Pupils learn life lessons at Crucial Crew 2017

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Over 1,338 Year 6 pupils from Epping Forest took part in Crucial Crew, a week of interactive days to educate young people about staying safe, fit and healthy.

Crucial crew 2017

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Crucial Crew experience

Crucial crew teaches children how to tackle the dangers they may encounter in everyday life and encourages them make sensible decisions about personal safety and lifestyle choices.

This year the annual event was hosted at Debden House Centre in Loughton for a week from 12 June 2017 to 16 June 2017.

Over the week the children took part in 10 scenarios including

  • Road safety (Essex County Council)
  • Vehicle blind spots (Sainsbury’s)
  • Building sites – dangers and hazards (Mears)
  • Healthy relationships (Safer Places and Epping Forest District Council)
  • Drugs and alcohol (Adas)
  • Bullying (Red Balloon Learner Centres)
  • Internet safety (Essex Police)
  • Healthy lifestyles (ACE – Anglian Community Enterprise)
  • Ambulance (East of England Ambulance Service)
  • Fire safety escape plans & smoke alarms (Essex County Fire & Rescue Service)

Untitled

(Left to right – council Community Health and Wellbeing Manager, Gill Wallis, Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder Councillor Gary Waller, council Chairman Councillor David Stallan, The High Sheriff of Essex, Simon Hall, Community Engagement Officer at Essex County Fire & Rescue Paul Fenwick, council Vice Chairman Councillor Richard Bassett, council Safer Communities Manager, Caroline Wiggins)

VIP visit

Epping Forest District Council’s Chairman, Councillor David Stallan was welcomed to the event by council organisers, alongside other VIP’s including the High Sheriff of Essex, Simon Hall, Vice-Chairman, Councillor Richard Bassett, Councillor Gary Waller and Councillor Helen Kane for an informative and enjoyable visit.

Fun way to learn

Councillor David Stallan, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council said: “Crucial Crew is a fun way to prepare children to remain safe in a variety of emergency situations and to be aware of dangers they are likely to encounter as they advance through life. This fantastic and well-supported event allows us to offer awareness and safety advice to our young people just as they’re ready to take a big step in their lives and go to secondary school.”

”It leaves our children with the right skills and knowledge to keep themselves safe, both now and in the future. I enjoyed my short visit and was pleased to see how the different agencies work together to provide this to the kids”

Life lessons

Councillor Helen Kane, Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder said: “All children who attended Crucial Crew will take home a wristband with a link to the Crucial Crew pages which includes advice on dealing with challenging or potentially harmful situations. They can also find out more information about the scenarios they have seen and how to make positive choices regarding their own behaviour. I hope the children remember and use the lessons from Crucial Crew, which one day might save their lives.”

“Crucial Crew is organised and facilitated by the council’s Community Health and Wellbeing team but could not take place without the hard work and continued support of partner agencies – a big thank you to all involved.”

Further information

What’s on? Summer holiday activities week 1

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Health, Loughton, Museum, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment, Your home

Need ideas for kids activities this summer? See what we have planned for the first week of the summer holidays, Monday 24 July 2017 to Friday 28 July 2017!

Summer Activities P1

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Discover your inner artist

  • Monday 24 July 2017
  • 10:30am – 3:30pm
  • Epping Forest District Museum, 39 -41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL
  • £20 including materials

Suitable for ages 7+

Book

Tudor family fun with clay

  • Tuesday 25 July 2017
  • 12pm – 3pm
  • Epping Forest District Museum, 39 -41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL
  • £1.50

Suitable for ages 5-13

No need to book

Musical in 2 days! Charlie and the chocolate factory

  • Wednesday 26 July & Thursday 27 July 2017
  • 10am – 3pm (both days)
  • Chigwell Hall, Large marquee, Chigwell, IG7 6BD
  • £40 including materials

Suitable for ages 5+

Book

Basketball drop in!

