Trust Branches Out with Rare Freewoods Offer

Written on . Posted in Community, Countrycare, Our countryside, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Your community, Your environment

Landowners across Essex are being offered a tree-mendous opportunity – the planting of a new native woodland, completely free of charge, with the Woodland Trust.

The Freewoods offer from the Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity, takes its woodland creation programme in a new direction by seeking new partners and new locations for tree planting. The offer is expected to strike a chord with environmentally-aware landowners wishing to enhance their land for wildlife. By spring 2009 selected landowners could see their own mini-forests planted of oak, ash, birch and cherry thanks to the Woodland Trust.

Picture of a 10 year old young forest

Essex is one of three counties to pilot the Freewoods opportunity, with the Woodland Trust working alongside Essex County Council to help the authority’s aim to plant an additional 250,000 trees as part of its “Essex Works” tree planting programme.

Councillor Tracey Chapman, Essex County Council cabinet member for environment and waste said: “Our tree pledge aims to help produce a fine sustainable countryside that benefits both wildlife and people. By working with local landowners we are helping to improve and develop land that may otherwise be lost. I would encourage anyone who fits the criteria to apply. The benefits for our landscape and environment are long lasting.”

The other Freewoods pilot counties are Lancashire and Yorkshire, with some individual projects already approved elsewhere including tree planting in a new nature reserve and a new wood on land purchased to save it from development. The Freewoods offer includes site survey and advice on tree species with the Trust then planting and looking after the trees for two years. The minimum planting area per applicant is one hectare (2.5 acres).

“As a starting point all you need is the land and to share our commitment to increase native woodland cover,” said Trust project manager Peter Leeson. “The project is designed to have minimal paperwork and no bureaucracy. The pilot project has limited funds, however, and we will be choosing the best project sites from the applications we receive.”

Peter Leeson continued: “We are passionate about the need to increase native woodland cover, not only to help wildlife prosper but also to increase the quality of everyone’s lives. Of the UK’s total woodland, only one third is native broadleaf trees. An ideal new woodland area would be near ancient woodland or a site of ecological value on arable or improved grazing land. We will not plant trees on sites of high existing ecological value. We know from our work that creating new woodland can be a big decision for landowners – but we also know that more and more people want to plant or manage woods and to help wildlife and biodiversity.”

Research shows that reversing historically low woodland also offers green space for people for exercise and mental relaxation, improves water quality, reduces localised flooding, acts as a cooling influence locally and can play a role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

“Planting new native trees is vitally important to us,” Peter added. “Since the 1930’s England and Wales have lost half of their native woodland cover. England is now one of the least wooded countries in Europe, second from the bottom of the European woodland cover league.”

The Freewoods programme aims to plant trees by the end of March 2009 and has a limited budget. Interested parties should contact: Naomi Fox at the Woodland Trust by telephone on 01476 581111 or by email to naomifox@woodlandtrust.org.uk.

The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity with 300,000 members and supporters.

    The Trust has four key aims:

  1. No further loss of ancient woodland
  2. Restoring and improving the biodiversity of woods
  3. Increasing new native woodland
  4. Increasing people’s understanding and enjoyment of woodland.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). Access to its sites is free. Further news can be found on the Woodland Trust website.

Woodland Trust website (opens in a new window)

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.

Safer Communities Team Provide Halloween Treat

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

Epping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities Team joined forces with the Police for Hallowe`en to tackle complaints of nuisance. Safer Communities Officers Paul Gardener, Katie Sparks and Paul Southgate together with Tony Ellis the Police Crime Reduction Officer for the district responded to calls from the public to provide help, advice and re-assurance.

Safer Communities Officer Paul Southgate (top right) with Trick or Treaters and their parentsYoungsters with their blinky lights

The evening started with Officers speaking to groups of young people Trick or Treating to remind them not to call at addresses displaying `No Trick or Treat` posters and to encourage them to act responsibly. As an added road safety measure, officers handed out red flashing lights to make them more visible in the dark. During the course of the evening a number of addresses were attended across the whole district and Officers were able to give advice and re-assurance to residents who had reported youth nuisance.

