Promoting Local Democracy Conference 2010

Written on . Posted in Business, Democracy, Supporting business, Your council

Should the voting age be lowered from 18 to 16? That’s the question members of the Epping Forest Youth Council and young people from across the district will be debating at a conference promoting local democracy this week.

The promoting local democracy conference 2010 is being held in the council chambers at Epping Forest District Council on Friday 12 March 2010 with the debate being broadcast live over the internet between 11:15 am and 12:15 pm.

During the conference, young people will get the chance to quiz 2 of the districts 3 MPs, Eleanor Laing (MP for Epping Forest) and Bill Rammell (MP for Harlow, Nazeing, Roydon and Sheering), and the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Penny Smith. The delegates will get to choose the 3 main priorities for the Epping Forest Youth Council to address, these issues will form the EFYC manifesto.

Ian Willett, Returning Officer for the Epping Forest District said: “It is widely perceived that young people are not involved in or even aware of democracy at a local level. These young people are our future voters and we know that they are keen to have their say on issues that affect their daily lives. All the major political parties have recognised and been discussing this issue to encourage our youth to engage with the political process.”

Mr Willett continued: “Working with the Epping Forest Youth Council I have found that most young people today are knowledgeable and informed about what is going on. This is our chance to discover their views, and maybe in the future 16 years olds will be able to vote.”

Essex Food Litter Campaign

Written on . Posted in Community, Local business, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your environment

Epping Forest District Council, in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy (KBT), is tackling fast food litter on our streets. The official campaign was launched on Friday 26 February 2010. The campaign message includes posters showing how dropping litter can make people appear as `dirty pigs` to others, in an attempt to change attitudes. The posters will go up on billboards, bus shelters, phone boxes and an Advan displaying the poster has also been travelling around the district.

Environment Portfolio Holder Councillor Mary Sartin with ENOs by the Advan in Waltham Abbey

Fast food and its packaging makes up a quarter of all litter on the streets. In addition to attracting pests and wild animals, neighbourhoods blighted by litter can often act as a magnet to more serious crimes.

The environmental charity `Keep Britain Tidy` has previously used the `Dirty Pig` campaign aims successfully to tackle the problem of wrappers, cartons and uneaten food dropped on the ground.

    Fast food filth facts:

  • Fast food litter is a major problem, it refers to food eaten on the go and its packaging which ends up strewn on our streets
  • Food litter can cause permanent grease stains to pavements
  • Not only does dropped food litter look a mess, it also attracts rats and other vermin
  • It adds considerably to the costs of street cleansing

Councillor Mary Sartin, the Environment Portfolio Holder said: Fast food litter is a problem for many communities and it can be a real eyesore that can adversely affect the community`s perceptions of their neighbourhood. This Essex-wide initiative is a great opportunity to work with fast food suppliers to increase awareness and tackle the problem.

New Guidelines for Shooters

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Crime and safety, Local business, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your community, Your environment

Trespassers firearms and the law posterEpping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities Officer Paul Gardener and Epping Forest Police District Crime Reduction Officer Tony Ellis have been working together to improve policing in rural areas. This is as a result of the National Farmers` Union County Chairperson expressing concerns to the Chief Constable regarding policing priorities towards rural crime.

One action as a result of those concerns was for an email family to be established to exchange information between members about current crime trends and suspicious persons. This now 90-strong group has gone on to form a Neighbourhood Action Panel (NAP) to discuss and resolve rural crime issues – the Prime Minister mentioned the initiative in a recent speech as good practice.

At one of the NAP meetings, a farmer drew attention to a current trend that has become a national debate in some of the shooting magazines. People who are legitimately shooting on land have been approached by trespassers on that land. When asked to leave, the trespasser has reported to the Police that they were threatened by a man with a gun, meaning, in some cases, that the shooter has been arrested and his weapons confiscated solely on the word of the trespasser.

The Police and the Safer Communities Team, in consultation with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and Mick Fidgeon the Head of Essex Police Firearms Licensing Department produced guidelines for shooters which, if followed, would protect them from false allegations. The guidelines will be circulated to every Police Firearms Department in Britain recommending that they be adopted nationally. They will also be taken to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) with the suggestion that ACPO and BASC work together to expand them. Epping Forest Safer Communities Partnership has supported the initiative by funding the production of leaflets and posters, which will be distributed to shooters through shooting schools, firearms dealers, retail farming outlets and shooting syndicates.

Tony Ellis Crime Reduction, Mike Aldiss Essex Shooting School, Paul Gardener Safer Communities

Epping Forest Police Inspector Craig Carrington said: We were asked by the members of the NAP to come up with a plan of action, which would help protect legitimate shooters from falling victim to mischievous allegations. Paul and Tony have worked hard on this initiative and the result is a document which contributes nationally to resolving the problem. This has been a Partnership project with a number of other agencies contributing towards the final product and shows the value of working together with the community to resolve problems.

Caroline Wiggins Epping Forest District Council Community Safety Manager said: “The Farmers` NAP has highlighted a very real concern with the potential to have serious consequences and I am pleased the Safer Communities Partnership has been able to support this worthwhile initiative.”

Retailers Encouraged to Challenge 25

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Local business, Older people, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community

Essex County Council Trading Standards are encouraging retailers throughout Epping Forest to sign up for the Challenge 25 scheme, to help prevent underage sales of all age-restricted goods and crack down on antisocial behaviour.

Trading Standards will be working with Epping Forest District Council, Epping Forest Safer Communities Partnership and Essex Police to help retailers implement a Challenge 25 policy.

