By Chris Cornell / Latest News / / 0 Comments

Last week the Whitstable Carnival Association wound up after almost 130 years running a Carnival in town. Whilst, a small group of local residents have come forward to try and ‘reboot’ an institution many have recently complained is outdated, it is important to note that those people who volunteered their time for so long cited the increasing red tape forced on them by the council as one of the reasons they couldn’t continue. Tellingly, we lost our Regatta two years ago with the Whitstable Lions citing similar concerns.

Labour believe the Council should enable and not hinder a local people wanting to organise events. In Herne Bay a council led partnership pulls together businesses, community groups and supporting communities to plan events and promote tourism. As a result it’s annual festival (Bayfest) is a month long showcase of local groups, not a two day event run by a London based promoter. The whole town benefits when local groups are properly supported.

If the council took more of an enabling role, many of the problems associated with insurance, fire safety and road closures could be dealt with in house. County and National funding could be identified early and we we wouldn’t have to see local volunteers who want to run a Christmas lantern parade expected to provide detailed terrorist evacuation plans for a high street which has no doubt already been assessed multiple times.

If elected, Labour would work to launch a town development partnership and strengthen the financial support available for a ‘Back the Bay’ alternative for Whitstable. I’ll personally follow the attempts to relaunch the Carnival with some interest and hope the council can support, not undermine, people who want to make our town a vibrant home to events we love.


By Lynette Aitken / Environment / / 0 Comments

As your candidate for Chestfield, I want you to know that I care about people in the local community and I care about the environment. That is why I am actively involved in projects that help make our environment a better place to live in, both locally and globally.

Reducing single-use plastics.

I was instrumental in setting up ‘Plastic Free Whitstable’ which aims to reduce the amount of throw-away plastic that ends up on our streets, on our beaches and in the sea, where it gets into the food chain, poisoning the fish we eat.

We started out as a small group of Labour Party members, then invited other members of the community, including the Green Party, to join us in our mission to reduce single-use plastics in our town. As the first town in Kent to be awarded ‘Plastic Free Community’ status from Surfers Against Sewage, we now have 16 businesses that have fulfilled the requirement to replace at least three single-use plastics (such as straws, cups, condiment sachets, packaging etc.) and there are many more in the pipeline working towards achieving this. We have also been awareness-raising alongside community organisations and schools to get our message across and have enlisted the support and commitment of Canterbury City Council, which has nominated Councillor Bernadette Fisher to be on our Steering Group. Working together with the council, we aim to support the whole district in achieving Plastic Free community status.

Repair Café – Avoiding waste and saving money!

I am also part of a small voluntary group that runs Repair Café. This is an opportunity for people to bring along things they may otherwise have thrown away, to get them repaired by a team of volunteers with expert skills such as sewing, darning, carpentry, electrical repairs, bicycle repairs, soldering, upholstery, jewellery repairs etc. We meet approximately once a month in either the Horsebridge Arts Centre, the Umbrella Centre or, once in the summer, in Stream Walk Community Garden. We invite people to come along and enjoy a friendly chat and a free cuppa and a biscuit while they either learn to do the repair themselves or have it done by an expert. This saves them money whilst reducing waste going into landfill sites and reduces co2 going into the atmosphere.

I wholeheartedly support our manifesto commitment to on-street recycling and other environmental improvements that will safeguard the health and well-being of local residents.

Pictured: Labour activists Lynette Aitken, Jean Fraser, Julia Seath and Councillor Bernadette Fisher as part of the Plastic Free Whitstable Team

By Charlie Mower / Justice / / 0 Comments

On 18th February, the Conservative-dominated Kent County Council voted down a proposal which would have given £1.4million to youth services. This is just one example in a long-line of instances which shows that the Conservative Party are letting down young people. Though Sean Holden, the Deputy Cabinet Member for Economic Development, has argued that “It’s not the worst time it’s ever been and we are not a heartless county council that’s just going to abandon these people’, the evidence shows quite the opposite.

Nationally, between 2012-2016, 600 youth centres were closed down, 3,500 youth workers lost their jobs and 40,000 places in youth centres for young people were cut. These shocking figures show the level of contempt which Tories hold towards young people, but for the ageing councillors, youth services are a far-cry from what they, themselves, would need. In a survey of youth worker UNISON members, 88% felt that the cuts to youth services were causing higher youth unemployment and 84% considered it to have led to an increase in crime. But, for the Conservative councillors, the consistent blindness towards issues facing young people continues.

The failure to invest in youth services, the Tories may claim, is necessitated by the fact that local government funding has been decimated by central government. The great irony, however, is that it is their own Party that has done this to them, but it is the rest of us that feels the effects. The next Labour government will ring-fence funding for youth services, ensuring that this vital service is protected from any future cuts and will develop local strategies to re-invest and develop the work done by youth workers and centres.

Councillor Sean Holden, and the rest of his Conservative colleagues, may not need youth services themselves – but young people do and the effects of not having them are hugely detrimental to communities. Matthew Scott, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has noted that vulnerable young people across Kent are being targeted by gangs from the London boroughs. It is therefore incredibly disappointing that his own Party on Kent County Council have chosen to make those young people more vulnerable by increasing the chances of them being exploited.

In a week whereby residents have been complaining online about the anti social behaviour of young people during half term, lets remember the important role that youth services play.  Let’s continue our fight to bring back youth services, invest in schools and build proper housing so that future generations of young people won’t be let down like the ones before them.