Resilient Communities Fund enables Gillingham to prepare for an emergency
Funding received from Southern Electric Power Distribution’s Resilient Communities Fund has enabled Gillingham Town Council to purchase equipment which will help protect the welfare of the community and improve communication during an emergency situation.
Southern Electric Power Distribution established the fund to support communities in order to improve local resilience for future emergency weather events. During an extreme weather event, emergency services need to prioritise those in greatest need and this means that in certain situations communities may need to rely on their own resources to cope with an incident until they can be reached by professionals. In Gillingham, a small working party has been set up by the Town Council under the leadership of Cllr Paul Harris. The working party has built on existing relationships and networks, and applied local knowledge to ensure that the town can act in a way that complements the responses of the emergency services and creates a stronger, coordinated framework from which to effectively deal with severe weather situations.
Following receipt of the grant, equipment was purchased and Gillingham’s Community Resilience Plan was updated. On 20th April 2017 a table top exercise was arranged by the Civil Contingencies Unit to test the effectiveness of Gillingham’s Community Resilience Plan. The exercise was attended by representatives from Gillingham Town Council, Dorset Police, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Dorset County Council, British Telecommunications Plc, Dorset RAYNET, The Environment Agency and the Dorset Local Resilience Forum. Civil Contingencies Officer, David Beavis said, “The exercise was well received from all of those who attended. Gillingham’s Community Resilience Plan is a prime example of what effective measures can be put in place at a local level, and the Civil Contingencies Unit will refer to Gillingham’s plan on the Local Resilience Forum’s webpage as an example of good practice”.
Cllr Paul Harris, who attended the exercise on behalf of Gillingham Town Council stated, “We have had great support from SSE in further developing our emergency resilience plans and to purchase additional equipment. We have specific challenges in Gillingham around flooding and much of this equipment will allow our flood wardens to be more effective in their work”.
If anyone would like to find out further information on how they might assist, the Resilience Team will be available to answer questions and show the equipment between 6pm and 7pm, prior to the Full Council meeting, on Monday 26th June 2017 at Gillingham Town Hall.
An official celebration of the completion of the Hardings Park project and the creation of a leisure hub for Gillingham will be held on Saturday, 15th July from 11.30am till 4pm. The event will be hosted by Gillingham Town Council in partnership with the RiversMeet Leisure Centre.
The skate park will be officially opened with a ‘Skate Jam’ from 12 noon with numerous prizes on offer.
The outside table tennis facility and multi-use games area will be officially opened at 11.45am. RiversMeet Leisure Centre will be providing a BBQ and Italian ice cream at reasonable prices.
The table tennis facility will be dedicated to the late Mr Alan Hislop – a veteran international table tennis player who died earlier this year and was an enthusiastic ambassador for the sport and keen to see a table tennis facility included as part of the refurbishment of Hardings Park.
The multi-use games area is suitable for football and basketball and free to use. As part of the celebration, we hope that ball skills will be demonstrated by local football and basketball players.
The Adventure Play Area nearby was officially opened last June and has been extremely popular with local families and visitors.
We invite the whole community to join us for this celebration.
On Monday 27th February 2017, the final sixteen oak trees were planted to finish off the avenue of trees project that was started last spring on the open space adjoining King John Road in Gillingham. The avenue of trees commemorates the 500th anniversary of Gillingham School as well as a reference to Gillingham’s past as a Royal Forest. The newly planted trees will help to irrigate the local area, improve the water quality of the River Lodden, which flows through the site, and reduce surface water run-off to help prevent flooding further downstream. The trees were purchased from funds held by the Town Council and donations from Gillingham School and local residents.
The Mayor of Gillingham, Cllr Barry Von Clemens with Town Council staff, Dorset Countryside, Gillingham School and local residents.
The Mayor of Gillingham, Cllr Barry Von Clemens championed the initiative for local school councils to link with Gillingham Town Council. At the beginning of his Mayoral year
Cllr Von Clemens had stated that “young people have a voice and we are here to listen”.
Representatives of Gillingham School’s council attended the Gillingham Full Council meeting held on Monday, 23rd January 2017 and presented a report of their current activities. Members of the town council welcomed this report and agreed that Gillingham School Council and St. Mary’s Primary School Council, who had asked to join this initiative, should be invited to send written reports, on a quarterly basis, up-dating the town council of their issues and concerns. This will provide a platform for the young people to engage with the first level of local government, to experience how democracy plays it’s part in their everyday lives.
Cllr Von Clemens hopes that in time all the School Councils will join this initiative and he would very much welcome their involvement. He stated “The young people are the future. This will be their chance to become part of Gillingham’s future development”.
Gillingham Town Council has recently provided a ‘Teenzone’ goal end for youngsters at Church View following requests from local residents to provide a facility for ball games. The Mayor said “the new equipment will encourage the youngsters to play ball games in a safe environment away from the roads.” Local children and residents, seen here with the Mayor of Gillingham, Cllr Barry Von Clemens and his escort, Alison Gale, gave the facility a ‘thumbs up’ seal of approval.
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