NEWS AND EVENTS
SMIRA Residents Meeting - 24 September 2023
The next SMIRA Residents meeting will take place on Sunday 24 September 2023 commencing at 10.30 am in the Community Centre.
The current agenda is as follows:
Minutes of Last Meeting
Stakeholder Q&A - CMT
Stakeholder Q&A - Medway Council
Stakeholder Q&A - PCSO Angela Saunders
Stakeholder Q&A - Maritime Health Partnership
Any Other Business
If you have questions for any of our Stakeholders, please send them to email@example.com by 6pm on Friday 15 September 2023 in order for them to be forwarded to the relevant parties, and provide them with time to have answers ready for the Residents' meeting
Dragon Boat Race 2023 - SMIRA entry
SMIRA are co-sponsoring a boat, as we did in 2022 for the charity boat race on Sunday 28 May 2023! We have spaces in the boat for residents to take place this year too, no rowing experience needed, all swimming abilities and non-swimmers welcome (no-one has fallen in yet and everyone has to wear a life vest) over 14's only, places are free. If you want to take part and be in the team, please contact us. Happy rowing all, fingers crossed for sunshire!
My Community Voice
Many residents have joined My Community Voice to keep up to date with the work their local policing teams do and connect with them through a messaging service. It has been brilliant to see residents actively promoting it via the SMIRA official Facebook page.
The Island Speedwatch group continue their efforts to reduce speeding on the Island. In late May, 25 people were recorded driving over 35mph over the bridge onto St Marys Island with the highest speed being 53mph.
Residents are asked to please slow down, the speed limit is 30mph all around the Island.
Members of Speedwatch volunteer as they feel strongly about the speed in which vehicles travel and the safety of residents.
This issue continues to be a focus at each SMIRA Residents’ meeting.
SMIRA provided all residents with the latest dates for Police surgeries being held in May and June 2022 by PCSO Ellie Cox. The next surgery will be held at the Sunlight Centre in Gillingham on 10 June between 10am-12 noon.
PCSO monthly reports
SMIRA continues to provide updates from PCSO Saunders on a monthly basis. Please see the official SMIRA Facebook Page for all reports.
CMT Food and Drink Festival 2022
SMIRA is pleased to announce that it is teaming up with Chatham Maritime Trust to take part in this years' Dragon Boat challenge taking place at Basin 2 Chatham Maritime on Sunday 5th June.
The challenge helps to support Medway Sunlight Rotary Club, as well as a charity of our choice. If anyone would like to suggest a local charity, please get in touch via email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Maritime Health Partnership (MHP)
From 11th April 2022, MHP updated their mailbox addresses:
email@example.com (for General Enquiries)
firstname.lastname@example.org (for Prescriptions)
email@example.com (for Insurance Reports or SARs)
firstname.lastname@example.org (for Referral updates)
email@example.com (for Care Home related items)
firstname.lastname@example.org (for Complaints)
email@example.com (for Finance related queries)
SMIRA launched its first hybrid residents meeting held on 25 April in the Community Centre and via Zoom. Thanks to CMT for providing the technology required to help us stay engaged with residents.
Updates from Councillor Habib Tejan
SMIRA continued to work closely with Cllr. Tejan to keep residents informed on progress of the Medway City Estate works which ran over the scheduled time. In addition, Cllr. Tejan has remained engaged with the local community and joins the SMIRA Residents meetings to ensure issues and concerns are addressed.
Kent Police Update - Schools Officers
Kent Police now has a schools based team who predominantly work in secondary schools.
The local secondary schools officer for the Rochester and Chatham area is PC Paul Dearing, he covers the following schools:
Holcombe Grammar School
The Thomas Aveling School
He also covers The Waterfront UTC in Gillingham
The local secondary schools officer for the Chatham area is PC Corrin Parker, she covers the following schools:
St. John Fisher Catholic School
The Victory Academy
Fort Pitt Grammar School
She also covers the GFC school in Gillingham
The local secondary schools officer for the Rochester area is PC Dominic Nelson, he covers the following schools:
Sir Joseph Williamsons Mathematical School
The Rochester Grammar School
Blue Skies School
Medway Green School
The local secondary schools officer for the Gillingham area is PC Rhys Williams, he covers the following schools:
Chatham Girls Grammar School
The Will Adams Centre
One of our residents is a Trustee of the Streetcops Trust, which offers funding to organisations based in the Medway area whose activities help to prevent people becoming either involved in crime or victims of crime.
