery

A man has appeared in court after being charged by detectives investigating an armed robbery at the weekend on the Isle Of Sheppey.

25-year-old Gary Donald Grannells, of Notting Hill in London, appeared at Maidstone Magistrates' Court, on Thursday 4th July, accused of robbery at Mr G's Amusement Arcade on The Promenade, Leysdown at 12.15pm on Saturday (29th June) .

Grannells was charged with robbery and two counts of assaulting a police officer and was remanded in custody until Friday 19th July.

Investigations by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate into the robbery continue. It is believed that around £3,000 was stolen in the raid.

Anybody with any information, or who may of witnessed the incident, is asked to call 01634 792492, quoting crime reference XY/19866/13. Alternatively, they can call free (from any landline), and anonymously, Kent Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Consultation On Children's Centre Closure

KCC Consultation On Children's Centre Closure

Kent County Council (KCC) are planning to change the way they deliver Children's Centre services throughout the county and have begun a consultation on the possible closure of the Woodgrove Children's Centre on Johnson Road here in Sittingbourne

A Press Release from the KCC states that "in the current economic climate efficiency savings must be made, so it is vital that the council sets out a new model for its Children's Centres which is sustainable for the long-term future". 

The Council says that it has identified 16 lead centres which are bigger buildings in communities where more families need early support services. They are proposing that "in future these will become 'Children's Centre Plus' and will co-ordinate services across smaller, linked centres in the area. This will mean that they will work more closely with local GPs, schools, health visitors, child minders, nurseries, social services, health specialists, Job Centre Plus and the voluntary sector to offer better access to vital services".

The Council believe at this new model will allow for them "to focus spending on services to children, while reducing costs for buildings, management, and other overheads. It will deliver savings of at least £1.5m while maintaining wide coverage across the county and continued access to a nearby service for those who need it most".

KCC has launched a 12-week consultation from today (Thursday 3rd July) to get the views of local parents and carers and the wider community who use the centres now or will use them in the future.

Jenny Whittle, KCC cabinet member for specialist children's services, told SFM News that "KCC is committed to continuing to provide the services we currently offer through our Children's Centres and continuing to make a difference to the futures of families we help through those centres. We need to make efficiency savings and will seek to do this by minimising property and management costs. We are committed to seeking the views of those families for whom Children's Centres provide important services. We will be conducting a full public consultation over the summer to gather views on our proposals. We recognise how important these services are to many families and we are looking at new and different ways to deliver them to the people who need them most. This includes working together with clinical commissioning groups to host services for families and working with the expanded Kent health visitor workforce to support first time families and vulnerable parents and children in our communities."

Children's Centres provide early childhood services such as nursery provision, social services, health services, training and employment services for parents and prospective parents and information and advice. The Council believes that "parents will still be able to use services at another Children's Centre or community venue, such as a library or GP surgery. If the proposal is implemented in full, accessibility to a Children's Centre will remain the same for more than 99% of families. Services which improve health, education and social care outcomes for children and families will be protected and focussed on the needs of the local population. Earlier support will also be targeted towards the families that need it".

To find out more about the proposals and take part in the consultation, visit www.kent.gov.uk/childrenscentres. The consultation runs from 4th July - 4th October 2013.

 

Appeal For Absconded Sheppey Prisoner

Appeal For Absconded Sheppey Prisoner

Kent Police are appealing for help from members of the public to help locate a man who absconded from prison on the Isle of Sheppey.

Last year thirty-six-year-old Martin Jones absconded from HMP Standford Hill - a category D open prison for prisoners including those at the end of their sentence. Following his disappearance on Monday 9th  July 2012 Jones, who was serving a sentence for burglary, remains unlawfully at large. He is described as 5ft 6ins tall, of medium build and has blue eyes. He has dark brown hair which is receding and possibly shaven.

He has connections with the Dover area and is also known to frequent the Leysdown, Iwade and Sittingbourne areas of Swale.

Members of the public are advised not to approach him.

If you have information on his whereabouts you are asked to call DS Chris Dovey on 01634 792227, or alternatively you can call Kent Crimestoppers free (from any landline) and anonymously on 0800 555 111.

UKP Music Festival Rocks The Bourne

UKP Music Festival Rocks The Bourne

This year's UKP Leisure Music Festival, sponsored by 106.9 SFM, was the biggest and best ever with a fantastic day of weather and live bands.

106.9 SFM's Kevin Field was LIVE from Midday at the event, soaking up the ocassion with interviews backstage and with the events organisers. Headlining this year were Jam Sandwich, Skadecat and Ben Mill's band Benzego along with Bye George (Matt Endesby).

Cllr Sue Gent, the Mayor of Swale, officially opened the show at 15:00hrs live on 106.9 SFM.

This year saw the biggest attendence in the six years of the event - so a BIG thank you to everyone that came along and enjoyed the day from all of us at the Towers!

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