Award-winning volunteer team

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Epping Forest District Museum and Lowewood Museum Collections Volunteers team have won the Collections Champion Award from SHARE Museums East.

Andrew and Sarah Goodliffe, 2 of our volunteers, attended the celebration evening at Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket on Wednesday 6 June to collect the award on behalf of the whole volunteering team. Our team was 1 of 11 from the East of England to be shortlisted for this award.

Andrew and Sarah SHARE awards

Our Volunteers

With only 1 full-time specialist Collections Officer the museum relies on the help and care the team of volunteers bring to the collection to fulfil its potential. In making their decision the judges considered the team’s passion, commitment, dedication and initiative.

Our core team of collections volunteers consist of 12 members. We have 3 volunteers who work on the garden and 2 front of house volunteers. At the moment there are a further 12 volunteers working on specialist projects and exhibitions; the largest cohort has recently been researching Hertfordshire man Stephen Warner for the current exhibition Stephen Warner: One Man’s Journey through War at Lowewood Museum.

Group photo of winners at SHARE Museums East award ceremony

Volunteers’ Week

This week, 1–7 June, is Volunteers’ Week, a chance to thank all volunteers for their contribution to our service. This award, which the team were nominated for by Assistant Museums, Heritage and Culture Manager, Will O’Neill, is the perfect way to say thank you.

SHARE Museums East

SHARE Museums East, based in Norfolk, support museums in the East of England. They provide staff and volunteer training, project funding and help with collections management.

Find out more at sharemuseumseast.org.uk 

Community turn out for Freedom Parade 2018

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Community spirit was the order of the day at the 56 Squadron Freedom of the District parade and community picnic and music event, as residents came together to celebrate the RAF’s 100 year anniversary at an event in the sun, laid on by Epping Forest District Council.

Click on an image below to begin the slideshow

Battle of Britain flight and more

Onlookers enjoyed a parade by 56 Squadron through the village of North Weald, culminating in wreath laying at the Memorial at North Weald Museum, ceremonial inspection of 56 Squadron from Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Richard Bassett and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Rosemary Padfield, picnics, music and a special fly-past from a Battle of Britain Memorial flight Hurricane.

Proud moments

Epping Forest District Council’s Chairman, Councillor Richard Bassett said: “It was my privilege and honour to welcome so many residents, and the men and women of 56 Squadron on such a special occasion. It was with enormous pride that councillors took the historic vote to confer of the Freedom of Epping Forest District on 56 Squadron, as a symbol of our wider respect, friendship and affection for all those who have served and protected us over so many years.”

Thank you

“Thank you to our residents for coming and showing your continuing support for our magnificent Armed Forces. It’s been a wonderful day and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.”

Find out more

Check hygiene ratings this Food Safety Week

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As part of National Food Safety Week (4 – 10 June 2018), Epping Forest District Council has partnered with the Food Standards Agency, to shine a light on food safety and the team working to help ensure that the food we buy and eat is safe and honest.

Public Health team

Click on an image below to begin slideshow

We love our food, there’s simply no denying it. In fact, as a nation, we spent over £203 billion on food and drink last year alone. But the safety of our food is often something we take for granted. There are a whole host of people that work to keep food safe. The Council has a team of dedicated Environmental Health Officers whose job it is to inspect local food businesses to ensure hygiene standards are up to scratch.

The Rating Scheme

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme helps people choose where to shop for food and where to eat out by giving them clear information about the businesses’ hygiene standards.

Find the sticker

There are six hygiene ratings ranging from ‘0 – urgent improvement required’ to ‘5 – very good’. Businesses are given green and black stickers for display at their premises and all ratings are published online, so people can make more informed choices about where to buy and eat food. The vast majority of food businesses in and around Epping Forest are ranked generally satisfactory, good or very good.

80% rated 3 or above

80% of businesses inspected in Epping Forest received a food hygiene rating of 3 or above, under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. The scheme covers businesses supplying or serving food direct to consumers such as restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, food vans or stalls, canteens, hotels, supermarkets, schools, hospitals and care homes.

Dedicated and hard working team

Epping Forest District Council’s Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Nigel Avey said: “We have a dedicated team that work hard to ensure that food is safe in Epping Forest so that residents and visitors can dine out with peace of mind. Research shows that food hygiene when eating out is the UK’s number one food safety concern so we are really pleased that the majority of our local food businesses hold a rating of 3 or above.”

