Stunning images change the way we see Kent

As huge posters are unveiled in London to capture the imagination of Londoners and entice them to Kent, Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council and Kevin Lynes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development revealed the stunning images outside County Hall.

Surprising and alluring images of Botany Bay in Broadstairs, The Goods Shed in Canterbury and Hever Castle in Edenbridge capture the passion and energy of Kent as a 21st century Garden of England.

Over 150, giant posters are adorning commuter train stations and core London underground stations in zones one and two and will encourage passengers to ‘Exercise’, ‘Enjoy the fruits of’ and ‘Rediscover’ Kent. It is the creative concept of top London creative agency M&C Saatchi, which has been commissioned to roll-out the campaign.

Visit Kent, the county’s award winning tourism partnership delivery organisation is co-ordinating the three year campaign, which is being supported by £400,000 investment from Kent County Council.

Kevin Lynes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development at Kent County Council comments:

“Through the campaign images, award winning photographer Jean - Luc BĂ©nard has changed our perception of Kent as a tourist destination. I look at his shot of Botany Bay and it could be the Algarve. His Hever Castle imagery could have been shot in India. My hope is that this campaign will encourage other people to see this stunning county of ours in a new contemporary light, just as I have."

Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Chief Executive, Visit Kent comments “We’re so excited about this fresh approach to our marketing - and of course it’s more important than ever that we stay innovative and creative, and keep ahead of the competition. The timing is perfect, with continued concerns about flying and the strength of the Euro still making the traditional European haunts of the British expensive, this campaign is positioned to remind Londoners and commuters what is on their doorstep.”

The posters campaign will be supplemented with a three week press campaign in the Evening Standard and Time Out, also starting today. Visit Kent investors have helped extend the reach of the campaign with an additional £400,000 of in-kind support.


Bill Butler's retirement

Bill Butler, Dover and Thanet area Youth manager, is retiring after over 20 years in East Kent.
Bill started his time at Concorde , Ramsgate, so it was only fitting to hold a retirement thanks back at where it all began.

I have had the pleasure of working with Bill four the last five years, the last one as Chairman of Thanet YAG, it has been a pleasure to learn from him and enjoy the never ending enthusiasm he radiates.

There are an awful lot of young people who's live's have been touched, for the good, by Bill and his team.
Good luck in your retirement - Enjoy.
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The Building Schools for the Future project is put under review.

Children, Families & Education

The new Government has put the Building Schools for the Future project under review, freezing plans for hundreds of new secondary schools in England. 

As news of the review became public, schools and local authorities were urgently seeking guarantees but the
Department for Education insisted that no decision had been taken. 

However, sources close to the project said there would be a concerted drive to make savings from the £8.5bn annual budget for new schools, redirecting some of that money to help start the Swedish-style free schools the Conservative party have promised. 

The Guardian argues that the scheme includes more than £480m allocated in the last weeks of the Labour Government, but secondary schools in authorities that have been approved to enter the Building Schools for the Future project but have not yet named their contractors may now lose their funding.

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Councils to get general competence power

Ministers look set to include plans to hand a much-anticipated legal power to give councils a free hand to pursue the best interests of their local areas. This will appear in the early legislative programme of the new parliament, according to a Cabinet Office briefing setting out policy areas that had been agreed by the coalition government:


The briefing note says the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government has come together with a "driving ambition to put more power and opportunity into people's hands" and as part of its programme will give councils a "general power of competence" – a long-awaited legal power that enables councils to act as they see fit in the best interests of their communities.

The coalition parties have also agreed on measures to "radically reform the planning system", which will include scrapping regional spatial strategies and returning decision making powers on housing and planning to councils.

The note also says the government will give communities the right to bid to take over local state-run services as well as new powers to help communities "save local facilities and services threatened with closure". It also reiterates the pledge made in the initial coalition deal to launch a full review of local government finance. There was, however, no mention of abolishing regional development agencies or of referenda for directly elected mayors .

What does this mean for the people of Kent? Or the people of Margate? Localism and more say in what your council does, can only be a good thing.
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Academy FM part 2

Just had a chance to look around the studio and try out as a DJ.
I think I'll stick to the day job . David Atkey (pictured) has work really hard to get this off the ground.
Take a listen.
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Academy FM 107.8 official launch

Absolutely superb evening of entertainment at the Marlowe Academy in Ramsgate. Young talented students of the school gave superlative performances of various musical talents. I am full of admiration for the work that is going that has made the Marlowe an all inclusive community school.

You can listen to Academy FM on 107.8FM and their new web site is www.academyfmthanet.com

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Kent celebrates Youth Achievement

As I stand hear listening to a rendition of "your sex is on fire" I am proud to be involved with the event happening today. Hundreds of people , young and old showing the achievements of clubs and organisations in Kent and Medway. Lots of things to do , please don't let me hear anybody say "nufink to do" .

As Chairman of Thanet Youth Advisory and a parent I'm as keen as anyone to promote the activities going on , particularly in Thanet. If you have anything to advertise then go to websites like "togogo" and "Whatson" .
Next event is Ballet by Riverside.
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Bill Hayton Elected Chairman of Kent County council

At the AGM of Kent County Council today, Bill Hayton was elected Chairman of KCC. The outgoing Chairman , John Davies thanked everyone for an enjoyable year.

"It is a pleasure and an honour to have been elected Chairman and I look forward to the forthcoming year"

Well done Bill.
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Thanet wins most Blue Flags in the UK

More Blue Flags, the sign of Europe's top coastal destinations, will be flying over Thanet's beaches this summer than any other council area in the UK.

 A total of nine Blue Flags have been awarded to the area. Minnis Bay, St. Mildred's Bay and West Bay in Westgate, Botany Bay and Joss Bay in Broadstairs and Ramsgate Main Sands have all kept the awards that they received last summer. Minnis Bay has held a Blue Flag since 2002, while West Bay has been awarded one for the sixth year running and St. Mildred's retains its flag for the fifth year running.

 Westbrook Bay, Margate Main Sands and Stone Bay in Broadstairs have also won back the accolade that they were last awarded in 2008.

 Blue Flags are only handed out to those beaches which have achieved the highest quality in water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management.

 Viking Bay received the Quality Coast Award for the fourth year running. To achieve this award, beaches have to meet strict criteria, including clean sands, being free of litter and dog fouling, have good access with good facilities and with guideline water quality.

 Director of Environmental Services, Mark Seed, said: "This year, Thanet has continued its enviable success with Blue Flag awards. We're delighted to have more Blue Flags this year than any other council area across the UK, which shows just how seriously we take the condition of our beautiful beaches. It's a great boost to our tourism and a wonderful way to start another summer season. Once again, the message is clear – if you want to find beautiful and unique sandy beaches, head to Thanet."

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