Inside Swale Spring 2011

  • View
    222

  • Download
    4

Embed Size (px)

DESCRIPTION

Swale's residents' magazine Inside Swale, Spring 2011

Text of Inside Swale Spring 2011

  • Inside Swale X

    magazine

    In this issue

    Council Tax 2011/12A bright future for SittingbourneConsulting on our vision for SwaleSheerness Gateway making progress

    Diffi culty in understanding this magazine? Need it in Braille, large print or on audio tape? For translations or interpretations contact us and we will do our best to help.Tel: 01795 417850 Email: [email protected] spring 2011

    Keeping you in touch with your council services

  • www.swale.gov.uk http://twitter.com/SwaleCouncil

    2 Inside Swale

    Chief ExecutiveWelcome to Inside Swale, Swale Borough Councils residents magazine. Through these pages we aim to keep you informed about how we are working

    to provide you with value-for-money services and how we are joining forces with other public-serving organisations to meet the communitys needs.

    In this issue you will see that an important step forward has been taken in the regeneration of Sittingbourne Town Centre, which is something that will benefi t the whole of Swale. You will also see that we have increased our accountability by publishing details of senior offi cers pay and of all of our outgoing expenses over 500 and that we have continued to consult residents on a range of issues.

    This issue also sets out information in relation to the funding we receive from central government and the freezing of Council Tax for the next fi nancial year.

    This is a very important time for the Council as it holds whole council elections for the fi rst time in May. There are details in this issue telling you how you can make sure you are registered to vote and how you can stand as a candidate.

    Abdool KaraChief ExecutiveSwale Borough Council

    ContentsElections ................................................ 3The National Census ............................. 4Latest news from Milton Creek ............ 5Free family swim ................................... 6 Collecting your bins in the snow ........... 7Housing news ................................. 8 & 9Transparency on spend ........................ 10Internal Audit ....................................... 11Council Tax 2011-12 .................. 12 & 13Swales Core Strategy ......................... 14Sittingbourne Town Centre ................. 15Sheerness Gateway ............................. 16Voices of Leysdown ............................. 17News from Medway Maritime ... 18 & 19Keeping safe from fire ......................... 20Street Wardens on the buses .............. 21Your Councillors ......................... 22 & 23

    Inside Swale is produced by Swale Borough Councils Communications and Marketing Team

    Cover: Tunstall Village Hall polling station.

    Contact Swale Borough Councilphone: 01795 417850

    email: CSC[email protected]: www.swale.gov.uk

    or write to us at Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT

    Our corporate priorities are:

    Regenerating Swale

    A safer and stronger community

    A high-performing organisation

    Creating a cleaner and greener Swale

  • http://tiny.cc/Swale-FB www.swale.gov.uk

    Inside Swale 3News

    You have the X factorSwale Borough Council has 47 borough councillors who represent the

    different wards in Swale. On Thursday 5 May, borough council elections are being held and this year all of the 47 seats are up for election. This is because following consultation, the Council decided to change its electoral system to whole council elections. An explanatory document is available to view on our website and at our district offi ces. This also

    means that all Parish and Town Councils are holding elections this year.

    This is your chance to vote for the person you want to represent you

    in your ward and, in certain areas, on your town and

    parish council. There is also a Referendum on the voting system being held on the same day and the Electoral Commission will be sending a booklet to every household about this.

    To vote you must be on the electoral register. Forms were sent to every household between August and October

    asking you to confi rm your details or register. If you are not on the register you do have until Thursday 14 April to register to vote but we encourage you to register as soon as possible. There are three ways that you can vote in person at a polling station (we will send you a poll card which tells you where your station is); or via a postal vote (you will need to apply for this) or proxy vote (where someone is authorised to vote on your behalf again you will need to apply for this). There are set deadlines for these options and so you are encouraged to contact us as soon as possible. The Councils website contains a range of information about the forthcoming elections, from detailing how you can make sure you are registered to vote to even standing as a candidate. For more information please phone our customer services team on 01795 417850 or email [email protected]

  • www.swale.gov.uk http://twitter.com/SwaleCouncil

    4 Inside Swale News

    Make a difference. The information you provide will help tomorrow to take shape.

    The National Census is on its way!