Please visit the Streetcops Facebook page and message Streetcops to obtain an application form if you run a local organisation that may qualify. Preferably a local Police Officer or PCSO should be involved in the application to enable them to remain involved in the communities they serve. However, this is not essential if your project / group can contribute to a Safer, Stronger community. Angela Saunders and Jody Coxon, our local PCSOs are familiar with the work of the Streetcops Trust. https://www.facebook.com/streetcopstrust
Queen's Jubilee street parties
At the SMIRA residents meeting on 21 February 2022 , residents asked Cllr Habib Tejan whether the cost of applying for a permit to hold a street party during the Queens Jubilee celebrations could be waivered by Medway Council as the cost was £100 per application.
Cllr Habib Tejan has responded with the following response:
With regards to the question regarding the Queen Platinum Jubilee, please note that for street parties between 2 June and 5 June 2022, residents can apply to close a road on one day free of charge.
The fees for a road closure, have been waivered for this occasion only, however, please refer to : https://www.medway.gov.uk/streetpartiesfor further guidance on this matter.
Please kindly review all instructions and submit your form to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please quote reference number 22/20 in all correspondence.
Update from Maritime Health Partnership
Maritime Health Partnership have shared the upcoming FLU and COVID Vaccination Clinic days and times.
14.12.2021 St Mary’s Island Surgery - 9am-10am
17.12.2021 St Mary’s Medical Centre – 4pm-5pm
20.12.2021 St Mary’s Island Surgery - 4pm-5pm
29.12.2021 Pentagon Surgery Boots - 4pm-5pm
Saturday 11/12/2021:8am-1pm & 2pm-6pm St Mary’s Medical Centre
Sunday 12/12/2021:9am-1pm & 2pm-5pm St Mary’s Medical Centre
Tuesday 14/12/2021: 8am-2pm St Mary’s Medical Centre
Wednesday 15/12/2021: 1pm-7pm St Mary’s Medical Centre
Thursday 16/12/2021: 8am-2pm St Mary’s Medical Centre
Both sessions are by appointment, however, patients registered to Maritime Health Partnership are also eligible to walk in on the day.
Those that would rather have a dedicated appointment are welcome to contact the surgery and book in.
My Community Voice
PCSO Angela Saunders informed all residents of a new initiative called 'My Community Voice'. My Community Voice was set up to allow local residents and businesses to gain insight into the work their local policing teams do, and enables residents to connect with their local police teams through a messaging service.
Residents who would like to sign up for this can do so via this link https://www.mycommunityvoicekent.co.uk/
SMIRA has signed up and will keep residents informed of any key information.
St. Mary's Island Surgery Update
Maritime Health Partnership have been awarded the contract to provide primary care services for St Mary's Island Surgery. Their website https://www.maritimehealth.co.uk/ provides key information for residents such as the new surgery telephone number. Please follow the link above for further information.
The transition period is still ongoing but residents are now able to call and book an appointment at the surgery. Please be aware that the Livi App previously advertised by Medway Practices Alliance is no longer free to use.
SMIRA will keep residents informed of any updates.
Crime updates continue to be shared with residents on the official SMIRA Facebook page. The latest update in November focussed on managing incidents occurring in the river working closely with the Coastguards and CMT. PCSO Saunders noted that it is not permitted to swim from the banks of Chatham Maritime Trusts land. In addition the PCSO has been working hard to address shoplifting at Dockside, working closely with security officers. Finally, PCSO Saunders has been working with MOAT housing to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Work with Chatham Maritime Trust
This year, our Directors; Chris Reynolds and Mona Koshkouie, have taken their position as Trustees of the Chatham Maritime Trust very seriously, and have raised many issues on behalf of the residents during the CMT Trustee meetings. Road and pathway maintenance and security have been two of the many areas covered, as well as them being very involved in trying to protect the residents' voting rights on the CMT Board with proposals currently being tabled to reduce our influence on decisions the Trustees make.