Angela Towers, Head of the Food Hygiene Rating Team at the Food Standards Agency said: “Working in partnership with Epping Forest District Council and their expert Environmental Health Officers we are dedicated to ensuring that people can trust that the food they buy and eat is safe and honest. Our Food Hygiene Rating Scheme empowers the public to make informed decisions about where to buy and eat food, it’s also proved hugely effective in driving up standards in food businesses across the country”.

Further information

Learn how to crochet and make bath-bombs

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Want to learn something new, improve your creative skills and make new friends in the community? We’re running lots of great creative workshops for adults in 2018. All our workshops cost £10 per person and are for ages 16+.

Creative workshops for adults

Fruit & veg art

  • Tuesday 26 June 2018 – 7-9pm
  • Get creative with your fruit & veg. Turn it into art for summer picnics & BBQ garnishes and serving baskets.

Learn to crochet

  • Monday 17 September 2018 – 7-9pm
  • Learn the crochet basics of how to crochet, starting at the very beginning. If you’re brand new to crochet this workshop will be perfect for you.

Pumpkin art

  • Tuesday 30 October 2018 – 7-9pm
  • Adult Pumpkin art making workshop. Learn how to carve a pumpkin with a creative different.

Bath-bomb making

  • Tuesday 20 November 2018 – 7-9pm
  • Bath bomb making workshop. Learn to make bath bombs using natural ingredients. These will make great gifts for Christmas.

Book your place now

All the workshops take place at Epping Forest District Council Community Services, 25 Hemnall Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4LU. The cost of each workshop is £10 per person and are for ages 16+ only.

Booking is essential for all workshops. Book a workshop online or call 01992 564226 to book a place.

Turn your engines off for Clean Air Day

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Epping Forest District Council’s main focus for Clean Air Day on 21 June 2018, is to help reduce air pollution by tackling idling vehicles, particularly outside schools.

clean air day

Click on an image below to begin the slideshow

Risk of hefty fines

Epping Forest District Council has adopted legislation to deal with idling cars. It is now an offence to withhold information or fail to switch off your engine if requested by an authorized officer. You could be taken to court, convicted and fined up to £1,000.  Alternatively, an on the spot fixed penalty notice of £20 can be issued by authorised officers.

Air pollution

Leaving engines running while stationary is a significant source of air pollution. Combating this is particularly important in locations where there are high numbers of idling vehicle engines, such as outside schools and hospitals. Not only is idling harmful to the environment but it can be harmful to the vehicle itself and your pocket – as it wastes fuel.

Modern cars no longer need to be warmed up in advance and the act of restarting the engine does not cause damage to the vehicles as it used to with older models. In fact, it can do more damage to keep a stationary vehicle idling than to switch off the engine.

Linked health issues

There are several health issues linked with poor air pollution including:

  • Increased respiratory conditions such as Asthma, coughs and bronchitis
  • Reduced birth weight of babies and premature births
  • Links to Lung Cancer
  • Increased risk of death from cardiac and respiratory issues
  • Possible links to incidence of Dementia, Type 2 Diabetes and Bladder Cancer

Small changes

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Nigel Avey said: “Turning off your engine when stationary is just one of the small changes that can be made to help improve poor air quality. Thursday 21 June sees the return of Global Action Plan’s “Clean Air Day” which the Council are supporting to help increase awareness and reduce air pollution.”

“We have provided local schools with toolkits and promotional materials to help them plan their own Clean Air Day events and on the day Enforcement Officers will be in place at some school gates, to help educate those who still have their engines running while waiting for their children.”

What can I do?

Some of the other small changes you can make to improve air quality include

  • Use your feet! Leave your car at home and walk! Stick to routes away from main roads and boost your steps
  • Use public transport. If it’s too far to walk, go by bus or tube – try alternative methods
  • Car share. Is there anyone you can share your journey with?
  • Maintain your car. Having well inflated tyres and an empty boot helps use less fuel
  • Getting a new car soon? Look into alternative options such as hybrid, electric or LPG

Further information

If you would like more information on Clean Air Day and how you can be involved

Have your say on rural crime

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Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, is urging people to have their say and take part in a national survey which helps to paint a picture of rural crime nationally and locally.

Rural crime survey

It has been three years since the last National Rural Crime Survey revealed the huge cost of crime to rural communities – both financial, at £800 million per year, and fear, with chronic under-reporting, anger and frustration at the police and government.

Steps taken to improve

The National Rural Crime Network produced a series of recommendations and, in many areas, the police took steps to improve matters. Essex has been one of the few forces in the country to introduce a dedicated rural team to work with communities to tackle specific rural issues. Essex Police along with partners also launched the Rural Crime Strategy in 2017.