    Every ten years the Offi ce for National Statistics (ONS) carries out a Census to fi nd out more about the people who live in England and Wales, and about the make-up of neighbourhoods.The next census takes place on Sunday 27 March 2011, and during March the ONS will be sending out questionnaires to every household in the country to complete either online or by hand.

    The census asks everyone about work, health, national identity, citizenship, ethnic background, education, second homes, language, religion, marital status and so on. These statistics are then used to build a picture of todays society and predict changes over the next ten years. Like all local authorities in England and Wales, Swale Borough Council relies on census population statistics to get the government funding we need for public services. How much we get is directly related to how many people and what kind of people the census identifi es as living in our area. All personal information is strictly confi dential and cannot be made public for 100 years.You can do it online. You can do it by post. But you must do it. So please get your questionnaire back as soon as possible.

    orough Council ment funding y related s

  • http://tiny.cc/Swale-FB www.swale.gov.uk

    Inside Swale 5News

    David P ManningHonorary Alderman David P Manning sadly passed away on Tuesday 4 January 2011. David was a Member of Swale Borough Council from 1986 to 1990 and again from 1992 to 2007, when the title of Honorary Alderman was bestowed upon him. He was a Liberal Democrat member for Grove Ward. In more recent years he held the post of Chairman of Iwade Parish Council.

    Mayor of Swale Councillor Steve Worrall and Mayoress Therese Davies said: On behalf of the Members and Offi cers of the Borough Council, we offer our heartfelt sympathies on the sad death of David. His tireless hard work for the community will be sadly missed.

    Root to success for Country ParkOn Sunday 20 February, 78 people turned out and nearly 350 trees were planted at the free tree planting event at Milton Creek Country Park. This event is part of a series of

    activities that will continue as we move ever closer to the summer and the opening of the

    park. Tree planters were also able to sign up to join the Friends of Milton Creek,

    which is a growing group of local people who will help look after the Park as it develops. To join the group please email [email protected] for more information.

    Swale Borough Council encourages recognition of excellent achievements for work carried out throughout the year by its staff and partners. Residents will have the opportunity to nominate staff or partners for a Swale Star Award, which would be presented to the winners in June. Further details of the nomination process will be on the our website from Monday 4 April.

    Recognition of Excellence Awards

  • www.swale.gov.uk http://twitter.com/SwaleCouncil

    6 Inside Swale News

    In March 2009, Swale Borough Council was delighted to announce that it was working closely with the Eastern and Coastal Kent Primary Care Trust (PCT), which gave the Council 40,000 to specifi cally target individuals who need to be more active and who require swimming lessons.

    Swale Borough Council used this money carefully to offer specifi c subsidised swimming programmes across the whole of Swale.

    These have encouraged people to take part in swimming activities who may not have done so before, and have ensured that the Council could provide an initiative that has helped many to learn, many to be more active, and many to be healthier across the whole of Swale.

    The two-year Swim Swale programme will soon be coming to an end. However, as part of the funding supplied by Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT, every child at school will soon receive an additional free family swim voucher that can be used at one of the three superb pools in Swale.

    These vouchers must be used between Tuesday 3 May 2011 and Sunday 17 July 2011.

    We will be contacting all schools in the borough very shortly to organise the distribution of vouchers. Enjoy your free swim!

    If you have not received your voucher by 3 May please contact James Thatcher at Swale Borough Council on 01795 417109.

    Free Swim VoucherFor a free family swim (family of 4 with maximum of 2 adults) at the following times:Faversham Swimming Pool01795 532426122pm Saturday & 13pm SundaySwallows Leisure Centre01795 420420 www.swallowsleisure.com24pm Saturday & 10am12noon SundaySheerness Leisure Complex01795 668652 www.sheppeyleisure.com10am1pm Saturday & 35pm Sunday

    Valid from 3 May 2011to 17 July 2011

    Coming s

    oon!

    Coming s

    oon!

  • http://tiny.cc/Swale-FB www.swale.gov.uk

    Inside Swale 7Creating a cleaner and greener Swale

    Collecting your bins in the snowSwale experienced heavy snowfall on Monday 20 December 2010. This followed closely on the heels of a previous bout of bad weather.

    To deal with this situation is never easy and requires strong partnership working with our contractors Verdant, who run the actual collection activity, and Kent Highways who assess the practicalities of moving around the borough.