SMIRA have been involved in the review of the proposed development of the Chatham Docks with both interested parties making presentations to the residents. SMIRA conducted a poll to gauge the feelings of the residents which was in favour of saving the Chatham Docks and preserving the jobs of the workers employed on the site. Presentations were made to Kelly Tolhurst MP and she has pledged to assist as much as she can in her role as local MP. Kelly has also agreed to come along to future residents' meetings when her diary allows.
The Living River Foundation
The Foundation continues to work hard to keep our Marian clean and litter free. They continue to look for volunteers to help. Please visit http://living-river.org/events for more information on how to volunteer.
Succession Planning for SMIRA
The success of SMIRA and sustainability of its work with key stakeholders on behalf of the Residents’ of the Island is dependant on volunteers. We would love for you to get involved either as a Sector Rep, a Board member, or if you have an idea which will support our Community. Please get in touch via email at email@example.com.
SMIRA Priorities for 2022
SMIRA want to hear from Residents’ and their top priorities for 2022. Please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you would like the SMIRA Board to take forward as part of their work in 2022.
The SMIRA Board is working to take this initiative forward, and has recently met with PCSO Angela Saunders who has put SMIRA in contact with the Neighbourhood Watch Officer at Medway Police Station. In the interim, SMIRA will continue to keep Residents’ up to date with key information and advice provided to us by National Neighbourhood Watch.
The Speedwatch group supported by Residents', Speedwatch and Carl Davies from Chatham Maritime Trust met recently to prepare for the re-start of this effort to keep our Island safe.
As always, these initiatives rely on volunteers to be a success. If anyone is interested in volunteering to assist the group in their speed checks on and around the island, or would like more information about this initiative, please contact Carl Davies - email@example.com.
Polite reminder from CMT
As COVID restrictions begin to lift and we begin to meet with friends and family again, more of us will want to host gatherings in our homes and enjoy the sunshine.
A polite reminder to respect our neighbours and be mindful to turn off music at a respectable hour, and limit the noise which may disturb others.
Chatham Maritime Trust (CMT) planned review of covenants
Notice to all residents that CMT will shortly be announcing their plans to review compliance with the covenants. All enquiries should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medway Practices Alliance (MPA Update)
MPA continues to increase appointment capacity to meet rising demand.
MPA initially commissioned 300 hundred additional appointments per week from “Livi” who will provide digital care from 29th June. The capacity of Livi appointments will be reviewed on a monthly basis and will be increased as and when required. This additional capacity will support a peak in demand, as the Livi capacity can be increased within twenty-four hours.
Livi enables patients to have a consultation with a GP by video on their mobile or tablet seven days a week. Patients are able to organise a consultation on the same day or book up to seven days in advance.
Livi GPs are able to offer medical advice, prescriptions and referrals to a specialist if necessary. This service has full access to patients’ notes so they are aware of the previous medical history, prescriptions and allergies etc.
Patients requiring COVID vaccinations who wish to be seen at the clinics operated by Medway Central Primary Care Network can now book appointments on the national booking service online or via 119.
Letter from Kent & Medway CCG
A letter was sent to all registered patients of the Island Surgery regarding the latest update on the future provision of services.
Residents are asked to read this letter and to write to the CCG if they have any views or comments to make. Our contacts at the CCG are very keen from as many people as possible.
SMIRA are in need of some eye-catching artwork for the noticeboards on our lovely island.
You can paint, sketch, create a collage....... (the possibilities are up to your imagination!) to create an A4 sized poster with the subject of “WE LOVE OUR ISLAND”
There is a £10.00 high street voucher for the winning design in each of the following categories: ages 11 and under, ages 11-16 and, 17+. The winning designs will be featured on our website, Facebook page, as well as the all-important island noticeboards.
