Local News

COVID19 - New 'Kent Together' Service Launched

COVID19 - New 'Kent Together' Service Launched

Many people will have trusted friends, family and neighbours they can call on for support but where this is not the case, Kent Together is working with all of the local authorities, fire, health and police services to organise help and assistance for the communities and vulnerable people across Kent. 

The Kent Together service is a single, convenient point of contact for anyone in Kent who is in urgent need of help during the coronavirus outbreak at kent.gov.uk/kenttogether or you can call 03000 41 92 92 if you require assistance.

COVID19 - Maintaining Essential Council Services

Statement: Maintaining Essential Council Services

There has been a lot of discussion and debate recently about what is deemed an "essential" worker or service, and Swale Borough Council have confirmed that the same has been happening with their operations in an official statement issued today.

They say that they have been following government guidance and where possible their staff have been working from home. However, they say that "certain jobs and services simply can't be done from home and in these cases we have been adhering to social distancing guidelines as much as we can. We have been working with our contractors and have received assurances that they are assessing the risks and providing staff with the right level of protection, so in many cases we feel it is right to continue with our key services".

Some examples of contractors continuing council work have been confirmed as:

Waste collections - their contractors are following government guidelines and the recently issued Waste Industry Safety and Health principles.

They are prioritising waste collection services to ensure every household continues to get a basic collection service.

Public toilets - While footfall is reduced they feel it is vital to continue to offer this service for those that need it, especially key workers that need to be out and about. The cleansing contractor Monitor is taking the precautions needed and "doing a great job with increased cleansing regimes" they say.

Grounds maintenance - Grass cutting or tree work may not seem essential to some, but the council feel it is important that they keep on top of this health and safety work, especially in areas where people will be doing their daily exercise or in their cemeteries, which remain in operation.

Along with their own staff, grounds maintenance teams are also keeping an eye on the closed playgrounds and fitness equipment troughout the borough.

Parking enforcement - Despite the changes to parking restrictions which has seen reduced enforcement, the council feel it is important that they maintain safety and clear traffic flow for emergency vehicles and waste collection vehicles especially in the main town centre areas. They say they have reduced staff patrolling and are focussing on double yellow lines, school keep clear zones and loading bays to allow for critical food deliveries.

The Swale Borough Council spokesperson told SFM News "we know everybody is working hard to get through this situation and we are especially proud of our staff and contractors that continue to deliver key functions for everybody in the borough".

For the latest information please visit: https://www.swale.gov.uk/coronavirus/.

COVID19 - Bus Service And Timetable Updates

COVID19 - Bus Service And Timetable Updates

Following government advice to only travel if your journey is essential local bus companies have revised timetables across the network, though key routes will continue to operate to ensure customers can access critical services and key workers are able to travel.

For the vast majority of local services these changes came into effect from yesterday (Monday 30th March) and affect the following routes:- 

ARRIVA

333 - Sittingbourne to Faversham
via Bapchild, Teynham and Ospringe

334, 341, 647 - Sheerness to Maidstone
via Minster, Iwade, Bobbing, Sittingbourne and Chestnut Street

347 - Kemsley to Sittingbourne
via Milton Regis and Chalkwell

348, 349 - Great Easthall to Sittingbourne
via Eurolink (348) or Snipeshill and Murston (349)

CHALKWELL

All service/s as normal.

Chalkwell have confirmed that, as part of their efforts to support key workers, ALL NHS staff can use their services for free during the current crisis. All they need to do is show a valid NHS ID badge on boarding.

STAGECOACH

3, 3X - Sittingbourne to Canterbury
via Bapchild, Teynham and Ospringe, Faversham, the villages, Canterbury City Centre Bus Station

Buses are running hourly between Canterbury - the villages - Faversham- Sittingbourne, with an additional early morning journey from Faversham at 06:42.

*All the above information is provided to the best of our knowledge.

COVID19 - Council Suspends Garden Waste Collections

COVID19 - Council Suspends Garden Waste Collections

Swale Borough Council has decided to suspend Brown Bin collections until further notice during this Coronavirus outbreak.

A Council spokesperson told SFM News: "we are extremely grateful for the kind words we've had about our waste collection crews. They really appreciate them, and the thank you cards and messages left on bins, as they work hard to maintain the service. Unfortunately, due to reduced staff levels, we have taken the decision to suspend garden waste collections to prioritise collecting general waste, food waste and recycling. This means that if your garden waste brown bin is out for collection, please take it in off the street until we are able to restart the collections - please check our website and social media for updates.

The council spokesperson went on to add: "we will continue to collect your blue, green and food waste as planned, however if your bins are not collected on your usual allocated day, please leave them out and we will get to them as soon as we can".

 

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!

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