Have your say

Safer, Greener & Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Sam Kane explained: “If you have an opinion about policing locally and want to have your say, now is the perfect time. Complete the survey before Sunday 10 June 2018.”

What has changed?

Roger Hirst said: “Now we want to know what’s changed. Do you think rural crime has gone up or down in Essex? Do you feel safer? What’s your view of the police in your community? In short, we want to know the true picture of crime and anti-social behaviour in rural communities across Essex – and the impact it has where you live or work.”

The survey is now available at www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net and is open for submissions until Sunday 10 June 2018.

Picnic, music and Parade to celebrate Freedom of the District

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Residents are invited to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF with a community picnic, parade, and music laid on by Epping Forest District Council at North Weald Airfield on Sunday 10 June 2018.

RAF 100 Parade and Picnic

March from North Weald

Members of 56 Squadron, which flew Hurricanes from North Weald, will commence proceedings as they march from North Weald Village Hall to the Airfield Gate Guardian with their newly acquired ‘Freedom of the District’ awarded by the Council last month.

Officers and members of 56 Squadron will be accompanied to the Airfield Memorial in Hurricane Way by the Epping Forest Pipe Band and the band of 56 Squadron ATC for the laying of wreaths, before proceeding to the Gate Guardian for a ceremonial inspection and afternoon of picnics and music with the Epping Forest (Brass) Band, Our Voices Choir and 1940’s style singer Diane Moore.

Free entry

Families are invited to join the celebrations at North Weald Airfield. Car parking and entry to the event is free. There will be food and drink concessions for anyone who doesn’t fancy bringing their own picnic.

The Gate Guardian is a replica of a Hurricane flown by 56 Squadron at North Weald. A Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will perform flypasts during the parade inspection.

56 Squadron is one of the oldest and most distinguished units of the RAF. Formed during the Great War, it saw service in France as part of the Royal Flying Corps before the formation of the RAF on 1 April 1918.

Long history with RAF

Although North Weald is no longer an RAF base, having been bought by Epping Forest District Council in 1980, the airfield remains the spiritual home of 56 Squadron. The Squadron moved to North Weald in 1927 and remained until 1941. While based at North Weald, it suffered the first RAF loss of World War II,  covered the retreat from Dunkirk and found itself in the thick of the fighting during the Battle of Britain.

The Freedom of the District was bestowed on 56 Squadron at a special meeting of Epping Forest District Council on 24 April.

Outgoing Council Chairman David Stallan stood down at the local elections in May. As a North Weald Ward Councillor, he was especially proud of the part he played in bringing the Freedom of the District to Full Council. However, the Freedom awarded to 56 Squadron is District-wide, reflecting the much wider local involvement of the RAF.

“A true family event”

New Council Chairman, Councillor Richard Bassett, will welcome 56 Squadron back to North Weald.

He said: “RAF 100 and the Freedom of the District is very much in recognition of the wider role played by the RAF in our area.”

“Councillors from all sides of the chamber were so united in wishing to bestow this honour. Apart from North Weald, the RAF had airfields at Stapleford Abbotts and Willingale. Blake Hall was a centre of operations and the Balloon Site at RAF Chigwell was an intelligence centre as well as providing the barrage balloons that helped to protect London. A decoy or dummy airfield was also set up in my home area of Nazeing to lure enemy bombers away from their real targets.

“Other parts of the District were real targets too, including the munitions factories of Royal Ordnance in Waltham Abbey.”

“This is therefore a district-wide celebration of the RAF and everyone is invited to join us on 10 June. It will be a true family event.”

Event details

The parade sets off from North Weald Village Hall at 12.30pm. Residents can park their cars at North Weald Airfield before the parade arrives at 1.30pm with Diane Moore bringing the music to a close at around 4.45pm.

Line the parade route

Councillor Bassett added: “It would be great to see people lining the parade route from North Weald Village Hall to the Airfield Memorial, as well as enjoying their picnics and music on the Airfield. I hope the British Summer Sun shines on us. Bring sensible shoes, sunscreen and clothing for all weathers!

Annual Council 24 May 2018

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Councillor Richard Bassett is the new Chairman of Epping Forest District Council.

His appointment follows the retirement of David Stallan. Councillor Ricki Gadsby is the Council’s new Vice-Chairman. Following the retirement of Will Breare-Hall at the local elections, Council Leader Chris Whitbread has added Councillor Nigel Avey to his Cabinet.