To enter: send a scan or photo of your design, along with your name and age to: email@example.com. Remember to keep your original artwork in case you win, as we'll need it for the noticeboard!
Closing date for entries: 30th June 2021
Winners will be announced by 31st July 2021
Water sports Centre reopening
The Chatham Martime Water sports Centre reopened at the start of April – please visit https://www.cmtrust.co.uk/play/water-sports/ for more information on how to book and what’s going on.
Covid-19 Vaccination Updates
Please see below, the question and answer session with Dr Julian Spinks, Medical Director at Medway Practices Alliance, on resident’s queries with the covid-19 vaccination programme.
Q) How frequently will the surgery provide updates on the progress or changes with the vaccination programme?
A) Updates will be provided as things change. Sometimes this can be at short notice. We will communicate with patients using the surgery website and also share relevant updates with SMIRA to share with residents as appropriate.
Q) How are those eligible for a vaccine being identified?
A) Most of the groups are based on age early in the process and this is an easy and robust search. When it gets on to at-risk groups, such as those who are shielding, a lot of work was done early last year to ensure these were identified and there are nationally mandated searches to re-identify them. The practice has been working on data quality as part of our recovery programme and have been working with a company called Clinical Analytics who use sophisticated systems to look for un-coded at-risk patients. As a result I feel that the risk of people being missed is much lower than 6 months ago.
Q)Does eligibility include identifying front line workers?
A) The group where data may not be complete is the frontline workers, but these individuals should be hearing of the vaccination plan via their employers.
Q) How is the vaccination programme being organised in our area?
A) The vaccinations are currently being organised via the Central Medway Primary Care Group. After proposing several vaccination sites to the CCG/NHS England, it appears that the site will be at St Mary’s Practice , Strood (NB Not St Mary’s Island) . This was because none of the practices our side of the river was felt to have suitable space for the Pfizer Vaccine, which carries with it considerable complexity.. Unfortunately the national requirement is for a single centre with no ability to change this or for patients to have a choice. Whether this will change as the Oxford vaccine is rolled out remains to be seen but any attempt to move outside the national standard operating procedures has been firmly rebuffed until now.
Q) If the situation changes and the surgery is able to offer covid-19 vaccinations, how will patients/residents be contacted?
A) The current proposal is to contact patients by using an SMS-based system as the primary route but with telephone, email and post as a back-up. We need to use a quick method because the booking (and cancellation) of appointments is likely to be at short notice at first. Appointments will not be booked by the practice on-demand as we are required to work through the groups in strict order and need to ensure a good match between the numbers of vaccines and appointments.
Q) Have vaccinations started in our area and how many have been vaccinated if so?
A) The GP vaccine centres have been rolled out in waves across the UK and no vaccinations have happened in our area.
Annual General Meeting 2020
The SMIRA AGM will be held on 27 November 2020 at 19h30 via Zoom. Please see the meeting page for up to date information.
The minutes for last year's AGM as well as information on SMIRA accounts and voting for new SMIRA board members is in an 8 page booklet that has been put into all post boxes on St Mary's Island, or you can click on the image below to see an electronic copy. A copy has also been posted up on the Central Walk notice board.
Update on St Mary's Island Surgery -
Termination of primary care contracts
Further information can be found here
On Wednesday, 5 August 2020, NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and DMC Healthcare agreed to mutually terminate three primary care contracts, meaning DMC Healthcare will no longer be the provider for the surgeries concerned from Wednesday, 2 September 2020.
The surgeries are: St Werburgh Medical Practice, Hoo, and its branch surgeries in Lower Stoke and Yellow Suite at Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre; St Mary’s Island Surgery, Chatham, and its branch surgeries at Green Suite at Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre, Twydall, the Pentagon Centre and the Sunlight Centre Surgery; and Kings Family Practice, Chatham.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) took urgent enforcement action at both St Werburgh Medical Practice and St Mary’s Island Surgery, which also applied to the relevant branch surgeries. Temporary provider Medway Practices Alliance (MPA) is currently running these surgeries with support from the CCG.