Tony Ellis Epping Forest District Police Crime Reduction Officer said: Traditionally, Hallowe`en produces a high demand for the increased number of Police Officers on patrol. However, many of the calls we receive relate to instances of nuisance rather than an actual crime. The reason I and Safer Communities staff from Epping Forest District Council patrolled together was to relieve the pressure on Police units by attending minor incidents leaving them to deal with the more serious ones.”

Paul Gardener said: We provided support to the Police allowing Officers to deal with the more urgent calls. The co-ordination between organisations worked very well and this is a service we hope to provide each Hallowe`en.

Go Sport Volunteer Evening

Written on . Posted in Community, Loughton, Our activities, Sports, Young people, Your area, Your community

Epping Forest District Council, in conjunction with Sport Essex and Davenant Foundation School are hosting an event to link local sports organisations with potential volunteers. The Go Sport Volunteer Evening is being held between 7pm and 9pm on 19 November 2008 at Davenant Foundation School in Loughton.

Anyone aged 14 or over who is interested in sport and would like to offer their time to help others is welcome to attend this free event. This is an excellent opportunity for meeting people and possibly signing up to volunteer for a local sports club where new skills can be learned.

Following on from a club development convention earlier this year, the event will include stalls and demonstrations throughout the evening by local sports clubs and organisations trying to recruit local volunteers.

All sports across Essex rely on support and time given by volunteers. Through the Go Sports Volunteer Project, the Council and its partners have dedicated resources to increase the numbers of people volunteering in sport.

Stakeholders Rise to the Challenge

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Meetings, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

 

Local MPs, the Leader of Epping Forest District Council, the Chief Executive of the West Essex Primary Care Trust and the Western Division Chief Superintendent of Essex Police are just some of the high-profile people who have accepted the invitation of the Epping Forest Youth Council to attend an evening of debate with young people from across the Epping Forest District.

Local MPs Eleanor Laing, Eric Pickles and Bill Rammell have all agreed to take a place on the panel that will face questioning by their young local constituents from various school councils, youth groups and other backgrounds.

On the panel will also be the Leader of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Diana Collins and Deputy Chief Executive Derek Macnab, as well as Essex County Council Cabinet member Councillor Ray Gooding, Children, Young People and Families Officer Lonica Vanclay and Transport Officer, Nick Roberts. In addition, the panel will include West Essex Primary Care Trust Chief Executive Aidan Thomas, Police Chief Superintendent Timothy Stokes and renowned Musician/Actor and Youth Charity Worker Shovell, of `M-People` fame.

The panel consists of individuals who are qualified to answer questions on all of the themed topics of a recent young people`s survey, conducted by Epping Forest Youth Council.

Youth Councillor Reece Williams said: We are really encouraged by how forthcoming the panel members have been in attending the Big Youth Debate. This really sends out a positive message that authorities such as the Police, the Health Service and our local Councils want to work with young people, which is really good. We, as young people, have to make sure that we make the most of this opportunity.

Councillor Diana Collins, who has been a big supporter of the Epping Forest Youth Council said: The Youth Council have done very well to consult with over 850 of their peers. I am looking forward with interest to hearing their conclusions regarding local crime and safety, environmental and transport issues.

There are still a few places available for young people aged 11 to 19 to attend the Big Youth Debate event, which takes place at Woolston Manor Golf Club, Chigwell on Wednesday 19 November 2008 from 6:30pm. Anyone interested should contact the Council`s Young Persons` Officer Nick Robinson on 01992 564365.

Recycling Consultation Reminder

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Older people, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your home

Epping Forest District Council is reminding all residents that the chance to have their say about how they recycle is approaching its deadline. The closing date for completing the waste and recycling service questionnaire is 24 October 2008.