  • Wednesday 26 July 2017
  • 2pm – 4pm
  • Roding Valley recreation ground, basketball court, Roding Road, Loughton, IG10 3BS
  • £3

Suitable for ages 10-15

Book

Tennis Activators

  • Thursday 27 July 2017
  • 4pm – 5pm
  • Roding Valley recreation ground, tennis courts, Roding Road, Loughton, IG10 3BS
  • £3

Suitable for ages 5-10

Book

Go wild: DIY grass heads

  • Thursday 27 July 2017
  • 10am – 12pm
  • Epping Forest District Council Community Services, 25 Hemnall Street, Epping, CM16 4LU
  • £4.50

Suitable for ages 6-12

Book

Be an illustrator

  • Thursday 27 July 2017
  • 10:30am – 12:30pm
  • Epping Forest District Museum, 39-41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL
  • £8

Suitable for ages 8+

Book

How to…draw, level 1

  • Friday 28 July 2017
  • 10:30am – 12:00pm
  • Epping Forest District Museum, 39-41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL
  • £8

Suitable for ages 7+

Book

Multi-sports, forest adventures and more…

We have also planned a wide range of sport, play and adventure days regularly, at multiple locations, throughout the 8 week holiday

  • Multi-sports days (book)
  • Forest adventures (book)
  • Play in the forest (no need to book)
  • Play in the park (no need to book)

Check the full brochure for locations, dates and times.

Further details

Cabinet 15 June 2017

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Grants, Leader, Local business, Media, Meetings, Our attractions, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Cabinet meeting on 15 June 2017 discussed local plan, homelessness and shopping park.

View the webcast

Shopping Park 

Next (including a Costa Coffee), TK Max, Aldi, Hobbycraft, Pets at Home and Smyths Toys have been confirmed among the tenants of the new Epping Forest Shopping Park. Councillor Anne Grigg made the announcement at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 15 June. Construction of the retail units is nearing completion with the supporting highway improvements due to finish in August. The Council expects handover on 19 June with the start of shop fitting starting a week later. The park will also set high green transport standards in Essex with 10 electric charging points.

Local Plan Implementation

Proposed masterplans covering areas in Epping, Waltham Abbey, Loughton, North Weald, Ongar, Chigwell and sites around Harlow will be produced as Epping Forest District Council works towards the implementation of the new Local Plan. The need for strategic masterplans to ensure development and infrastructure requirements across groups of sites in the same area was outlined in a report presented by Planning Portfolio Holder John Philip.

Infrastructure 

Councillor Philip explained that it was necessary to show the government-appointed inspector that the Council is taking steps to ensure that growth can be delivered in a coordinated way with necessary infrastructure provided. He emphasised that this does not mean any sites will definitely be in or out of the final Local Plan or that planning approvals have been decided or approved. No definitive decisions have as yet been taken on which sites will be included in the final draft of the Local Plan.

Councillors should be involved early without being predisposed to deciding planning applications. None of the work proposed in the report committed councillors to approving individual sites or applications.

Homelessness

Cabinet approved proposals to allocate the Homelessness Support Grant. Councillors supported the recommendations by Housing Portfolio Holder Syd Stavrou to allocate £60,000 to Genesis Housing Association to provide private sector accommodation, and £29,000 to the young parents scheme at Railway Meadow in Ongar. Further allocations will be made as additional reports come to Cabinet. 

Superfast Broadband 

Reports on the extension of superfast broadband and free wifi in town centres put forward by Technology Portfolio Holder Alan Lion were supported by Cabinet colleagues.

Overview and Scrutiny 6 June 2017

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Princess Alexandra Hospital is in special measures after its services were rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission. Senior staff from Princess Alexandra met with Epping Forest District councillors at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 6 June for an improvement plan update.

View the webcast here

  • Lance McCarthy – Chief Executive
  • Stephanie Lawton – Chief Operations Manager
  • Nancy Fontaine – Chief Nurse

Waiting times

A&E waiting times and delays in bed allocation were raised by Councillor Stephen Murray.  Stephanie Lawton apologised for the long waiting times but confirmed that patients remain safe. She said that some improvements had been made to flow and discharge of patients with support from community teams. Building works have been commissioned to extend admission facilities. Together with other plans these improvements should improve admission times. Nancy Fontaine added that where elderly patients are being admitted there is some discretion in allowing family members extra access to provide support.

