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Maidstone Borough Council 9 Priority for housing for Maidstone people

The council is changing the way it prioritises the waiting list for social housing.

The changes are being introduced in April, because the council believes the current points-based system encourages deprivation by giving priority to those on benefits. Applicants also told the council that the current system was confusing.

A better place to play for Shepway

Shepway Green is to get a new play area – and local people are helping to decide what’s put in place.

The current play area will get a makeover and some of the funding will be used to create a place for older children and teenagers to enjoy.

The views of children, young people, parents and residents in the local area were sought as part of a consultation exercise to ensure the new play area and youth facilities are what the local community need.

The council is now considering the responses to the consultation and the project should be completed for the school summer holidays in 2013.

Pride in Maidstone funding

Six local community groups, charities and voluntary organisations have been successful in securing funding from Maidstone Borough Council’s £70,000 Pride in Maidstone Fund.

Communitech and Food for Thought were two of the projects which won funding.

Communitech Communitech is a social enterprise being developed by young people who were out of work. They offer apprenticeships, training and work experience opportunities to young people in their business which refurbishes donated computers to then supply at a low cost or even for free to local community and charity organisations.

Communitech can offer networking, technical support, upgrade and repairs to private customers and local businesses. The group has been awarded £9,280 to help them to become certified as Microsoft Engineers, develop volunteering opportunities, and purchase computing and office equipment.

Maidstone Borough Council has also

helped with advice on funding and links to local businesses and work experience opportunities.

For more information about Communitech visit www.communitech

Food For Thought

Run by Maidstone Christian Care, Food for Thought is a community food project which has been running successfully since 2005.

Food for Thought volunteers redistribute food that would otherwise end up as waste to the most needy groups and individuals in deprived areas in Maidstone.

The charity applied to the Pride in Maidstone Fund for £10,000 towards the purchase of a new vehicle.

For more

Under the new scheme only people living in the borough will go on the waiting list for accommodation.

Maidstone council's Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services, John A Wilson says the new system will be much simpler.

"The first principle is that everyone will have to have a housing need first." he said.

"If people are in work or doing something in their local community then that can be taken as a characteristic that gives them greater opportunity for access to social housing."

Bringing empty homes back into use

Empty homes can have a negative impact on the community in which they are found – whether by bringing down surrounding house prices, attracting anti-social behaviour or reducing the supply and choice of housing in the borough – so Maidstone council is stepping up its efforts to work with owners on bringing them back into use.

Focussing on those properties that have the most impact on the surrounding community – typically those that have been empty for more than six months and are in a poor state of repair – the council negotiates with the owners of empty properties to bring them back into use. This can be through providing advice, grants or leasing schemes. If this fails, the council can look at direct intervention, including Empty Dwelling Management Orders, compulsory purchase of the property and serving notices to tidy up the property or land.

If you would like to discuss an empty home that you own, or would like to report an empty property, please contact the Private Sector Housing Team on 01622 602470.

information about Food for Thought visit

For more information about the Pride in Maidstone Fund contact Julia Fraser on 01622 602513 or email

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