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Carers receive double dose of good news

A MEREWORTH-based charity that sup- ports carers of all ages has been saved from a possible funding crisis. Crossroads Care West Kent, whose work

was spotlighted in Downs Mail twomonths ago, has received two pieces of good news since then. The charity, based at Mereworth Business Centre, had feared that Kent County Council might not continue its crucial funding after September. But chief executive Irene Jeffrey said: "We

have been extended until the end of March 2012 with KCC. That is a relief. Obviously this will only be a six-month respite but very welcome for all that. "Wewere also successful in securing some underpinning funding from Children in Need for the young carers project. They

have granted us a total of £86,470 spread over three years, which we are absolutely delighted with." Mrs Jeffrey added: "It takes many strands

of funding to make the project work, so it is excellent news that we have some support from two major contributors. "So hopefully with the continued gen- erosity of the people of Maidstone, the proj- ect can go from strength to strength." The charity also recently received £6,345

from the previous mayor, Cllr Eric Hotson's fund. The young carers project works actively

with 120 five to 12-year-olds in Maidstone and part of Malling, with 40 more on the waiting list. "These youngsters have sub- stantial caring roles, usuallywith parents or brothers or sisters," explained Mrs Jeffrey.

What’s happening in Rotary circles Angie takes over

Inner Wheel THE Inner Wheel Club of Maidstone welcomed Angie Evans as its new president for the year ahead. Angie (pictured) is retired

after spending 27 years working in her husband’s civil engineering firm.

First lady hands over

MP Helen Grant with president Peter Bodycombe cutting a celebration cake

£250k raised for good causes in 20 years

MEMBERS of the Rotary Club of Maid- stone congratulated their first lady presi- dent, Pat Thomas (pictured), in almost 90 years on her success when she handed over.

New president is James Boswell, of Mar- den, a former district governor.

THE Rotary Club of Maidstone Riverside celebrated its 20th anniversary with a din- ner at the Russell Hotel in Maidstone, at- tended by 80 local Rotarians, including many of the original members of the club. In his address Peter Bodycombe, presi-

dent of the club, mentioned that more than £250,000 had been raised for good causes – locally, nationally and interna- tionally.

One visit to ‘smelly’ site was quite enough!

THE idea of a site visit to the Allington incineratormade aMaidstone councillor turn up her nose. Scrutiny committee members were discussing site visits as part of its review, ‘Making waste work for Maidstone’. When Cllr Rodd Nelson-Gracie suggested a tour of the incinerator to “help people under-

stand more clearly what recycling is all about”, Cllr Denise Joy, who visited it last year, in- sisted: “I wouldn’t want to go again – it was very smelly.” Members also decided to go to Blaise Farm composting facility at Kings Hill.

Untaxed cars seized in Operation Cubit FOURTEEN motorists in Snodland, East Malling,West Malling, Ditton and Aylesford had their cars removed from the road under Operation Cubit because they were not taxed. Cubit is a joint initiative between police and other agencies including Tonbridge and Malling Council and the DVLA to deal with the problem of untaxed or abandoned vehicles which can otherwise take time to remove and, meanwhile, become a target for vandals. Owners have to pay a fee and storage costs to reclaim their vehicle, otherwise it will be crushed – or “cubed”.

16 Malling

Learn how to prune for

perfect fruit production KEEN gardeners can get expert training in fruit tree growing after the East Malling Trust announced it is to start providing specialist courses. Local residents can now receive tutoring

in how to plant and establish fruit trees and bushes, as well as seasonal pruning and grafting. East Malling Short Courses is delivering

the workshops at the Hatton Fruit Garden, formerly part of the kitchen garden of the Grade I listed Bradbourne House. Plantings in the Hatton Fruit Garden

were inspired by the fruit plantings in the Louis XIV kitchen garden at Versailles, France. The fruit trees have been trained and pruned over many decades to produce a myriad of designs. Winter pruning courses will be delivered

on November 11 and 18 this year, and on January 27 and February 3, 2012. A course focusing on how to establish and plant fruit trees and bushes is being offered on December 2 and one on grafting is on March 9. The number of delegates is limited. To

book a place contact Fran Gallwey on 01732 523755 or email fran.gallwey@

Roll up for roller

skating competition MAIDSTONE Leisure Centre is hosting the National Open Roller Skating Competition later this summer. It will be held at Mote Hall on Septem-

ber 10 and is one of five “free lets” by the borough council for the leisure centre in 2011-12. Already, a charity concert featuring the Maidstone Singers was given a free let last month and the other three will be: September 23 – SNAP Disco, set up by

Kent Police and Crimestoppers for 11 to 17-year-olds to enjoy live music in a safe environment October 8 – Voices for Hospices, a con-

cert in aid of the Heart of Kent Hospice January 27 – Youth Sport Achievement Awards ceremony.

One third of children

do not own a bike ONE third of children in Maidstone do not own a bike and 10% cannot cycle, accord- ing to a survey of 1,500 children aged be- tween six and 15. The study, commissioned by Tata Steel,

found that youngsters are “turning their backs on fitness”. While 33% of under 15s do not own a bike, 77% own a television or a video console, which only keeps them “digitally fit”. In response to these findings, a free mini triathlon took place at Mote Park to en- courage local school children to get active. More than 600 pupils from 35 schools swam, cycled and ran their way around their very first triathlon. The sports day was organised by British Triathlon, in part- nership with Tata Steel.

Almost one child in 10 cannot swim, ac- cording to the survey. But the 9%figure for Maidstone compares favourably to else- where in the country. In Edinburgh, 19% cannot swim.

Commercial storage

TRAVIS Perkins has been granted a two- year change of use to allow the overnight storage of commercial vehicles at Cobtree House, Forstal Road, Aylesford.

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