    The Council provides waste collections to around 60,000 properties a week, negotiating 2,500 roads for access, using up to ten freighters a day.

    The main issue we face in adverse weather is the unpredictability of how different the weather can be across the borough, making it diffi cult to give residents a truly clear picture of the estimated length of disruption. Some side roads thaw quicker than others too.

    So our clear, consistent message to residents in December was Put your bin out on the correct day and we will get to it as soon as we can. This worked really well.

    We posted updates on our website at www.swale.gov.uk/snow and released the information to local and regional media to pass on to residents and updated our facebook site and twitter feed.

    We appreciate that from time to time as our refuse collection freighters go around the borough they can cause temporary obstruction, but Verdant employees work as quickly and safely (for themselves and the public) as possible to minimise any issues that arise on the highway, so please bear with us.

    We welcome your feedback about how you feel we perform at all times and know that we can improve further. With your feedback we will be even better prepared the next time the snow descends upon our corner of Kent.

    We will work with our partners to improve our services

    Refuse collectors help clear the high street while waiting for the roads thaw.

  • www.swale.gov.uk http://twitter.com/SwaleCouncil

    8 Inside Swale A high-performing organisation

    Kent Landlord Accreditation SchemeBecome an Accredited landlord today! Swale Borough Council will be running one-day training courses at UK Paper Leisure, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne on 01 April and 10 June 2011 at a cost 79.90 per person. To book your place please register at www.londonlandlords.org.uk (if you contact Sharon Russell at Swale Borough Council before booking she will provide you with a promotional code that will entitle you to a discount of 10).

    There are many benefi ts to becoming accredited under the UK Landlord Accreditation Partnership.

    For further information regarding the training events or the Kent Landlord Accreditation Scheme please contact Sharon Russell via email to [email protected] or telephone 01795 417021.

    Staying Put schemesStaying Put aims to help elderly or disabled people to remain living independently in their homes by improving or adapting their property to meet their ongoing needs.

    The service also offers practical help with jobs such as grab rails, changing light bulbs or any other small job that would help prevent a

    fall or accident. In addition it can provide help with the costs of small jobs around the home.

    For more information on the services provided by Staying Put please call 01795 417131 or email [email protected]

    Mayor Cllr. Steve Worrall presents Zoe Ralph with a certifi cate as Swales 100th Accredited Landlord

    Staying Put Handyman fi xing a hand rail for a resident

    Seeking advice at Living in Safety 2011.

  • http://tiny.cc/Swale-FB www.swale.gov.uk

    Inside Swale 9A high-performing organisation

    BLOW THE WHISTLE ONHOUSING CHEATSAs advertised in previous issues of Inside Swale, we are working hard to track down housing cheats to ensure that homes are given to those who are the next in line.

    Your help in reporting housing fraud is important because you can see whats going on in your neighbourhood.

    You might know that somebody has a home the landlord doesnt know about or has given false

    information in their housing application. You might suspect someone of housing fraud having seen them collect rent from your neighbours. You might be suspicious because the tenants of a property keep changing.

    If you suspect someone is a housing cheat, let us know. If you have any information please contact the Housing Options Team on 01795 417511 or email us at [email protected]

    Would you like to get involved in helping to improve the Housing service? We would like your views and ideas on what you need and expect from the Housing Services Team at Swale Borough Council.

    We would like our customers to get more involved in having their say about how we run our services and make valuable contributions to how we can improve.

    Getting involved need not take up a lot of your time. Dont worry if you dont feel confi dent about voicing your opinions in public there are many ways to get involved. If you would like to fi nd out more please contact the Housing Strategy Team by email: [email protected], or phone us on 01795 417348.

    Inside Swale 9on

  • www.swale.gov.uk http://twitter.com/SwaleCouncil

    10 Inside Swale A high-performing organisation

    The Communities Secretary has urged councils to publish online details of spending over 500 to increase openness and accountability.

    Swale Borough Council has therefore teamed up with an external private company to enable complex fi nancial information to be more accessible to the public for scrutiny and comparison. There is now a page on the Councils website that takes users to reports that list the individual payments the Council

    has made to suppliers over 500 from December 2010 onwards. Publication of these lists forms part of Swale Borough Councils commitment to be open, accountable and transparent at all times with its residents.