The survey is included in the autumn edition of the Forester and can be completed online.

You could win £100 cash prize or a home composter if you include your home address details when completing the questionnaire. Questionnaires should be returned to Environment and Street Scene, Epping Forest District Council, Freepost CL3360, Epping, CM16 4YA (no need for a stamp).

Collection of wheelie bin residual waste

However, the Council has been made aware of Royal Mail distribution difficulties with this issue and so some properties may not have received a copy. If this is the case, they are available from the Council`s Information Desks or by calling 01992 564140.

The questionnaire invites everyone to express their views on the Council`s current waste and recycling service and outlines three proposed options for change. Changing the service is necessary to enable the District to recycle more and reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill. The Council will take all comments and ideas into consideration when developing the new service.

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.”

Have Your Say on the NHS Constitution

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Older people, Residents, Supporting business, Your community, Your council

Don`t miss out on the chance to have your say on plans for the NHS Constitution – but hurry, time is running out. The NHS Constitution will record in one place what the NHS in England does, what it stands for and should live up to. It will also state how decisions affecting the NHS should be made.

The NHS Constitution is the first of its kind in the world and comes as a result of discussions with staff, patients and the public as part of the Darzi review. It declares the Government`s commitment to the NHS being a service for all, funded by taxes and based on clinical need and not an individual`s ability to pay.

It recognises the future of the NHS is too important to be left to chance. The Government will be obliged by law to renew the NHS Constitution every ten years. Any changes made will be as a result of a full and transparent debate.

The Constitution means local people will have important rights around access to drugs and treatments, health services, information, quality of care and environment, dignity and respect, complaint and redress.

West Essex PCT Chairman Alan Tobias OBE said: The NHS Constitution explains your rights as patients to make choices about your healthcare. It also sets out principles on how all parts of the NHS should act and make decisions. It describes what we can all do to make better use of the NHS. This is your opportunity to make comments about how we provide health services in the future.

Created 60 years ago the NHS has changed radically and for the better. Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson said: The content of the Constitution was not dreamt up by me or civil servants in Whitehall. It is something that has arisen out of discussions with thousands of NHS staff, patients and the public across the country. The NHS belongs to the people. I would urge everyone to take part in this consultation to ensure that the NHS is fit for the future.

More information on the consultation together with contact details can be found on the Department of Health website and you can also record your views on the NHS East of England`s blog.

The consultation on the draft NHS Constitution, run by the Department of Health, ends on 17 October 2008.

Alternate Weekly Collection Resumes

Written on . Posted in Community, Older people, Recycling and waste, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your home

Epping Forest District Council is reminding residents that residual waste (that which cannot be recycled) will be collected every other week as from the week commencing Monday 6 October 2008 on the alternate week to the recycling collection, which will continue as before. Throughout the summer months residual waste has been collected every week. However, it will now revert to alternate weekly collections until May next year. Details of collection dates can be found in the most recent edition of the Council`s waste and recycling collection calendar.

Collection of wheelie bin residual waste

Portfolio Holder for Environmental Protection Councillor Mary Sartin said: The Council responded positively to feedback from residents who wanted a weekly collection when the weather is at its warmest because of problems associated with flies, smells and maggots. However, during the cooler months the majority of residents felt they could cope with a collection every other week.

Councillor Sartin went on to say: I really appreciate the efforts of our residents and I would encourage all of them to continue with and improve upon their excellent record of recycling almost 42% of their household rubbish. In particular I would urge them to make full use of the kerbside recycling facilities the Council provides.

Councillor Sartin concluded: I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all residents to complete our public consultation on the waste and recycling service which can be found on the homepage of the Council’s website (click on the ‘« back’ button below to return to the homepage) or in the centre of the current edition of The Forester. We really need everyone`s views in order to improve and develop the service. Working together we can recycle more and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and help protect our environment.