Kent joins other local organisations in historic pledge to transform Medway

Katherine Moss
One Medway Charter signing

Organisations in Medway united on Monday 11 July to sign an agreement that will help drive social and economic change in the area.

The One Medway Charter, signed by eight organisations, including Medway Council, the three universities at Medway, Mid-Kent College, two NHS organisations and the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, commits the organisations to work together to exploit opportunities and address challenges in  priority areas including: Business and the Economy, Education and Skills, Health and Wellbeing, Sustainability and the Environment, and Arts and Culture. It is the first time all these organisations have come together with a shared vision and objectives.

In other parts of the country where similar Civic Agreements have been signed – including Manchester, Exeter, Nottingham, Derby and Leicester – real and tangible benefits are being  delivered for the people of those cities and regions.

Signing the One Medway Charter at a ceremony on board HMS Gannet at the Royal Historic Dockyard Chatham today, the leaders of the organisations also pledged, as one of the first steps, to engage with the people of Medway to understand what they feel the local priorities should be. Their ideas will inform an action plan that will look to create jobs, drive economic recovery through increased investment in the area, help our communities to flourish, support progression into vocational and higher education, enhance health and wellbeing and address the climate crisis locally.

The One Medway Civic Charter builds on recent successes for Medway including securing funding of £14.5m from central Government under the Levelling Up Fund for projects that will reinforce the area’s growing reputation as a regional creative and cultural hub and one that will attract significant additional investment for the local economy. Other successes include £4m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and £3.5m Community Development Funding for the Docking Station, £9.5m from the Future High Street Fund, £3.2m for the Heritage Creative Quarter, £9m for Strood town centre, and £4m Chatham placemaking works.

The Civic Charter looks to build on this success by bringing organisations together to develop a shared programme that will bring direct benefits to the people and communities of Medway. Other organisations, both private and public sector, will be invited to become involved as the work evolves and priorities emerge.

Kent Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen Cox joined the leaders of the two other Medway universities – Canterbury Christ Church and the University of Greenwich saying: ‘We are proud to have been working together at Medway for 20 years to deliver opportunities to local people to become highly skilled and highly talented graduates to support the local economy. There’s always more we can do and this agreement gives us a means of hearing directly from the people of Medway about what the next 20 years could look like. We are delighted to be part of that continuing conversation.’

The new Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Vince Maple, said: ‘This is an important moment when organisations from a range of sectors are saying that they believe in Medway and in their responsibilities towards its people. Our priority will be to work together, to listen and to take action that will change lives. This Civic Charter is a strong vote for Medway and I couldn’t be more proud that we have made this pledge today.’

Simon Cook, Principal and Chief Executive of MidKent College and Chair of the Medway Place Board, say: ‘No organisation can solve problems in isolation – we need to work together to find creative and long-lasting solutions to complex challenges. While there’s plenty of hard work to be done, this Charter is an important first step in reaffirming our commitment to do everything we can in partnership for the good of Medway and its communities.’

Jo Palmer, who chairs the Medway and Swale Health and Care Partnership, representing health and care organisations, said: ‘The NHS and other care services in Medway provide vital services for our citizens, and are also the biggest employers in the area. I am therefore delighted to support this Civic Charter which I believe will be a powerful tool for transformation.’

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