Ashford Voice

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The return of the Ashford Civic Awards!

In every corner of the borough there are people who are quietly remarkable. There are people who possess great strength of character, who make a substantial contribution to their community and who enrich the lives of others. There are also people who have made great personal sacrifice in order to achieve something outstanding. These people are often unrecognised and unknown – except by the people they are helping.

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Ashford Borough Council held its first Civic Awards ceremony in 2012, as a fitting tribute to Her Majesty the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year, celebrating dedication to public service, while acclaiming the London Olympics. It was Ashford’s opportunity to honour local people who had helped others in a voluntary capacity, in their own way, at a local level.  

Now, six years later, the council has decided to host the Civic Awards again – to find out who today’s community ‘heroes and heroines’ are, and to make sure that they, equally, are acknowledged and get the civic recognition they deserve.

Launched on 7th March 2018, the Civic Awards are sponsored by local companies, as well as Ashford Borough Council working together with the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and reflecting the partnership approach, which delivers for the residents and the businesses of Ashford. 

The sponsors are: MJ Allen Castings & Machining, Peter Brett Associates, Chart Hills Resort, Facts & Figures Financial Planners, Hadlow College, HR GO Recruitment, ITL Group, Pillory Barn Creative, Quinn Estates, Red Alert, RIFT Group, Stanhope plc, and Wilkins Kennedy.

So, do you know someone whose actions have made a truly positive impact in the community, or to the borough as a whole? If so, nominate them and they could be heralded at the Ashford Borough Council Civic Awards in July.

We are looking for people who show caring and devotion for others; people who are shining examples of community spirit, giving selflessly of their time and their talents to support and help individuals within communities.

Anyone aged 16 or over, who is either a resident or who serves Ashford’s communities but lives outside the borough can be nominated. Essentially, the dedication of those people nominated must shine through as an example to others and their personal efforts must inspire those around them.

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said “We are fortunate that Ashford is blessed with spirited people who act with tremendous dignity and who are effectively the heartbeat of their communities.

 “We want to honour community champions, those who give their time to improve the lives of others, and those who can take pride in an immense personal achievement. The Civic Awards will be a platform on which these people can shine. It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of the awards.”

Find out more about the Civic Awards and how to nominate 

The latest Cleansweep Operation heads to Tenterden and Ashford

Ashford Borough’s Community Safety Partnership (CSP) held their latest Operation Cleansweep last month.

Council officers and members from both Ashford Borough and Tenterden Town Councils teamed up with officers from Kent Police (including PCSO’s and Neighbourhood Watch), KCC Community Wardens and colleagues from HMRC.

Teams visited both Tenterden town centre and several sites in Ashford, including the High Street, Dover Place, Waitrose and the Skate Park. They met with local business owners and residents, identified parking issues and carried out licensing checks.

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Following the event Kent Police received seven new Neighbourhood Watch scheme applications.

Cllr Brad Bradford, portfolio holder for Health, Parking and Community Safety said: “Cleansweep Operations provide us with an opportunity to team up with colleagues from other services and offer information and support to our residents and businesses.

“The partnership had a fantastic day meeting community members to find out what issues matter to them and to discuss how we might be able to help and we are very pleased to see the positive response to the promotion of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme.

“Our CSP members can’t be everywhere all the time so it’s important that our residents know they can feedback their concerns to us, enabling us to work with them to tackle any issues, resulting in safer and happier communities.

For further information on these operations or any other aspect of community safety you can contact the Community Safety Unit on csu@ashford.gov.uk, call 01233 3308912 or visit the council's Community Safety webpage

St Mary’s Churchyard refreshed thanks to council efforts

Ashford Borough Council’s proactive Town Centre Action Team (T-CAT), Aspire Landscape Management and the council’s Property and Projects team have been busy refreshing and refurbishing St Mary’s Churchyard in the town centre.

The project was led by Cllr Bill Barrett and Cllr Brad Bradford, who set out to make the churchyard a cleaner, more attractive and pleasant place for residents to visit.

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Aspire planted spring bulbs including snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils in the churchyard which are now in bloom and adding a splash of colour to the town centre. In addition, the officers trimmed back the overgrown trees and brambles in the grounds of the churchyard to keep the area looking neat and tidy. T-CAT power-washed the block paving and cleared the overgrown weeds in the churchyard. They also spruced up the BT Phone Box by mending the slatted windows and giving it a fresh lick of paint.

New lighting was also installed on the tower of the church, beautifully lighting up the historic building and creating a focal point for the town centre. The lanterns on the entrance gate to the church were replaced with new bulbs to create an attractive and well-lit area for visitors to walk through after dark.

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Cllr Bill Barrett, Lead Member for Town Centre Presentation and Safety, said: “The churchyard regeneration project was about making sure the heart of our town looks as good as it possibly can. St Mary’s Church is a beautiful heritage building which deserves to be cherished and admired.

“I would like to thank T-CAT, Aspire and the Property and Projects team for all their hard work, and I hope people enjoy visiting the church even more now the area has been improved.”

Mayor hands out Certificate of Excellence in recognition of contribution to Ashford's artistic life

The Mayor of Ashford, Winston Michael, has awarded Dr. Mark Deller a Certificate of Excellence in recognition of his unique contribution to the artistic life of Ashford.

In an afternoon tea reception in the Mayor's Parlour - attended by members of the Stour Music Festival and Ashford Choral Society Committees, Dr. Deller was presented with a framed certificate.

The Mayor commended Dr. Deller for his dedication to excellence and long service in music; notably his almost 50 years as Music Director and Conductor of Ashford Choral Society and his long term stewardship of the annual Stour Music Festival, which enjoys an international reputation in the field of Early Music.

Ashford Choral Society, which is one of the UK's oldest such societies, recently celebrated its 160th birthday and will be performing its next concert, Brahms "Requiem" at Colyer Fergusson Hall, University of Kent, on 12 May. The Mayor, who is President of the Choral Society, will be in attendance.

The next Stour Festival opens on 22 June, with a line up of two weekends of internationally acclaimed performers. Tickets for both the Brahms concert and Stour Music are available from the Gulbenkian Box Office, Tel: 01227 769075 or email boxoffice@kent.ac.uk.
Further details can also be found on www.stourmusic.org.uk and http://www.ashfordchoral.org.uk.

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