Recruitment and retention

Responding to a question by councillor Aniket Patel, Nancy Fontaine outlined a number of new ward management and leadership training programmes. Councillor Yolanda Knight praised hospital staff following a ‘faultless’ recent visit. However, she also knew from experience that the quality of service varies greatly across different areas of the hospital. She raised the issue of staff morale, staff retention and the training provided to staff in dealing with difficult members of the public.

Nancy Fontaine was pleased to report that some members of staff have been with the Trust for many years. In some instances, three generations from a family are working in different areas of the hospital while many staff trained at Harlow coming back as more senior staff in later years. However, Lance McCarthy did acknowledge that recruitment was affected by the special measures issue.

Safeguarding for children

Councillor Steven Neville sought reassurance on safeguarding for children. Nancy Fontaine responded with a discussion around a culture of failing to follow policy and training. Safeguarding is now more embedded into hospital standards. She said that policies were now tough but it is probably never possible to ’do enough’.

Responding to a question by Councillor Holly Whitbread, Nancy Lawton described methods of recruitment including links with local colleges and interviews by Skype. Councillor Roger Baldwin asked about the financial deficit and plans to reduce reliance on agency workers.  Nancy Fontaine responded that there is a very clear direction to reduce reliance on temporary staff. Lance McCarthy was able to provide figures illustrating the drop in agency expenditure from more than £20m a few years ago to somewhere nearer £13m more recently.

Emergency Planning

Responding to Councillor Nigel Bedford, Lance McCarthy said that the hospital managed the recent cyber attack on the NHS thanks to internal IT protecting services and installing the relevant patches very quickly. Stephanie Lawton outlined the processes and partner agencies working together to coordinate patient discharge in a timely way. She said this was not ‘cracked yet’ but improvements were being made.

Nancy Fontaine and Lance McCarthy outlined in more depth the health and social care solutions used to address issues of patient isolation raised by Councillor Aniket Patel. Stephanie Lawton also confirmed the regular update, review and training for emergency planning situations such as the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

Lance McCarthy acknowledged the Trust has a long way to go in moving out of special measures but felt the hospital was in a much more positive position. He is also looking at the long term redevelopment or relocation of Princess Alexandra to a better site.

Caring Hospital

Committee Chairman Councillor Mary Sartin thanked Lance McCarthy, Stephanie Lawton and Nancy Fontaine for answering so many questions and offered best wishes for the future. She said that whatever the issues, the CQC report made clear that Princess Alexandra Hospital was a ‘caring’ hospital.

Corporate Plan

In other business Council Leader Chris Whitbread reminded committee members of some of the key achievements of previous years including the freeze on Council Tax for a seventh year and the development of new assets such as the Epping Forest Shopping Park. He said that the delivery of keys to residents for the first newly built council houses had taken place.  Focusing on community services he also applauded the work of the Council in attracting external funding. Local Plan development continues. The Council has listened and consulted with residents.

Councillor Whitbread continued with a description of the transformational changes being implemented across the Council leading to modern working, better use of technology and the facilitation of future service improvements. He also reminded fellow councillors of the benefits of the new leisure contract with a projected income of £20m over the next 20 years.

Other items covered by Overview and Scrutiny included:

  • Select Committees Terms of Reference
  • Select Committee membership
  • Task and Finish Panels
  • Annual Report of Overview and Scrutiny

An exciting summer for the kids!

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

If you are looking for different ways to keep the kids entertained this summer, look no further! We have an 8 week schedule of fun activities for children of all ages and abilities!

Summer Activities P1

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All ages, abilities and interests

We have a wide range of activities for children of all ages, abilities and interests, available from July to September 2017!

We are also offering our increasingly popular Disability Inclusion Project activities for children and young people with SEND. Please check the brochure for full details.

Don’t miss out

All you need to do is make sure you book in advance. It’s as easy as that!

Sport, art, adventure and many more

Whatever your children’s interests, we have something to suit!

Sport, art, adventure, play, music, gardening, textiles and many more!

