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Andrew Kennedy

Tel: 07792 924820   Email: amskennedy1966@gmail.com
Proudly representing the communities of
Aylesford, Blue Bell Hill, Burham, Ditton, Eccles, Kits Coty, Peters Village, Walderslade and Wouldham. 

Dear <<First Name>>

Thank you for signing-up to my monthly newsletter. As promised, I won't flood your inbox with junk mail nor will I sell, lend or share your personal data. This monthly update is to keep you informed about my work in the community, up to date with local developments and from time to time I will seek your views through online polls or launch community activities and events. 

First of all, thank you for electing me as your Kent County Councillor. I am genuinley honoured to represent my home area and such a beautiful corner of Kent. Other councillors are quick to "boast" about their areas, but I trump them all with Ditton Stream, Aylesford Village and Bridge, North Downs AONB, Kits Coty Stones and the view from the Blue Bell Hill viewpoint. I am proud of this area and I will do my very best for you.
Yesterday I attended the Annual Meeting of Kent County Council. Due to "social distancing" this was held in the glamourous surroundings of Maidstone Sports Centre rather than County Hall. And as you can see it looked more like being back at school and sitting an exam! But I was there (and just made it into the photo, or at least some of me did!). I was surprised to find myself nominated and elected Chair of the Health Reform and Public Health Committee of Kent County Council. I am told that is is very unusual for a "new boy" to be given Chairmanship of such an important committee, but I believe the Leader (Cllr Roger Gough) was impressed with my commitment to mental health and community resiliance, and wanted to give me an opportunity in this important area. I have not yet received my official training and briefing on the scope and responsibilities of the role, but working to support the most vulerable members of ur community, whether through poor mental health, isolation or lonliness, remains my key pledge. 
One lesser known aspect of being a County Councillor is we each have access to an annual £10,000 Community Support Fund. This is a sum of money set-aside from your Council Tax to help, support and encourage local groups and small organisations that do good work in the community. Often these groups are too small to qualify for funding or they simply don't meet the criteria or are unaware of how to apply. I have decided I would like to spread this money as far and wide as possible. Twenty grants of £500 to small community groups will benefit far more people than giving 2 grants of £5,000 to big organisations, and these big organisations often have access to other funding streams anyway.  The type of things I would like to support are groups such as the Eccles Hedgehog Hospital, buying plants and compost to make our villages look lovely in the summer, buying seeds and tools for schools to teach children how to plant and grow, new cups and saucers for our many OAP drop-in centres, providing decent litter picking equipment for our community volunteers, money to promote and support village fetes and Christmas lights, setting-up Walking Bus routes to get Children to school safely while reducing traffic and pollution, financing Community Speed Watch equipment to help make out roads safer. If you are involved in a local voluntary or community group and would like to apply for funding to help support a specific project, please get in touch. 
Finllay, just a brief round-up of what I have been doing this month.
  • I have visited all four of our parish Councils (Ditton, Aylesford, Burham and Wouldham) to meet their members, introduce myself and learn more about their local concerns.
  • I am working with residents in Ditton who are unhappy with recent changes to their road layout.
  • I continue to push and shout about our sub-standard refuse collection service and call for improvements, especially in bulky waste services, emptying of litter bins and the reopening of the household tips.My campaign to improve this service was featured in the press this week - see HERE
  • I am working with Burham and Wouldham Parish Councils over various footpath issues and I am seeking to reopen negotiations with Kent Highways to see what can be done to ease the appalling traffic conditions in Wouldham since the opening of Peters Bridge
  • And, of ocursem, I am providing consifdential advice and support to many residents who have come to me for help on personal or confidential matters. 
Please get in touch (preferably by email) if I can help or support you in any way.

Kindest regards
Andrew 
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