    All data is provided freely. http://www.swale.gov.uk/transparency-on-spend/

    On Swale Borough Councils website you will now also fi nd documents relating to senior staff salaries and an organisational chart of the Council. More information may be found by searching online for Local Government Transparency Programme. This is consistent with the Information Commissioners guidance that senior public servants should expect a degree of scrutiny of their remuneration arrangements.

    Transparency on spend

  • http://tiny.cc/Swale-FB www.swale.gov.uk

    Inside Swale 11A high-performing organisation

    Councils work together to save moneySwale, Ashford, Maidstone, and Tunbridge Wells councils are saving money and improving their internal audit services by working together.

    A single combined team is now operating across all four councils saving management and administration costs.

    The new partnership has been in place since 01 April 2010 and will save Swale Borough Council in the region of 120,000 over the next fi ve years, as well as providing a more effi cient and effective service.

    This is great news for the Council as we have to save substantial amounts over the next three years. Working with other councils can save money; it makes sense for the councils and in

    this case for our audit team. The councils can draw on expertise from across four councils and our auditors can gain experience of different work at each council.

    Head of the Partnership, Brian Parsons, said: We are cutting down on administration and sharing work to avoid duplication. Using standard IT and developing common procedures, we will make further effi ciencies in the future.

    Internal audit is not confined to the review of just financial processes but has the freedom to review any council activity

    New and would-be guest houses and B&B providers in Swale are invited to a free workshop on Wednesday 23 March to help them build their businesses ahead of increased visitor numbers during the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic games.

    Those attending will learn about starting up and running a B&B or guest house, quality standards and how to join the National Accommodation Quality Assurance Scheme. There will also be chances to talk to Quality in Tourism, Swale Borough Council and the countys tourism champions at Visit Kent.

    The free workshop will be held at The Ferry House Inn, Harty Ferry Road, Sheppey, from 10am to 3.30pm. For more information, or to book a place, call Georga Mannering on 01622 696935, email [email protected]

    Free workshop for new Guest House and B&B businesses

  • www.swale.gov.uk http://twitter.com/SwaleCouncil

    12 Inside Swale A high-performing organisation

    Swale Borough Council has announced that it is freezing the level of Council Tax it sets for the 2011/12 fi nancial year.

    This means that Swale Borough Councils portion of Council Tax remains the same as the 2010/11 fi nancial year.

    As well as our own Council Tax, Swale Borough Council collects on behalf of the other public-serving authorities. Of the collected Council Tax, Kent County Council is allocated 73%, Swale Borough Council 11%, Kent Police Authority 10%, Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority 5% and the Parish Precepts 1%.

    Council Tax freeze announced

    Where your council tax goesParish Precepts - 1%

    Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority - 5%

    Kent Police - 10%

    Swale Borough Council - 11%

    Kent County Council - 73%

    Despite the background of these tough times we will continue our improvement journey

    Swale Borough Council value for money

    1,500,000Expenditure Reductions to match reduced specifi c grant

    1,270,000 Financial savings

    760,000 Management effi ciencies

    230,000 Increased income

    140,000 Partnership working

    140,000 Improved procurement

    4millionof expenditurereductions and increased income havebeen achieved for 2011/12

  • http://tiny.cc/Swale-FB www.swale.gov.uk

    Inside Swale 13In preparing for 2011/12 the Council has taken a root and branch review of how we run ourselves as an organisation. This involves every effort being made to release further effi ciencies for example, through working arrangements with other authorities see audit item on page 11. Together, this means that front line services and grants to community and voluntary sector groups have been largely untouched, despite the signifi cant losses of grants and other means.

