Chairman Opens New Playground

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Chigwell, Community, Grants, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Ribbon cutting at the new Limes Farm Playground

Some of the district`s youngest residents put the latest play equipment to the test when they joined Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council at Limes Farm on Tuesday 18 November 2008.

Pictured right – from left to right are Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council with Lee, Mark, Rianna and Lily Jo open the new Limes Farm Playground

Proving he is no slouch when it comes to climbing frames, Councillor Knapman entered into the spirit of the occasion by testing some of the equipment for himself. Also celebrating the official opening of the new playground, funded with a grant of £58,000 from the National Lottery, was Chigwell Parish Council Chairperson, Councillor Christine Buttling.

The refurbished bridge forms the centre-piece of the new Limes Farm Playground

Chairman John Knapman with residents by the climbing wallThe new play equipment is part of the ongoing community investment by Epping Forest District Council and our partners at Limes Farm, said District Council Leisure and Young People Portfolio Holder, Councillor Heather Harding. Everything except the play-bridge is brand new. There are new swings and swivels of different kinds, a climbing wall, slides and rocking horses. I hope local children will enjoy many happy days of play.

Pictured right – District Council Chairman, Councillor John Knapman shows he still has his playground skills with Limes Farm residents Lily Jo, Lee and Angel, District Council Leisure and Young People Portfolio Holder, Heather Harding and Chigwell Parish Council Chairperson, Councillor Christine Buttling

Councillor Harding added: The project has been well received by local residents who were consulted on what equipment they thought the playground should have. This is exactly what the Big Lottery Funding is aimed at – enhancing the opportunities for local children to enjoy free play activities in an exciting and stimulating environment.

Limes Farm residents enjoying the new facilities

Epping Forest District Council was recently awarded a total of £243,000 from the Big Lottery Fund Children`s Play Programme to provide and improve play opportunities in the District. Following an audit of play facilities, three areas were selected to benefit from playground refurbishment schemes; Limes Farm in Chigwell, Nazeing and Abridge. The Limes Farm children`s playground was the first to be completed.

Lee, Mark, Rianna, Lily Jo and Angel were not put off by the rain as they played on the new equipment supervised by their mums and dads. Councillor Knapman said: The weather was pretty bad but no-one seemed to mind. It was a very enjoyable morning.

Bursary Scheme for Sports and the Arts

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Grants, Our activities, Out and about, Young people, Your area, Your council

Sports and Arts Activities

Epping Forest District Council is encouraging applications from talented young people in the district to apply for Leisure Bursary Awards. The Scheme provides two £1,500 awards each year – one for the Arts and one for Sport. Applicants must be aged 13 to 25 and be able to demonstrate an outstanding talent for their activity. The Awards are intended to help pay for additional opportunities to further develop this talent.

Last year the Bursary for Arts was awarded jointly to Somalia Seaton and Nichola Miles. Somalia received funding to support her theatre production at the National Student Drama Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her work received great reviews and Somalia gained a wealth of experience. Nichola was a winner of a competition to design marketing material for St Clare Hospice and the Bursary Award helped to fund much-needed equipment for her to enable her to complete her course at Harlow College. She has since gained a place at Hertford University where she is studying Graphic Design and Illustration.

Jim Lewis was the 2008 Sports Bursary Winner. Jim is part of the British Cycling Talent Team and races at international level. The award enabled Jim to purchase a bespoke bike which will help him towards his ultimate goal of representing GB at the 2012 Olympics.

Full details and application forms are available from Lynne Hague, on 01992 564551. Closing date for applications is 30 January 2009 and interviews will be held mid-February.

Spurs Star Gets Tenants Active

Written on . Posted in Community, Older people, Our activities, Out and about, Sports, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community

Match of the Day came to Waltham Abbey on Monday 27 October 2008. Spurs and England defender Jonathan Woodgate was the star attraction at the launch of a new project designed to get older residents fit and active. Mr Woodgate launched the HOPE (Helping Older People Exercise) project at Jubilee Court, Epping Forest District Council`s sheltered housing scheme in Waltham Abbey, 24 hours after the announcement of Harry Redknapp`s appointment as the new Spurs manager and the team`s first Premier League win of the season.