Chairman Cllr Richard Bassett

Click on an image below to start the slideshow

Cabinet appointments

  • Leader – Councillor Chris Whitbread
  • Assets & Economic Development – Councillor Anne Grigg
  • Environment – Councillor Nigel Avey
  • Finance – Councillor Gagan Mohindra
  • Planning & Governance – Councillor John Philip
  • Housing and Deputy Leader of Council – Councillor Syd Stavrou
  • Leisure & Community Services – Councillor Helen Kane
  • Safer, Greener & Transport – Councillor Sam Kane
  • Technology & Support Services – Councillor Alan Lion

‘What a year and what an experience’

In his closing speech to councillors, David Stallan said that he would not have missed his year as chairman for the world! Among the ‘standout’ moments of his year, Dave listed teeing off at Chairman’s Charity Golf Day, his ‘visit’ to the gym, a steam train footplate, aircraft simulator, sports events the Petanque trophy wrestled back – all in fun – two Chinese delegations, the Ongar Festival, many arts events and working with the Youth Council. As Chairman, Dave learned that a few hundred pounds can make a massive difference. Through generosity of others he raised £5,500 for local charities and Diabetes UK.

It was Dave’s sad duty to announce the passing of 11 current and former councillors during his year. Concluding with thanks to his family he noted not only ‘two great women behind me – daughter Amy and wife Sue, but also a third Pat Seager, the Chairman’s Secretary.

Praise for David Stallan

Chris Whitbread led thanks to David Stallan. During a tough year including meetings on the Local Plan, Councillor Whitbread described Dave Stallan as first class, handling himself so well as he travelled across the district by being himself and being such a ‘nice guy’.

Councillor Whitbread said: “A good chairman brings the whole council together – you had a brilliant year – thank you”.

Councillors Stephen Murray, Caroline Pond, Anne Grigg, Jon Whitehouse and Stephen Neville echoed Chris Whitbread’s words – thanking David Stallan for a brilliant year.

Communities Director Alan Hall thanked Dave Stallan on behalf of the staff recalling their years working closely together on council housing and Dave’s support for council staff.

In one of his first presentations as Chairman, Councillor Richard Bassett also had great please in presenting Dave Stallan with a long service medal for 19 years representing the residents of North Weald.

New Chairman

Richard Bassett’s nomination for Chairman was proposed by Councillor Mary Sartin. Councillor Bassett took on his first cabinet role in 2010 before accepting the role of vice-chairman last year. As a former Chairman, councillor Sartin assured Councillor Bassett that he would meet many wonderful people over the coming year.

Thanking fellow councillors for bestowing the honour of Chairman on him, Councillor Bassett particularly singled out Dave Stallan for his support over the year. Councillor Bassett is making small business his theme for the year. He will undertake to get out and meet as many businesses as possible.

As a trustee of Epping Forest Community Transport, Councillor Bassett also wants to raise its profile along with young people’s sports groups during his year as Chairman.

Key appointments

Other key appointments at Annual Council included:

  • Chairman Plans Sub Committee East– Councillor Paul Keska
  • Chairman Plans Sub Committee West– Councillor Liz Webster
  • Chairman Plans Sub Committee South – Councillor Darshan Sunger
  • Chairman District Development Management Committee – Councillor Brian Sandler
  • Chairman Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Councillor Mary Sartin

Council remembers Elizabeth Downes

Tributes were paid to former Nazeing ward councillor Elizabeth Downes who passed away on 7 May. As a fellow councillor from Nazeing, Richard Bassett shared some thoughts on his predecessor, remembered by local residents as a lovely lady.

Find out all about hedgehogs with Countrycare

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Come and learn about all things hedgehog at Epping Forest Countrycare’s annual Hedgehog Day on 30 May 2018, 11.00am – 13.00pm, at Green Acres Epping Forest, Kiln Road, North Weald.

Hedgehog day

Lots to enjoy

Learn about our spikey friends – where they live, what they eat and whether they like to party or stay in!

Make some hedgehog food for our hungry friends and create some arts and crafts inspired by the hedgehogs’ prickly looks.

Event details

  • Date: Wednesday 30 May 2018
  • Time: 11:00am – 13:00pm
  • Location: Green Acres Epping Forest, Kiln Road, North Weald, Essex, CM16 6AD
  • Cost: £3

Contact Epping Forest Countrycare for more details, on 01992 564224.

Council 24 April 18 – Freedom of the District – RAF 100 anniversary celebrations

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The ‘red carpet’ was rolled out for the Royal Air Force when the ‘Freedom of Epping Forest District’ was conferred on 56 Squadron. Wing Commander Matt Fleckney, Officer Commanding 56 Squadron, witnessed the sealing of the ‘Freedom’ with Council Chairman, Councillor David Stallan at a special meeting of Epping Forest District Council to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF on 1 April 1918.

