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Councillor Belinda Ridout has made promoting community life her priority after being voted in as the new mayor of Gillingham.

‘Gillingham is known widely as a friendly place, unique, with great community spirit,’ councillor Rideout told the annual town council meeting on Monday night.

‘Gillingham is built upon goodwill and people with a desire to help each other and friendship and so, it is important that we thank and acknowledge those in the community who regularly and unquestioningly give their time on a voluntary basis,’ she said.

Councillor Ridout, who replaces Councillor Barry Von Clemens as mayor, said she was launching two specific community-based initiatives. One is called HELPP!! , short for ‘HELP EACH-OTHER, LOVE PEOPLE & PLACES!!’. ‘It is all about community and recognising those who give so much to others or contributing to improving the environment,’ she told the meeting.

The other project is called ‘Heart, Hands & Heads’, which the new mayor described as an ‘initiative to get everyone from primary age to pensioner thinking about all those who make up our community, encouraging them to give some thought and time, however small, to help someone or something’.

Councillor Su Hunt was voted deputy mayor of Gillingham at the same mayor-making meeting.

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