Spurs and England defender Jonathan Woodgate with Jubilee Court residents

Match of the Day presenter Mark Bright who scored over 200 goals during a glittering football career with teams including Charlton, Leicester, Millwall, Sheffield Wednesday and Crystal Palace put the questions to Jonathan Woodgate. HOPE is being delivered by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation in partnership with Epping Forest District Council via funding from the Football Foundation and Comic Relief. Football stars and Jubilee Court tenants were invited to take part in seated exercises led by the District Council`s Active Health Development Officer, David Hogg, as well as golf, bowling and baseball on the Nintendo Wii.

Match of the Day presenter Mark Bright playing the Nintendo Wii (image © Guardian Newspapers)

After the workout with tenants Jonathan Woodgate and Mark Bright also tried out a special back massage therapy.

Chairman John Knapman at the launch of the HOPE project (image © Guardian Newspapers)Councillor John Knapman, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council demonstrated his golfing skills on the Wii and took part in the seated exercise. He thanked Spurs and congratulated the club on the expansion of its work within the local community.

He said: I am very proud of the close links forged in recent years between Spurs and Epping Forest District Council. We already have a very strong track record working with young people on housing estates such as Limes Farm in Chigwell. This latest initiative with our older people is very welcome. Spurs is much more than `big business`. It is showing it takes its community role seriously too.

HOPE is a 30 week programme being delivered at Jubilee Court by Spurs in partnership with Epping Forest District Council and other organisations. Tenants will also get the chance to try out yoga and visit the home of Tottenham at White Hart Lane. If the scheme proves successful, it is hoped to expand it into the London Boroughs of Haringey and Enfield.

Black History Month

Written on . Posted in Community, Museum, Older people, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw an African Prince

As part of Black History Month, the Epping Forest District Museum website is showing a film it commissoned for last year`s commemoration of the the Abolition of Slavery. The film is a narrative of the most remarkable particulars in the life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw an African prince, written by himself.

James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw was captured into slavery when he was a child. Many years later, when he was living in England, he recorded his life story. His memories of Africa, New York, London, Colchester and Norwich were published in 1774. The book is believed to be the first slave narrative to be published in Britain.

Watch the webcastWebcast of James Akawsaw Gronniosaw – an African Prince (opens in a new window)

This film shows extracts from the book and is part of the touring exhibition `The Longest Journey: from Slavery to Abolition`, by Epping Forest District Museum, which looks at Essex links with the slave trade and its abolition.

Epping Town Link

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Out and about, Your area, Your community, Your home

Epping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities team, in partnership with the local Police and stores in Epping have joined together to provide a Town Link / Shop Watch Service.

A total of ten shops along Epping High Street will be provided with a hand-held two-way radio to communicate with and alert each other to incidences of crime such as shoplifting.

The radios enable shopkeepers to warn others of any suspicious activity or people quickly and easily. The Council has funded the initial ten radios for the first year at a cost of £3,000, after which the shops will pay for the service. The local Police and Safer Communities Team at the Council will also have radios so that they can react to any incident very quickly and provide assistance if necessary.

Group shot of members of the Epping Forest Safer Communities Partnership

Pictured above are members of the Epping Forest District Safer Communities Partnership. On the top row from left to right are Ryan Scott (Manager of Scott Sports), Colin Freeman (Essex Watch Co-ordinator), Paul Southgate (Epping Forest District Council ASB Investigator), Jonathan Baldwin (Essex Police Chief Inspector) and Craig Carrington (Essex Police Inspector). On the bottom row from left to right are Councillor Syd Stavrou (Epping Forest District Council), Norma Harrison (PCSO – Police Community Support Officer, Caroline Wiggins (Epping Forest District Council Safer Communities Manager) and Gary Harrington (NSO – Neighbourhood Specialist Officer).

Councillor Syd Stavrou Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder said: The introduction of the Epping Town Link will allow shop workers to communicate more frequently about problems they are currently experiencing and hopefully prevent would-be shoplifters from succeeding. This will provide a safer and better environment for local shoppers.

Chief Inspector Jonathan Baldwin Epping Forest District Commander said: This is an excellent Partnership initiative which provides support to local town businesses. The use of the radios will assist my Officers in preventing and detecting crime directed at the retail trade.”

Buckhurst Hill Green Festival

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Community, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community

Buckhurst Hill`s annual green festival is returning for it`s third year on Saturday 27 September 2008. Organised by the Buckhurst Hill town centre partnership and Epping Forest District Council, the festival is taking place in the upper car park on Queen`s Road and along the rest of Queen`s Road between 11am and 4pm.

This green family fun day is organised each year to bring the Buckhurst Hill community together and show people how they can live healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyles. Demonstrations, stalls and activities will be running throughout the day to show how saving energy can also save you money.