Patients can still call their usual surgery to access appointments and prescriptions. They do not need to find a new GP or take any other action.
Wilf Williams, Accountable Officer at NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with DMC Healthcare which is in the best interest of our patients. There will now be a handover period between DMC and MPA, the temporary provider, although much of this work is already in progress. A similar caretaking arrangement will also be put in place at Kings Family Practice.
“We can now move on to securing a long-term future for these surgeries that will provide patients with high quality, sustainable healthcare. We will begin to talk to other local GPs to find a solution and will be engaging with patients and other stakeholders in due course.
“Patients will continue to be cared for by the temporary provider until a long-term solution is in place so they can call their usual surgery to access services.”
CMT statement on SMI play areas
As residents will be aware, all the publicly owned play areas across Medway are now open to the public. Since the Government provided further guidance on opening and operation / maintenance, the Trust has been reviewing the guidance and working through the implications of opening the 3 play areas. Unfortunately the guidance is particularly onerous for private owned play areas compared to the fairly relaxed guidance for publicly owned ones. This has meant that the Trust has had to look at putting safety and security measures in place in addition to those required for public play areas, resulting in the delay in opening the SMI play areas.
The Trust has received many enquiries on the issue. We wish to assure residents that it is our intention to open the play areas as soon as it is practically possible once we are able to make the necessary provisions to ensure that we adhere to the Government guidance imposed upon us. We would ask residents for their patience while the Trust’s Estates Team completes the safety/security review and implementation process. We hope to confirm next week the opening date and necessary restrictions and control measures that will be put into place.
CMT notice on Medway Council and cleaning of SMI adopted roads
After months of working with the Council we have finally received a schedule of works from them for road and path cleaning on St Mary’s island. Tomorrow the Council’s contractors should be on site to do a street clean of all adopted roads and paths and this should be repeated every two weeks going forward.
Please could we ask where possible if vehicles are parked on roads or pavements where there is a build up of detritus or weeds that the areas are left open so that the Council can have access to give them a good clean.
Your assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Chatham Maritime Trust
Update on DMC Healthcare
Wilf Williams, Accountable Officer at NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We are aware that DMC Healthcare has issued a statement explaining they are handing back contracts for both primary care and dermatology services. This is a complex process and although we are in negotiations with DMC, an agreement has not yet been reached.
“As always, our priority is to ensure continuity of care for our patients. We have put temporary providers in place for all the services affected and patients do not need to take any action.”
We have set up a helpline for patients affected by the suspension of DMC Healthcare dermatology services in north and east Kent. The helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. The number to call and more information about the helpline is here.
Have your say on Medway's ward boundaries
The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking local people for their help to draw up a new pattern of council wards for Medway Council.
The consultation is the first part of an electoral review which will re-draw ward boundaries across Medway.
The Commission has also announced that Medway Council should have 59 councillors in future: four more than the current arrangements.
In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for voters in council elections so that each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters. The review also aims to ensure that the new council wards reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of communities across Medway.
More information can be found on Medway Council's website:
New date for Medway Food Festival
It’s tremendously disappointing to let you know that this year’s Chatham Maritime Food & Drink Festival will not take place due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation.
We have been monitoring developments closely ever since the lockdown and it has now become clear that with ongong social restrictions, the health concerns of organisers, traders and visitors and the risk associated with large gatherings, it was going to be impossible to organise, prepare for and run the event this year.
We’re already working on plans to make the 2021 event bigger and better than ever, so please keep in touch via social media and save the date for May 2021.
New dates: 29 - 31.05.2021
Road resurface works at Samphire Way
22 - 27 June 2020
Medway Council will shortly be commencing road works on Samphire Way as per the letter received by residents of Samphire Way.
SMIRA and CMT have discussed how CMT can provide support during this time to reduce the impact on residents. As part of CMT's ongoing commitment to residents, they have made arrangements for affected residents to park all day at the SMI Community Centre car park for the duration of the works.
Dean Marsh, CMT's Contract & Procurement Facility Manager said; "We are hoping this will help reduce some of the pressure that residents face, of not being able to park outside their homes, during this time".