    House Band

    Kent CountyCouncil

    Swale Borough Council

    Kent Police Authority

    Kent andMedway Fire and Rescue

    Authority

    TotalCouncil Tax(excluding

    parish precepts)

    A 698.52 106.62 92.45 45.30 942.89B 814.94 124.39 107.86 52.85 1100.04C 931.36 142.16 123.27 60.40 1257.19D 1,047.78 159.93 138.68 67.95 1414.34E 1,280.62 195.47 169.50 83.05 1728.64F 1,513.46 231.01 200.32 98.15 2042.94G 1,746.30 266.55 231.13 113.25 2357.23H 2,095.56 319.86 277.36 135.90 2828.68

    Council Tax 2011/12

    Funding basicsThe local government formula grant settlement announced on 13 December has been referred to as the worst funding settlement for local government since 1945 so what does it mean for the funding the Council receives?Formula GrantThis consists of two elements and the Council can spend this grant on anything we choose. For the fi nancial year 2011/12 we will receive 14% less of the formula grant and then in 2012/13 a further 13% less.Specifi c GrantsThese grants are awarded to us in relation to specifi c activities we undertake. The government has cut this back signifi cantly in order to balance the books. One new grant that will be very important to us will be the New Homes Bonus a way of rewarding councils for supporting the building of new homes.Fees and ChargesIn December the Councils Cabinet members agreed a report reviewing all the different fees and charges for services the Council provides, such as parking or pest control.

    We will work together with our partners and the public to find innovative new ways of delivering high-quality services

  • www.swale.gov.uk http://twitter.com/SwaleCouncil

    14 Inside Swale Regenerating Swale

    The Councils Core Strategy is the most important planning document for Swale. When complete it will set out a vision of the borough up to 2031 and a series of development proposals and policies to achieve it. It will allocate land for new jobs and homes, identify the infrastructure needed to support it and the type of environment that should be safeguarded for future generations.

    The Council consulted widely in January and February on the Issues and Options. The Options we are looking at, at this stage, are the four possible strategies for the way forward for the Borough as a whole.Residents were consulted at local engagement forums and a Question Time style event allowed key stakeholders to debate the issues behind the options.The event was chaired by Abdool Kara, Swale Borough Councils Chief Executive and panellists included Dr Hilary Newport from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Phillip Seabrook of the Swale Youth Forum and Roger House of the Kent and Medway Federation of Small Businesses.Public consultation closed on 14 March. The Council will now consider the representations received and report on the way ahead in the autumn.More details can be found on the Councils website at http://www.swale.gov.uk/pyo/

  • http://tiny.cc/Swale-FB www.swale.gov.uk

    Inside Swale 15Regenerating Swale

    A bright future for Sittingbourne Town Centre

    Regenerating Swale is the Councils number one priority

    Swale Borough Council recently announced the private sector partner with whom it will work to develop Sittingbourne Town Centre.

    The Council will now negotiate a Development Agreement with the Spirit of Sittingbourne consortium, which consists of property consultants Essential Land, property developers Cathedral Group, and fi nancial fund managers Altyon.

    The selection process has been a rigorous one, carried out by the Council and its professional advisers over the last six months. The interview panel were unanimous that Spirit of Sittingbournes approach to the town centre was the one most likely to achieve long-term regeneration in the way that the Council wants.

    Planning applications surrounding the town centre such as the one from Tesco for land north of the railway will continue to be processed in the usual way. We will keep you updated as further progress is made.

  • www.swale.gov.uk http://twitter.com/SwaleCouncil

    16 Inside Swale Regenerating Swale

    The new Gateway, which will open in the Summer of 2011, will build its services around its customers needs and will provide easily accessible customer service facilities all under one roof. The Gateway will be situated in the old Woolworths building on Sheerness High Street. Swale Borough Council is contributing 25% and our Gateway partner, Kent County Council, is contributing 75% of the capital cost of this project. The Gateway is key to the ambitious plans to regenerate Sheerness town centre.

    Building works are currently being undertaken to make the building fi t for purpose and more energy effi cient. The walls and the roof will soon be fully insulated and

    the windows will be replaced with more effi cient double glazed units. Kent County Council will soon be choosing the contractor to carry out the majority of the works to transform the building into the Gateway. There are many Gateways in Kent and the evidence from other towns is that they increase the number of people visiting town centres. The services on offer will include a Library, Adult Education, Registry Offi ce, Adult Social Services, Skills Plus and Swale Borough Councils Sheerness District Offi ce. Talks with other possible service providers are occurring and we will continue to keep you updated on the range of services that will be available. You can fi nd out, fi rst hand, about customers experiences by viewing Youtube, see http://www.youtube.com/user/SwaleCouncil?feature=mhsn And, you can view our website to keep up to date with the buildings progress: http://www.swale.gov.uk/sheerness-gateway/.