Book now!

Most activities need to be booked and paid for in advance, unless otherwise indicated.

Social media story wrong

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Housing, Housing repairs, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

A social media story about tenants trashing a council house in Waltham Abbey that went viral with 700,000 views in two days was wrong. Epping Forest District Council is publicising details of what actually happened to set people’s minds at rest.

Vacant property

The property is actually vacant, the former tenant having recently passed away. The Council got the keys back at the beginning of the month and contractors were clearing it out ready for refurbishment as part of routine maintenance and upgrade before re-letting.

Mistaken assumption

Councillor Syd Stavrou, Housing Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: “Councillors became aware of a social media storm over the weekend. A very strongly worded video showing old appliances, bath, sink and other rubbish piled in the back garden was being shared very widely. It was based on the completely mistaken assumption that new tenants had moved into the house and were ripping it apart. Blame was being attached to ‘foreign’ tenants with comments about people from other countries being put before local people.”

Working hard

“In fact, the contractor clearing the house did not speak good English, leading to some confusion. However, they were actually working extremely hard to ensure the house was ready for the old fixtures and fittings to be cleared away on Monday, ready for work on the refurbishment to start with the minimum of delay.”

Must live in district for 5 years

“The Council’s housing policy says council housing applicants must have been resident in the district for a minimum of 5 years. Once the house has been refurbished, it will be let to a family in need of a new home on our housing waiting list.”

The power of social media

Councillor Stavrou, continued: “I am sorry for all the anxiety and inconvenience this has caused. These kinds of works are routine and usually cause no trouble. However, this instance shows how powerful social media can be and how careful people need to be before leaping to conclusions. We can all take lessons from it.”

Concerned? Contact the council

”I have asked our contractor to apologise to the neighbours. I will ask our contractors in future to post an explanatory card through the letter boxes of neighbouring residents before carrying out this type of work, and hopefully, next time residents have concerns, they will ring us first, before such misleading messages go viral.”

Timeline of events

1 June – The Council received the empty property keys.
2 June – The Council’s contractor inspected the property.
5 June – Asbestos report (always required before refurbishment work) requested.
9 June – AM Asbestos report received.
9 June – PM Contractors go in.

  • This property had lots of the former tenant’s (deceased) household items to be removed before refurbishment work could start.
  • Items including the bath, basin and WC are being removed and renewed.
  • Items placed in garden for collection via back gate.

12 June – Garden scheduled to be cleared today (Monday 12 June).

  • The garden will be returned to its existing condition on completion of the refurbishment.
  • Photographs are taken before work starts to make sure the house and garden are returned a good standard at the end of the refurbishment.

23 June – Planned completion date.
26 June – Inspection and return of keys for re-letting.

Switch engines off for National Clean Air Day

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Epping Forest District Council’s Environmental Health officers will visit selected schools in the district to promote the first National Clean Air Day on 15 June 2017, hoping to encourage parents to switch off car engines whilst they wait for their children.

One million people tackling air pollution together

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Potential health impact

Recently much attention has been given to the quality of the UKs air, especially within urban areas and the potential health impacts that may result from breathing in polluted air.

Small changes

National Clean Air Day provides a excellent platform to raise awareness of the impacts of poor air quality and to promote small changes to lifestyle that will reduce exposure to pollution.

Focus on idle vehicles

The focus of this years campaign is around idling vehicles, especially in and around schools.  Parents are being asked to turn their engines off when delivering and picking up their children from school.

Children are vulnerable

Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of pollution, and it is hoped that parents will also consider the impacts of idling engines on the residents that live close to their child’s school.

Sustainable travel

Schools are being provided with information to increase the numbers of children that travel to school by sustainable methods, such as on foot, cycling, electric vehicles, or public transport.

40,000 deaths per year

Polluted air is thought to contribute to 40,000 deaths every year in the UK, and is responsible for the worsening of respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma.

Air pollution increases the risk of getting lung cancer, contributing to 1 in 13 cases, and exposure over a long period of time is linked to cardiovascular disease. Premature births, and low birth weights are linked to air pollution which also affects a baby’s lung development early in life too.

