Monday, 21 February 2011

Mark Reckless MP Discusses Localism Bill


Friday, 18 February 2011

Help Find Rocco

Mark has been contacted by a constituent regarding the theft of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy in Strood. The owners are obviously very distressed at the loss of the puppy and are offering a reward for his safe return. If you have any information, you can contact the owners by email at or you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. All emails or calls will be treated as confidential.


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Talking Tots’ Welcome Mark Reckless MP

The Talking Tots’ group in Strood welcomed MP Mark Reckless to one of its classes on Monday 14th Feb, to raise money for ICAN, a charity that helps children who struggle to communicate.

He took part in their usual programme of activities, as well as participating in various extra songs for the ChatterBox Challenge event, including ‘Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes’ and the ‘Hokey Cokey’.

More than 2,000 Talking Tots pre-schoolers in 150 centres in the UK took part in an extra 10 minutes of action songs and rhymes for I CAN’s 10th Chatterbox Challenge.

Talking Tots, the programme designed to develop children’s speech and language skills is fully supporting the Communication Trusts’ ‘Hello’ campaign with various activities, as they share the vision of giving every child the opportunity to be confident communications.

The Chatterbox Challenge, Talking Tots’ first activity for the year was an ideal charity choice. “Good communication skills are vital for children to enjoy their childhood. They need to be able to communicate confidently in order to socialise and make friends, learn and participate in class when they start school and this vital skill will stay with them for life,” said Lisa Houghton, co-founder of talking Tots. “Raising money for a charity that is dedicated to giving every child the opportunity to be confident communicators is a great fit for us at Talking Tots,” continued Lisa.

Children were sponsored to participate in action songs and rhymes including I CAN’s featured song, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Children from Talking Tots classes in Gravesend and Strood joined in the charity fundraiser with excitement.

Claire Hitchcock, Talking Tots leader for the North Kent area said, “Our children were fantastic and we were pleased to see our local MP joining in with our songs. They and their parents enjoyed doing their bit for I CAN.”

Talking Tots classes will be raising further funds for ICAN when they attempt to break the world record for performing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. The event will take place in St George’s Church Hall in Gravesend on Tuesday 1st March. You can find out more about Talking Tots by visiting

For more information please call Claire Hitchcock on 07754 866592

Monday, 14 February 2011

Could You Rock The House?

Mark Reckless MP is looking out for the best local musical talent and venues to represent Rochester and Strood in the recently launched Rock The House competition.

‘Rock The House’ is a music competition with a political twist; supporting unsigned bands and artists, it will raise political awareness of the importance of music and other creative businesses to the UK.

Launched by Mike Weatherley - MP and champion for the music industry - Rock The House offers entry categories covering both Live Bands and Live Music Venues - and is open for entries now.

Bands and venues are invited to enter themselves, via their local MP, who will make nominations to a judging panel of music industry heavyweights on behalf of their own constituencies.

Entries can be submitted until the closing date of 31st March 2011. Further details and the official application form are available online at: and winners will be announced by the end of May and all competition finalists will be invited to attend an exclusive star-studded event on the Terrace of the House of Commons on 30th June.

Local bands and venues in the Rochester and Strood constituency are asked to email or send in a CD/DVD with details to his constituency office at Mark Reckless MP, Suite 6, 4A Castle View Mews, Castle Hill, Rochester ME1 1LA.

Sponsors and supporters include: UK Music, Future Publishing, EMI, Yamaha, Consumer Focus, Incorporated Society of Musicians, and All Party Parliamentary Group on Music (APPG).

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Mark Reckless MP Congratulates Medway Council

Mark Reckless, Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood, congratulates Medway Council for finding £23 million of required savings, whilst protecting front line services.

Mark said:

"This is an excellent testament to the work done by my Conservative colleagues on Council to ensure that residents still get good services and an efficient Council. We understand the need for Councils to make cuts, in the same way as our residents and their families have had to, and I praise the responsible way in which Medway Council, and in particular Finance Chief Councillor Alan Jarrett have done this with minimal impact to our Medway residents.

What we do not understand is why similar cuts are not being made to the E.U. budget. We are delighted that other councils are following our lead and calling for MPs to force cuts to the E.U. budget similar to the ones local councils have had to make".

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Mark Reckless MP Nominates Local Groups For National Award

Mark Reckless MP has nominated two local organisations for a prestigious national award that could see them benefit from exposure on the national stage.

Mark Reckless recently called on Rochester and Strood residents to help him choose a local organisation for the awards.

Following feedback from contributors and regular visitors to this site, Mark has decided to nominate local community organisations Medway Magic and Strood Community Project for the prestigious awards.

The annual Centre for Social Justice Awards recognise effective poverty fighting groups from across the UK. Now in its sixth year, the CSJ Awards have brought over 70 winning voluntary groups to the attention of the national media and policy makers and a total of £223,250 has been given out to date.

Mark recently visited Medway MAGIC during their meeting at Woodies Youth Centre to hear for himself how the group is helping provide support to parents of children with Autism.

MAGIC stands for Medway Autism Group Information Centre and the group was formed to provide information and support to parents by parents whom themselves live with Autism.

In their own words:

Having an Autistic child is demanding in itself and often there is little time to find out more about Autism. Collectively we have a vast amount of information and experiences and are able to help each other get the best for our children. The children also benefit from having a network of friends.