    A listing of questions and answers about the Gateway is being developed and will shortly be available on the council website. In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact Modupe Dosunmu, Sheerness Gateway Project Offi cer, by telephone 01795 417518, on her mobile 07827 957613 or by email [email protected]

    Sheerness Gateway - making progress

  • http://tiny.cc/Swale-FB www.swale.gov.uk

    Voices of LeysdownSixteen Pupils from the Isle of Sheppey Academy took part in a fi ve-week programme of workshops with professional documentary photographer Ed Thompson.

    Students from the Abbey School enjoyed an introduction to Eds work and went on two fi eld trips to Leysdown Village centre. The students took portraits of locals and the edited photographs, which will provide a social document of Leysdown and the people who live and work there.

    The workshops are part of Voices of Leysdown, a project workshop programme spanning generations that uses storytelling, writing, image, sound recording and interviewing to work with the community in Leysdown to explore their perceptions and recollections of the village.

    The students work will also be featured on a new website www.voicesofl eysdown.co.uk due to be launched in the summer of 2011.

    Voices of Leysdown is part of Leysdown Rose-Tinted, which aims to transform Leysdown by reinvigorating it through art, by working with people who live, work and visit there. There will be more events over the next few months.

    Voices of Leysdown is supported by Swale Borough Council, Swale Council for Voluntary Services and Kent County Council.

    Students from the Isle of Sheppey Academy taking photographs in the Coffee Pot, Leysdown

    Students from the Isle of Sheppey Academy taking portraits in Leysdown

    Inside Swale 17Regenerating Swale

    Rushenden Retrofit works partner announcedSwale Borough Council has announced it has agreed to award the works contract for Phase One of the Rushenden Retrofi t programme to Kent-based contractor Apollo Property Services.

    The programme is a partnership between Swale Borough Council, AmicusHorizon, Scottish and Southern Energy and The Homes and Communities Agency. It focuses on regeneration work in Queenborough and Rushenden and applies a green approach, aiming to achieve carbon savings and lower fuel bills for households.

    The Council is directly responsible for Phase One of the programme which will deliver initial retrofi t measures to a minimum of 65 private sector homes.

    Work will start in March.

  • www.swale.gov.uk http://twitter.com/SwaleCouncil

    18 Inside Swale News from Medway Maritime Hospital

    A new look onlineThe next time you log onto Medway NHS Foundation Trusts website you might notice some changes.

    As a result of feedback the Trust received about the website from patients, visitors and staff, its been completely re-vamped and condensed; making it much more user friendly and ensures that all the information you need is easily accessible.

    Take a look for yourself at:www.medway.nhs.uk

    Bringing the WOW! factor at MedwayWe want everyone to receive outstanding care and to help support this we are asking patients and visitors to tell us when they have had an excellent experience at Medway Maritime Hospital. To enable this, we have launched a new staff awards initiative called The WOW! Awards. We believe its important to identify and reward those individual members of staff or teams who deliver excellent patient experience because this can help to raise our standards further across the entire organisation.

    The WOW! Awards is a not-for-profi t team that helps organisations benefi t from outstanding customer service by making it easier for our patients to tell us when our staff are doing a great job. This gives staff the recognition they deserve and inspires them and other colleagues to deliver a fantastic service all the time.

    We are aiming even higher to improve the experience patients have when

    they come to hospital whether as a patient or visitor and wed like you to tell us when youve had an excellent experience said Jacqueline McKenna, Director of Nursing.

    Excellent patient experience has always been extremely important to us. Over the last two years, we have been doing lots of work to protect further the privacy and dignity of our patients and to improve our facilities, environments and care, but we realise there is more that we could and should do to improve. Throughout this year we will be working on a number of patient experience activities to do just that.

    How to nominatePatients and visitors can pick up a nomination form from around the hospital or alternatively, you can nominate easily via our website. Nominations are reviewed on a monthly basis by WOW! and hand signed certifi cates are issued to winners.

  • http://tiny.cc/Swale-FB www.swale.gov.uk

    After another long, hard winter, spring is fi nally here but for many, unfortunately, the new season brings the misery of hay fever. Although most cases of hay fever can be treated by going to the pharmacy or, if symptoms are severe, a GP, some of the more extreme cases are referred by GPs to Medway Maritime Hospitals allergy clinic which is the only one of its kind in Kent.