The Essex Energy Efficiency Advice Centre (EEAC) will be their demonstrating micro renewable solar hot water panels, etc and giving away free low energy light bulbs. The Leisure Gardens Association will be on hand providing advice on organic gardening, and Waitrose supermarket will provide tasty organic snacks for everyone to sample. West Essex PCT will be available to give advice on healthy living and the Council`s recycling advice trailer will be there to provide information on the waste and recycling service provided by the Council. A Honda hybrid car will be on display.

A highlight of the day will be a theatre play, about walking to school, called `What if it rains?` for children up to 12 years of age. A treasure hunt has been organised along Queen`s Road where they will be able to win prizes. A bouncy castle and face painters will also be there to make the day as much fun as possible. Some local shops will be running special promotions for the day to showcase the best of Buckhurst Hill.

North Weald 90 Year Commemorative Window

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North Weald 90 Year Commemorative Window

On Sunday 14 September 2008, the beginning of Battle of Britain Week, stained glass window was unveiled at North Weald Airfield Museum, commissioned to commemorate the airfield’s 90 year Anniversary, which occurred in 2006.

The project has been supported by voluntary contributions from the RAF, RAFA, several RAF Squadron associations, the Spitfire Association, Essex County Council, Epping Forest District Council, North Weald Saturday Market and many museum association members and private individuals. All those who contributed have a deep feeling for the airfield and an appreciation of what the men and women who served there throughout two world wars did for the safety of this country.

The total raised was in excess of £12,000 and the unveiling was done by the Museum Association’s President, Lord Norman Tebbit, who himself flew from North Weald with the RAF in the 1950’s.

Military flying commenced at North Weald in August 1916 when the Royal Flying Corps began operations during World War 1. From then until 1958 when the airfield was stood down as an RAF station, it was in the forefront of the defence of London and it`s community. Since then commercial flying, the restoration of historic aircraft, leisure flying and gliding, plus a host of other recreational uses have kept this historic site an active and vibrant airfield.

North Weald Commemorative Window detail of airmenNorth Weald Commemorative Window detail of aircraft

In 2006 an appeal was launched to raise funds to pay for the design and construction of a stained glass window to be mounted in the museum to commemorate the 90 Year anniversary of the airfield. Sufficient money has been donated for the work to be commissioned and the completed window is shortly to be installed in the museum entrance lobby.

The sum raised is still slightly short of the £12,000 required to complete the project so any further donations would be gratefully received.

    Cheques should be made payable to the 90 Year Commemorative Fund and sent to:

  • The 90 Year Commemorative Fund
    c/o Ad Astra House
    Hurricane Way
    North Weald
    Essex CM16 6AA


Local Hero to Carry Flag in Beijing

Written on . Posted in Community, Media, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community

Local athletics hero Danny Crates has been given ‘the greatest honour an athlete can have’ after being chosen to carry the Paralympics Team GB flag at the Paralympic Games opening ceremony in Beijing tomorrow (Saturday 6 September 2008).

Danny Crates pictured with his Gold Medal at the Olympic  business breakfast in December 2007Danny, aged 35, from Maldon in Essex, is part of a 36-strong athletics team competing in Beijing. He will be defending his T46 (arm amputee) 800m title won in Athens four years ago.

Danny was recently welcomed as guest of honour at a Business Breakfast hosted by Epping Forest District Council. In an speech to local business people he encouraged them to reap the benefits of London 2012 with an inspirational account of his journey from crash survivor to Olympic champion. After the tragedy in which he lost his arm, he described how he rebuilt his life and was inspired to strive for Olympic glory. He returned to playing rugby and trained to become a scuba diving instructor. He had a surreal job swimming as a one-armed diver with sharks in a sea-life centre.

He described his disappointment in not winning the 400 meter Gold in Sydney where he came third. Where most people saw Bronze as a fantastic result, he used it as the driving force to achieve his real ambition and switched to 800 meters. He achieved not only the Gold Medal in Athens but then went on to become World Champion two years later.

Danny has been training hard for Beijing and hopes that London 2012 will not be too late for him but he understands the profound impact the Olympic and Paralympic Games has had on his life.

Councillor Mrs Heather Harding, Leisure and Young People Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: Anyone who has listened to Danny or seen him in action on the track will know what a great example he sets. It was marvellous to listen to him tell his story at the Business Breakfast. For an athlete, few honours can compare to being asked to carry the flag at the Paralympic Games. He is a fantastic choice and I know the whole country will be willing him on to further glory.”