MAGIC offers a point of contact for information on all aspects of Autism and co-existing conditions. We also aim to meet your child’s needs and make each event as individual and suitable as possible.

Speaking after the visit, Mark said:

“I was tremendously impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication shown by all the volunteers and parents at Medway MAGIC.

I know from my own MP casework that having a child with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome or Autistic Syndrome (ASD) can be challenging in terms of finding the right help and advice. Having a local community network like MAGIC who can offer the support that parents need is very welcome.

Medway MAGIC has done a great job in raising awareness of the issues surrounding children with Autism and I found the meeting really constructive.

I’d like to thank all the parents and volunteers who gave up their time to meet me and I am proud to offer my support to both Medway MAGIC and Strood Community Project by way of nominating them for the CSJ Awards.

I was originally seeking to submit one group for this year’s awards, but having seen the fantastic work that is being undertaken by both organisations I simply couldn’t choose one over the other.

Though Strood Community Project and Medway MAGIC work with the public in different ways, they share a common purpose in helping tackle the underlying causes of social problems and challenges faced by the community here in Rochester and Strood and beyond. I wish them both well."

Responding to the nomination, Kate Broom of Strood Community Project said:

“We are a non-profit organisation so the work we do isn’t rewarded with a large bonus or a pay cheque. We rely on volunteers to give up their time to help others so having some recognition for all their effort is our bonus.

It is fantastic to have been nominated for this award and I know it will mean a lot to the people of Strood who have been there to support us since we started in 2006.”

To find out more about how Medway MAGIC and Strood Community Project are working to help our community, please visit their respective websites here and here.


Monday, 7 February 2011

Mark Reckless MP Helps Out Local Students

Mark Reckless MP was very pleased to help out students at the University of Kent's Centre for Journalism.

Mark joined fellow Kent MP Tracey Crouch during the student's most recent news day where teams are tasked with producing 15 minute news broadcasts as part of their course.

Student Laura Hartmann welcomed Mark's help:

"For us as students, it was great getting a sitting MP into our tv studio as a live guest - especially as it was the first ever TV news day for us second years."

Mark responded by saying:

It's great to be asked and to be able to assist local students when I can. I really enjoyed the experience and would like to wish everyone involved the very best with their studies."


Thursday, 3 February 2011

Mark Reckless MP On Unjustified CRB Checks

Mark Reckless MP discusses the issue of councils carrying out unjustified CRB checks for job applicants


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Mark Reckless MP: The Case For An In/Out Referendum On Europe

Speaking yesterday (1st February 2011) in the House of Commons during the debate on the European Union Bill, Mark Reckless MP puts forward the case for a straight In/Out Referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union.


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Mark Reckless MP Assured Ahead Of Digital Handover

Local MP Mark Reckless has received reassurances from Ed Vaizey MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, that residents in Rochester and Strood will not be left behind when the analogue signal is switched off in 2012.

Mark Reckless MP asked the Minister what steps his department planned to take to assist the elderly and people on low incomes with the planned transition from analogue to digital television and received the following response;
Mr Vaizey:

Mr Vaizey: The Government and the BBC have set up the Digital Switchover Help Scheme (DSHS) to offer those 75 or over, disabled and visually impaired people and care home residents practical help to make the switch to digital television on one of their sets.

We estimate that over 7 million households will be eligible for help through the switchover period.

By January 2011, DSHS had mailed nearly 4 million people and completed 430,000 installations and deliveries.

Participating in the scheme costs a subsidised £40. However, help is available free of charge where the eligible person is also in receipt of certain income related benefits.

The help scheme is rolled out in each TV region as switchover approaches and every eligible person in that region is contacted directly by post in the run up to switchover.

The help scheme will:

- provide easy-to-use equipment that suits a person's needs;

- help with installing equipment;

- fit a new dish or aerial, where they can, if it is needed to make the new equipment work;

- give people an easy-to-understand demonstration of how everything works;

- provide a free telephone support service and a comprehensive network of trained and accredited installers that will be able to deal with any queries about installation or use; and

- develop links with local charities and voluntary groups to identify ways in which they can help support aspects of the Help Scheme.

The scheme is funded through £603 million ring-fenced within the BBC's licence fee income over the period of switchover.

Mark also asked what steps will be taken to alleviate the difficulties which many households in Rochester and Strood currently experience with digital television reception ahead of the analogue switch off;

Mr Vaizey: In common with other areas of the UK yet to undergo digital switchover, it is the case that reliable coverage of digital terrestrial television (Freeview) signals is currently unlikely to be available in some parts of Rochester and Strood. The primary reason for this is that until digital switchover takes place, the power of the digital transmitters is necessarily restricted to relatively low levels in order to prevent interference being caused to the existing analogue signals. However, when switchover takes place, the power of the digital transmitters will be raised to, on average, 10 times their current levels which will significantly extend their coverage. By the time that the nationwide switchover process is complete, digital TV signals will reach the same number of households as the analogue signals they replace (approximately 98.5% of the UK population).

Viewers in Rochester and Strood can potentially receive signals from a number of TV regions. Viewers that receive Meridian and London ITV services will switch fully to digital in 2012; while any that receive Anglia ITV services will switch later this year.