    Hay fever occurs because the persons immune system is extremely sensitive to pollen, most commonly, grass pollen says Julie Millest, Allergy Nurse Specialist at Medway NHS Foundation Trust. When a hay fever sufferer inhales pollen, their body overacts, leading to symptoms such as itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing and wheezing. For some people these symptoms can be so severe that they affect everyday life like sleeping, sitting exams or enjoying outdoor summer activities with family. And for those who are allergic to tree pollen, symptoms can start as early as February or March with June and July being the peak period for those allergic to grass pollen.

    Fortunately for most, hay fever can be controlled and if symptoms are mild to moderate, there are some things that sufferers can do to help themselves says Julie. Start hay fever medication prior to the pollen season and take it continuously throughout the summer; avoid being outside in the early morning and evening when the pollen count is

    highest; wear sunglasses to prevent eye irritation; keep windows closed late afternoon when the pollen count rises; and drive with your car windows closed. All these tips can help prevent or minimise symptoms.

    Antihistamines and nasal sprays are effective to relieve symptoms for the majority of people, but where reactions are extreme a GP may refer the patient to the allergy clinic to be considered for a treatment called immunotherapy. Traditionally done by subcutaneous injections (an injection given in the fatty layer of tissue under the skin), grass pollen immunotherapy is now available as a sublingual (under the tongue) tablet. With both the injection and tablet treatments taking three years to complete, this long-term treatment helps reduce the bodys reaction to pollen. It contains a small amount of the pollen the person is allergic to, helping the body to overcome the allergy by gradually allowing the immune system to react to it more normally.

    Hay fever is a common condition that affects around 20% of people in the UK, and it is more likely if there is a family history of allergies, particularly asthma or eczema.

    Dont let hay fever get you down

  • www.swale.gov.uk http://twitter.com/SwaleCouncil

    20 Inside Swale A safer and stronger community

    Help keep your community safe from fireKent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is appealing to Swale residents to look out for vulnerable and elderly friends, neighbours and relatives and to be aware of the danger signs that can lead to fi re.

    It only takes two to three breaths of toxic smoke from a fi re to fall unconscious and, sadly, residents who are elderly, disabled or on medication are more likely to be killed or injured. Factors such as living alone, physical or mental health issues, as well as

    lifestyle choices, like drinking alcohol and smoking, make people more vulnerable.

    If you know someone who needs help to keep safe you can put them in touch with KFRS. A community safety offi cer can visit, if needed, and offer free fi re prevention advice including information on safety devices for the visually and hearing impaired.

    For further information contact KFRS on 0800 923 7000 or visit www.kent.fi re-uk.org

    Partnership bike marking a wheel success!Swales Community Safety Partnership hailed Januarys bike marking days a great success after helping nearly 100 families security mark their bikes and valuables.

    Local Neighbourhood teams joined forces with Community Safety Unit volunteers to help bike owners in Teynham and Sittingbourne mark their

    cycles with their house number and postcode using special UV marker pens. They were also issued general crime prevention advice and encouraged to register their valuables on the police recommended National Property Database www.immobilise.com

    PC Mike Kingwell, of the Faversham Neighbourhood Policing team, said: By marking your bike with your postcode and house number it makes it easier to trace, which makes it far less attractive to thieves.

    Swaledays a their b

    Local Neigvoluntee

    cyclm

    NO Use Empty CampaignHelp us tackle Empty Properties in your area! Empty properties are a nuisance to look at but also encourage antisocial behaviour in your neighbourhood.

    To report an empty property please contact Brian George on 01795 417232 or Sharon Russell on 01795 417021.

  • http://tiny.cc/Swale-FB www.swale.gov.uk

    Inside Swale 21

    Thanks to Chalkwell, Swale Borough Council street wardens have been able to get about the borough in a quicker, easier and greener way.Chalkwell kindly gave bus passes to the Councils six street wardens so that they could travel around Swale and go about their daily work without always having to use the wardens van. This will help the Council to reduce its carbon footprint.It also enabled the wardens to be an even more visible presence, chatting to interested passengers about their concerns regarding littering and fl ytipping and they can also educate people about the consequences of such actions.This helped the wardens to go about their important work of education and enforcement and addressing antisocial behaviour creating a safer and stronger environment.It costs the Council money to clear up after fl ytippers. You can report incidents of fl ytipping to us on 01795 417850.