SMI Neighbourhood Watch
As part of the 2020 work programme, SMIRA has been developing proposals in conjunction with Chatham Maritime Trust (CMT) for a SMI wide Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
As always SMIRA value resident voice and will be shortly publishing its proposals for residents feedback before delivery.
One Island, One Community, One Voice
Countryside recommencing work on St Mary’s Island
You may be aware that Countryside Properties, has over the last couple of weeks, started to remobilising their Construction sites, albeit with new health and safety procedures in place to manage the Covid-19 situation.
At the end of last week St Mary’s Island was given clearance to recommence construction. This week Site will look to recommence with the remaining, outstanding piling within Sector 15. The majority of piling remaining is in the western portion of this sector adjacent to the River Medway. This work will take approximately 3 weeks to complete.
Play Parks on St Mary's Island Closed from Monday 23.3.2020
Message from Chatham Maritime Trust
The play parks on St Mary’s Island have been monitored by CCTV over the weekend to see how these are being used by the public. It is clear that social distancing rules are not being observed within the play parks. Furthermore, we consider that risks of potentially spreading the virus are increased by the use of the play equipment as children use the equipment, as the hard surfaces of the equipment cannot be maintained as clean due to constant usage.
The decision has therefore been taken to close the play parks as of today. Signage will be displayed on the entrances to each park confirming the reasons behind the closure.
COVID-19: Flexible Payment Arrangements for Annual Rent Charge
At this difficult time for everyone dealing with COVID-19, SMIRA has been working with CMT to find ways to address the impact on resident income over the coming weeks and months.
CMT have agreed for this year that they will offer up to ten months to pay the annual rent charge for any resident facing financial difficulties.
Anthony Sutton, CMT Chair, says: ‘It is important that the Trust supports all residents who pay the annual rent charge by offering more flexible payment arrangements.’
Both SMIRA and CMT hope this will help residents in the short term.
Please contact CMT on 01634 891888 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Easter Egg Hunt, SMIRA Meetings and Resident Drop Ins cancelled until the end of April at the Earliest
The SMIRA Board has carefully considered the ongoing situation with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the impact it may have particularly on our community. The Government is predicting the situation will get much worse over the coming weeks and is increasing the actions we need to take.
The Board has therefore taken the unfortunate decision to cancel this years Easter Egg Hunt, all resident drop ins and formal resident meetings until the end of April at the earliest. The Board will of course monitor the situation and decide on future meetings nearer the time.
Chris Reynolds - SMIRA Chair
March community events by Litter Free Maritime
and Living River Foundation
28th March, 9:30am at Central Point, St Mary's Island - Litter Free Maritime Community Clean Up. Please register on Facebook or on our website:
23rd March. 13:00, St Mary's Island - The Primary School of St Mary's Island is organising a clean-up. If you are one of the parents or simply just happy to help out and have a valid DBS check, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Any day of the week commencing 16th March - Year 3 pupils at Elaine Primary School are initiating a clean-up in the Chatham area (exact location to be confirmed). Again, if you are one of the parents or just happy to help out and have a valid DBS check, we would love to hear from you.
SMIRA update on parking consultation
The SMIRA Board is very disappointed that the new consultation undertaken by Medway Council and supported by local Councillors was launched online without prior notice to either SMIRA or by writing to residents first.
As always, SMIRA encourages resident voice and urges all residents to complete the consultation using the following link: https://www.medway.gov.uk/…/st_marys_island_controlled_park…
It is important residents have their say and SMIRA will use all its website, social media, notice boards and email to ensure its members are made aware of the consultation.
The deadline for the consultation is 31st December 2019.
To write directly to our ward councillors please use the following:
Cllr Habib Tejan
Cllr Piers Thompson
Annual Planting Day
Time for the annual planting day on the island. Residents were invited to help Chatham Maritime Trust and Gavin Jones plant the bulbs for spring next year. Thank you to all the residents that came to help!
On the same day, Living River Foundation organised a Community Clean Up. You can find out about future litter picks on Living River Foundation Facebook page here.