What can you do?

We are asking you to pledge to do one or all of the following on 15 June 2017

  • Leave your car at home – walk or cycle instead
  • Switch your engine off instead of idling
  • Walk your children to school
  • Share tips to cut air pollution with others

Further information

Essex Police Bank Holiday advice

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chigwell, Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Residents and visitors to the county are advised they may see armed officers patrolling in places they may not usually.

Bank Holiday weekend

This Bank Holiday weekend is set to be hot and sunny and thousands of people will be out enjoying our countryside and coast.

Armed and specialist police

The move to have armed and specialist police officers patrolling ports, airports, railway stations as well as in places where people gather in crowds like seaside towns is as a response to the national threat level being raised to critical.

”Enjoy yourself, don’t change plans”

Chief Superintendent Ewen Wilson said: “My message to people this Bank Holiday is please enjoy yourselves this weekend and don’t change your plans.

Don’t be alarmed

“You may well see armed police officers and other specialist units this weekend. Please don’t be alarmed if you see them. It doesn’t mean they’re responding to a specific threat and there is no intelligence on any threat with an Essex link.

Say hello!

“Police officers with guns can look unusual, but please come and talk to us. Say hello, introduce yourself. We are asking officers to work long hours keeping Essex safe and a hello and a smile will top up our energy levels.”

Extra security checks

Anyone travelling or attending an event this weekend may need to allow some more time if there are extra security checks at those events.

Further information

Technical issues with payment services

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Buckhurst Hill, Business, Business rates, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Updated information 26 May 2017 – 1pm

The automated telephone payment service is now working again and all services are now working as normal.

Thank you for your patience and sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you.

Updated information 26 May 2017 – 10am

Great news! Card payment services are now available online and on-site.

We are still experiencing issues with our automated telephone payment service, so this is unavailable at present.

Our systems are being monitored closely by our supplier and we will continue to provide updates on our website as soon as they become available.

Thank you again for your continued patience, we are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you.

Original message 25 May 2017 – 2pm

We are currently experiencing technical issues with our payment services.

Self serve online

We are unable to accept card payments

  • over the phone, including through our automated payment line
  • at our kiosks in Epping, Loughton Broadway, Limes centre Chigwell or Waltham Abbey Library
  • the online payment system

They’re working on it

Our supplier is working hard to resolve the issue as soon as possible and we will update the website as soon as service resumes.

Cash or cheque

If you need to make a payment, we are only able to accept cash or cheque payments at Civic offices in Epping High Street and at the Loughton Broadway office.

Thank you

Thank you for your patience at this time, we apologise for any inconvenience this has caused you.

Improved Nazeing Triangle nature reserve

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Health, Local business, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

The Nazeing Triangle Nature Reserve has a brand new and accessible jetty, thanks to the hard work of Countrycare, their loyal volunteers and the Tesco, Bags of Help project.

New jetty at Nazeing Triangle LNR

Click on the photos below to begin slideshow

Habitat and access improvements

Countrycare received £8,000 in funding to help improve Nazeing triangle nature reserve’s habitat for local wildlife and provide better access for visitors.

The money was raised by the Tesco 5p carrier bag charge, which is to be used for grants to improve local parks, hold community events, support sports groups and more, in association with Groundwork – the community charity with a green heart.

Water boatmen, beetles and dragonflies

The project’s second stage was finished on Thursday 4 May 2017, following the installation of 23 pre-planted coir mats.

The mats were planted with purple loosestrife, yellow flag iris and lesser pond sedge, these will help improve the habitat around the pond edge, making it a more desirable habitat for invertebrates such as water boatmen, diving beetles and dragonflies.

Improved access

A short path leading to the jetty and a handrail alongside the boardwalk have both been installed to make the Nazeing Triangle nature reserve more accessible for everyone to enjoy.

New information panel

The final stage of the project will be the installation of a new information panel, it is hoped this will happen in the summer months.

Encouraging wildflowers

Countrycare have also given the meadow it’s yearly cut, this will help encourage wildflowers to grow and prevent coarser grasses taking over.

More information