    Street Wardens on the buses

    This is another example of the Council working together with local businesses.

    A safer and stronger community

  • www.swale.gov.uk http://twitter.com/SwaleCouncil

    Remember to register to vote for the 5 May elections.See page 3.

    Have you ever wondered how decisions are made? You can come along to most of the councils meetings to listen to the debates and see the decision-making process in action.

    You can also give your views at the Planning Committee, Licensing Committee and Swale Joint Transportation Board meetings, or ask a question at Council meetings. But please contact Democratic Services fi rst to register, as certain rules apply in the public participation scheme.

    You may also wish to submit a petition or e-petition to the Council in accordance with the Councils petition scheme.

    For meeting details visit: www2.swale.gov.uk/dso or phone 01795 417330

    To fi nd out which ward you are in and who is your Swale Borough Councillor visit:www2.swale.gov.uk/dso/search.asp

    Key Conservative Labour Liberal Democrats Independent

    22 Inside Swale Your Councillors

    Ward CouncillorAbbey Bryan MulhernAnita WalkerBorden Nicholas HampshireBoughton & Courtenay

    George BobbinAndrew Bowles

    Chalkwell Roger TrueloveGhlin WhelanDavington Priory Mike HendersonEast Downs Colin PrescottGrove Duncan Dewar-WhalleyGareth RandallHartlip, Newington& Upchurch

    Gerry LewinJohn Wright

    Iwade & Lower Halstow Ben StokesKemsley Sue GentBrenda SimpsonLeysdown & Warden Patricia SandleMilton Regis Elvina LoweAdam Tolhurst

    Minster CliffsAndy BoothAdrian CrowtherKenneth Pugh

    Murston Dave BanksEd GentQueenborough &Halfway

    Jackie ConstableMick ConstableRichard Darby

    Roman Lloyd BowenMike HaywoodSheerness East Chris FouldsDavid SargentSheerness West Angela HarrisonStephen Worrall

    Sheppey CentralLesley InghamJohn MorrisPaul Sturdgess

    St. Anns Mark BaldockMike CosgroveSt. Michaels Derek ConwayNick WilliamsTeynham & Lynsted Richard BarnicottTrevor FentimanWatling Ted WilcoxDavid SimmonsWest Downs Monique BonneyWoodstock Alan WillicombeJean Willicombe

  • Inside Swale 23

    http://tiny.cc/Swale-FB www.swale.gov.uk

    Phone Email01795 53849801795 531192 [email protected] 477560 (eve) or 07739 108756 [email protected] 751388 [email protected] 752840 or 07778 629879 [email protected] 425445 [email protected] 475629 [email protected] 534368 or 07900 265337 [email protected] 590054 [email protected] 808871 [email protected] 474802 [email protected] 366113 [email protected] 842852 [email protected] 47697901795 55390001795 599603 [email protected] 510400 [email protected] 471792 [email protected] 475888 [email protected] 880444 [email protected] 874418 [email protected] 871388 [email protected] 422552 [email protected] 289190 [email protected] 66523801795 66523801795 664330 [email protected] 522357 [email protected] 173264 [email protected] 667536 [email protected] 664914 [email protected] 665029 [email protected] 66558901795 881123 or 07719 255064 [email protected] 881102 [email protected] 821859 or 01795 872617 [email protected] 530192 or 07891 815022 [email protected] 591790 [email protected] 424865 or 07789 072677 [email protected] 479835 [email protected] 536177 [email protected] 531512 or 07898 865131 [email protected] 533004 [email protected] 532100 [email protected] 443527 [email protected] 439680 [email protected] 439680 [email protected]

  • Acknowledgement: Shop Local First is a scheme originally created by Thanet District Council.

    Great local offers for you!

    Look out for

    Shop Local First window stickers in your shops!

    For more information visit www.swale.gov.uk/shoplocal or contact Jill Read on 01795 417592email: [email protected] Martin Goodhew on 01795 585621email: [email protected]

    ...have you got yours yet?

    Shop Local First

    Incentive Card

    www.swale.gov.uk/sh

    oplocal