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Kent Fire Service appeal for volunteers

Kent Fire and Rescue Service's community volunteer scheme is searching for enthusiastic recruits to join the team.

The scheme currently has 47 unpaid volunteers who contribute their time to undertake a range of directed community activities.

Volunteers support both the KFRS dedicated community safety team as well as stations throughout Medway and Kent.

Tasks vary from attending community safety events and promoting home fire safety to highlight outdoor spaces that are at risk of fire.

I am constantly amazed by the amount of time our volunteers are willing to give up, as well as their limitless enthusiasm and interest in what the organisation does. I have had fantastic feedback from staff and now the volunteers are experienced I am being requested to provide volunteers to support station-led events so that they can continue to engage with the public if the operational staff are called away.”

– Coordinator Karen Garrett

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Blast from the past: Last surviving bus to be restored

Video. It carried thousands of passengers to and from work, dates back to before the war and used to be a familiar sight in the streets of Medway.

The Chatham Traction bus played a key role in our history and today, only one from the fleet survives. But thanks to a group of enthusiasts and a lottery grant, the bus will be restored. Nashreen Issa reports.

'Extensive intelligence' leads to arrests

The arrests come from some extensive intelligence and reports which suggests this group extort members of their own community, promising them all sorts of riches in England, but in fact forcing them to live in squalid conditions. This group have looked to profit from this by controlling their wages and any benefits they may be entitled to and the victims are very often too afraid to report matters to police.

– Detective Sergeant Ian Sanderson, Kent Police

Three men arrested in human trafficking investigation

Three men have been arrested following an investigation into the alleged exploitation of Slovakian nationals working in Medway.

Working in partnership with the Gangmaster Licensing Authority (GLA), Kent Police executed four warrants across the Medway Towns in the early hours of Wednesday 7th August.

A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of people trafficking offences, a 57-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of fraud and a 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply and fraud.

The three men, all from Chatham, have been bailed to 1 October pending further enquiries.

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Council accused of cheating schoolchildren

A council is being accused of cheating primary schoolchildren out of almost £250,000. Two years ago, the bursar at Temple Mill Primary School in Medway was jailed for stealing £212,000 over five years. The trial judge ordered her to repay every penny to the school.

She paid up. But education chiefs at Medway Council are refusing to pass on the money. It's triggered a furious conflict that could see the council taken to court. John Ryall has the story.

'Government has made Medway situation worse' - Councillors' statement

Inside Medway Hospital Credit: NH

Medway Maritime, along with ten other hospitals, has been placed into special measures because of major failings.

Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, has not provided a timetable for improvements to areas of the NHS with which his Government has failed to get to grips.

Instead, they have made matters worse, distracting the NHS with an unnecessary top-down reorganisation, which has sucked £3bn out of patient care.

Cllr Tristan Osborne said: "We have seen a botched NHS re-organisation; A&E waiting lists increasing; privatisation of NHS Direct; and a real concern that the merger with Darent Valley will lead to increased deficits.

“I will work with colleagues across all Parties to scrutinise our local NHS and ensure we have effective numbers of staff in A&E.”

Cllr Vince Maple added: “Medway Labour recognises the hard work of doctors, nurses and support staff, but the Keogh Report highlights some of the major flaws in the systems at Medway Maritime Hospital.

“Although I welcome the measures announced in the Keogh Report, I am disturbed by the failures of care in the NHS under David Cameron.

“A&Es are in crisis, with recent figures showing nearly 3,500 patients in the UK have waited in vehicles parked outside hospitals for more than two hours in the year 2012/13.

“With thousands of nurses lost and A&Es in crisis, the sad truth is that failures in care are becoming more likely under this Government, not less.”

VIDEO: 'I thought my husband would be safe in hospital'

The safety of patients is being questioned at two of the South East's hospitals. A Government led report has uncovered a series of failings at Medway NHS Trust and Basildon Hospital. Both are now on "special measures".

The review was carried out following high death rates. At Medway, concerns were also raised about low staffing levels and long waiting times in A&E. Managers have been told to make immediate improvements.

The investigation was announced in February after the scandal at Stafford Hospital where 1,200 patients died unnecessarily.

Tom Savvides has our report. He speaks to widow Carol Turner, Dr Gray Smith-Laing of Medway Maritime Hospital, Sir Bruce Keogh, and widow Sarah Fleming.

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