RAF, ATC, North Weald Operations and Airfield Historian Arthur Moreton

(Click on an image to start the slideshow)

The meeting unanimously passed the motion proposed by Councillor Brian Rolfe and seconded by Councillor Anne Grigg.

“That, in the year of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918, this Council reaffirms its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant and the bonds of friendship between our Armed Forces and the people of Epping Forest District through the conferral of the Freedom of the District on 56 Squadron – the Royal Air Force”.

The District and the RAF

Epping Forest District has a long and profound relationship with the RAF. The associations stretch back as early as 1916, when the fledgling Royal Flying Corps first arrived at North Weald.

By the end of World War II, the district had three airfields at North Weald, Stapleford Abbotts and Willingale. Blake Hall had become a centre of RAF operations while RAF Chigwell – known as the ‘Balloon Site’ for its barrage balloons also became an intelligence centre. In Nazeing a dummy airfield was created in to draw enemy bombers away from their real targets.

Norwegian connections

North Weald also became an important focus of Norwegian national resistance. Escaping the invasion of their homeland, Norwegian pilots flying Spitfires under the colours of the RAF became some of the most successful squadrons of WWII.

Squadron 56

However, 56 Squadron has by far the longest relationship with the District. Based at North Weald from 1927 until 1941, 56 Squadron’s honors include Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. The 56 Squadron Standard is displayed in St Andrew’s Church, North Weald.

Personal accounts and tributes

Before opening the debate to Councillors, Councillor Stallan broke with convention by asking the Council’s Director of Communities, Alan Hall to read a personal statement. Alan Hall, spoke with pride of his father, Sergeant Bill Hall, an instrument maker who worked on the Hurricanes of 56 Squadron at North Weald. In later years, Bill Hall left no doubt of his affection for the ‘Fighting 56’ frequently reminding his family how it was his job to turn on the light at the top of St Andrew’s Church tower to guide the pilots safely back the base after dark.

Councillors spoke with emotion. An RAF veteran in his own right, Councillor Rolfe led the calls for the ‘Freedom’ to be conferred. Councillor Stephen Murray spoke of the military traditions of his own family and the insight he had received through his brother’s RAF service.

Councillor Chris Pond described the history of a previous owner of his house in Loughton – a young RAF officer shot down and killed in defence of his country. Councillor Anne Grigg joined Councillor Murray is speaking of the proud record of 56 Squadron and it’s sad distinction of being the first RAF squadron to lose a pilot – killed in action – in World War II.

Councillor Jon Whitehouse spoke of joining the Chairman only a few days previously to rededicate a war memorial, counting the cost of war and what we ask members of the armed services to do.

Perhaps the most moving contribution from Councillor Syd Stavrou described the loss of the father she never knew – part of a Lancaster crew, shot down and killed in Germany months before she was born.

Freedom accepted

Wing Commander Matt Fleckney was joined in the Council Chamber by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex Michael Chapman and officers of 56 Squadron. He took great pleasure in accepting the Freedom of the District. Describing North Weald as the ‘Spiritual Home’ of 56 Squadron, the Wing Commander also reflecting on the RAF’s wider connections across the district, the ‘finest hour’ in the sky above, the jet age and some of the brave people who did not return.

56 Squadron will exercise the Freedom of the District with a parade from North Weald Village Hall to the Airfield Gate Guardian on Sunday 10 June.

Other business

In keeping with protocol, the agreement to confer the Freedom of the District concluded the business of the extraordinary meeting of Full Council. Following a short break, the second meeting of the evening convened at 8pm with a minutes silence to remember former councillors Ron Braybrook and Peter Riley, plus Peter Adams, an independent member of the Standards Committee since December 2012.

Portfolio Holders answered questions on a range of subjects including:

  • Lorry parking in Waltham Abbey
  • Food banks
  • Progress towards the redevelopment of the St John’s Road area of Epping
  • The Local Plan
  • Pollution caused by stationary cars with idling engines
  • Recycling (Epping Forest District Council’s domestic recycling is the 22 highest of all 350 English councils)
  • Additional council funded police officers due to begin work in June
  • The completion of a £1.1million refurbishment of Epping Sports Centre and plans to provide even better sports facilities for residents in the future
  • Epping Forest Shopping Park, the Broadway and its new Landmark Building
  • Sport and Leisure Centre water quality at Loughton and Ongar
  • Council House building programme
  • Electoral Review
  • The Restore charity
  • Waltham Abbey’s new leisure centre due for completion in November
  • Reduced price home composting bins
  • Voluntary Action Epping Forest