Future Sports Stars Join Council for Olympic Handover

Written on . Posted in Community, Doing business with the council, Older people, Out and about, Sports, Young people, Your community, Your council

The Olympic flag flies in Epping

Three of Epping Forest District`s brightest 2012 prospects joined Youth Councillors and Councillors on Sunday 24 August 2008 for the raising of an Olympic Flag. The ceremony was to mark the handover of the Olympic Games from Beijing to London. Runner Katherine Sparke (20) from Waltham Abbey, swimmer James Hollis (16) from Theydon Bois and cyclist Jim Lewis (15) from Buckhurst Hill raised the London 2012 Flag with District Council Chairman John Knapman at the Civic Offices in Epping. Similar flags were raised across the country and at British embassies around the world.

Watch the webcast

Olympic Flag Raising Ceremony webcast (opens in a new window)

Epping Forest sporting and the Chairman with the London 2012 Olympic flag

Councillor Knapman was delighted to be involved in the nationwide event. In his previous capacity as Leader of Epping Forest District Council he energetically supported the London Olympic Bid. He said: It was a great honour for me. I strongly believe in the values of the Olympic Games. The fantastic success of Team GB over the last two weeks has boosted the whole country. I also think there are much wider benefits of encouraging people to get fit and participate in sport. Epping Forest District is well placed for the Games, close not only to the main 2012 events in Stratford but even closer to the canoeing at Broxbourne.

Council Chairman raises the Olympic flag

He added: Katherine, James or Jim could be among the 2012 competitors and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see one of them receive an Olympic medal. Each of them has already demonstrated skill, ability and great determination in their chosen fields and I am very proud of their association with the Council.

Guests at the Olympic flag raising ceremony in Epping

The flag will fly at the Civic Offices until 30 September, after which it will be held at Epping Forest District Museum as a lasting memento of the historic occasion.

Youth Bus Visits District

Written on . Posted in Community, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community

Members of the Epping Forest Young People`s Action Group will be pulling together to run some additional `drop-in` activity sessions for young people over the summer evenings.

The partnership group, (YPAG), which looks at the key issues affecting young people in the district will be running activities and outreach services at the two, popular open sites of Stonards Hill, Epping and the Ninefields area in Waltham Abbey.

In addition to summer activity programmes organised by Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Youth Service, partnership working staff from both organisations will be joined by professionals from Tottenham Hotspur Football Foundation, Connexions, Drugsline and Voluntary Action Epping Forest to run a series of six sessions from 6.30pm to 9.30pm at the two sites.

Nick Robinson, Young Persons` Officer of Epping Forest District Council and a Young People`s Action Group partnership member explained the initiative: The Young People`s Action Group uses strategic resources to identify gaps in young peoples` provision and add additional value, where possible, to the services provided by the membership organisations. Last year, we recognised that Stonards Hill and Ninefields were very popular meeting places for young people, so as a partnership we decided we should organise some optional outreach services at these sites.


The Essex Youth Bus comes complete with games consoles, comfy seating, a television and drinks machine and an information and advice stand. During the school term time it visits rural sites in the Epping Forest District twice a week, along with a small team of youth workers. For these additional summer sessions, sports activities, competitions and prizes will all be running adjacent to the bus.


The planned ideas and activities taking place have been mostly suggested by the Epping Forest Youth Council. Youth Councillor Sam Foley of Waltham Abbey said: Some groups of young people who hang out at these parks will probably not be interested in taking part in anything. However, some people will appreciate them.

Youth Councillor Rosie Sheriff of Epping added: It is really good that advice organisations such as Drugsline and Connexions will be coming along to chat with young people who might need someone to talk to.

The Youth Bus Sessions will take place at the following times:

Epping, Stonards Hill Playing Fields:
  • Tuesday 12 August 2008 from 6.30pm to 9.30pm
  • Tuesday 19 August 2008 from 6.30pm to 9.30pm
  • Thursday 28 August 2008 from 6.30pm to 9.30pm


Waltham Abbey, Ninefields:
  • Wednesday 20 August 2008 from 6.30pm to 9.30pm
  • Friday 29 August 2008 from 6.30pm to 9.30pm

The sessions are open to any young person, aged 11 to 19 years old. Local young people are encouraged to come along during the first sessions and say what they would like to see happening in the future weeks.