Anyone attempting to buy an age restricted product (including: alcohol, tobacco, knives, solvents, aerosol paints, fireworks and video recordings and games), who looks under 25 will be asked to confirm their age by producing a valid form of ID. This helps to reduce some of the uncertainty that staff face when selling age-restricted items.

The campaign is aimed at supporting local businesses and raising awareness about the consequences of under-age sales. Trading Standards will visit every relevant retailer in Epping Forest to promote the scheme and encourage them to voluntarily sign up for Challenge 25.

Premises that sign up for Challenge 25 are given posters and leaflets explaining how the scheme works, as well as verbal guidance to staff on how to spot a fake ID, how to avoid proxy sales and how to refuse a sale.

Councillor Syd Stavrou, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety & Transport Portfolio Holder said: We hope that all the retail outlets selling these products will sign up to Challenge 25.  This initiative focuses on those products that, when sold irresponsibly, cause the greatest anti-social impact on society.  The introduction of this scheme in Epping Forest District will help to reduce under age sales and identify those premises that might need closer supervision.  The Partnership fully supports its introduction.

Essex Book Festival

Written on . Posted in Business, Local business, Loughton, Supporting business, Your area

The annual Essex Book Festival is once again returning in March and is celebrating 11 years with a number of fantastic literary events across the county. This is an excellent opportunity for people to meet some of the biggest names in the literary world and for new writers to meet their public. This year there are more events taking place in the Epping Forest district than ever before.

Essex Book Festival 2010

Mike Gayle, best-selling novelist and ex-agony uncle. Loughton Library, Traps Hill, Loughton IG10 1HD on 11 March at 8.00pm, tickets £6.50 or £4.50 concessions.

George Alagiah, BBC foreign correspondent and presenter of BBC Six O`clock news. St Mary`s Church, 201 High Road, Loughton IG10 1BB on 19 March at 7.30pm, tickets £10 or £8 concessions.

Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad. Debden Library, Epping Forest College, Borders Lane, Loughton IG10 3SA on 8 March at 7.30pm, tickets £4 or £3 concessions.

Francesca Kay, author of award-winning book An Equal Stillness. In partnership with Epping Library`s Book Talk Group, Epping Library, St John`s Road, Epping, CM16 5DN on 17 March at 2.30pm, tickets £4 or £3 concessions.

Best-selling Sadie Jones (The Outcast, Small Wars) and her sister Melissa (The Secret Heart of Emily Hudson) in partnership with Ongar Library Book Talk Group, Budworth Hall, High Street, Chipping Ongar, CM5 9LG on 29 March at 7.30pm, tickets £6.50/£4.50 concessions.

For more information on booking these and other Essex Book Festival events, pick up a Festival programme available in libraries and book by post using the booking form. You can also book by telephone on 01206 573948 or book online at the Essex Book Festival website.

Schneider Trophy Returned to North Weald

Written on . Posted in Community, Local business, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community

Seventy-eight years after a Supermarine designed by RJ Mitchell of Spitfire fame won the Schneider Trophy outright with a new air speed record of 379 miles per hour, Neil Cooper of the Sky Hawks Team brought the modern day trophy back to North Weald Airfield.

Neil Cooper won the trophy in his Bulldog G-JWCM with team mates Roger Hayes and Craig Beavers coming second and third. Eighteen aircraft took part in the 2009 race at Bembridge on the Isle of Wright. It was a particularly sweet victory for Neil who was leading with one lap to go last year when the race was called off due to low cloud.

The Sky Hawks Team with the Schneider trophy outside the Squadron at North Weald Airfield

The three winning aircraft flew a flypast formation over their home airfield at the Spirit of North Weald Community Day in September. A replica of the trophy was on display. The real trophy can be seen at the Science Museum in London.

North Weald hosted the first air race weekend of the 2009 season in April. With one of the most successful teams based at the airfield it has become a centre of excellence for air racing in the UK.

The Scottish Aviation Bulldog was designed as a basic training aircraft for the RAF and other air forces and was built at Prestwick in Scotland.

International Year Of Biodiversity

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Local business, Supporting business, Your community

The United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB).

Countrycare, Epping Forest District Council`s countryside management service, has become a partner – one of 170 organisations across the UK signed up so far to try and halt the loss of biodiversity.

Biodiversity is the term to describe the variety of life forms living on the earth and the habitats they live in. The aim of the IYB is to highlight the importance of biodiversity on our wellbeing and to try to halt the loss of it, which is currently up to 100 times faster than the natural rate of extinction.

The IYB was officially launched on 25 November 2009 at the Natural History Museum in London. This was the first in a series of activities and events arranged for 2010 around the UK. Throughout next year Countrycare will focus most of their work on promoting this cause.

Celebrating the success stories is also a priority. The international day of Biological Diversity is on 22 May 2010.

Love Where You Live Competition

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Local business, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your home

Love Where You Live Environmental Photo Competition

A new photographic competition to help boost recycling activity in the UK is offering £10,000 worth of prizes for the best pictures of wildlife and people looking after their local environment.

The `Love where you live` photo competition is sponsored by not-for-profit recycling organisation Alupro who provide a new tree for every tonne of aluminium recycled. This competition celebrates the quarter of a million trees they have grown in the UK and Africa since the start of this scheme.

Full details can be found on the Love Where You Live website

Epping Forest District Council is signed up to the scheme, so all the aluminium cans residents recycle locally help towards providing and growing fruit trees in Malawi where not only do the trees protect the local environment but also provide a source of income and work for local communities.

The competition encourages amateur photographers to take pictures which will inspire visitors to a special exhibition in April 2010 to look with fresh eyes at their surroundings as we face up to climate change and to recognise the special role trees play in protecting our environment.

The £10,000 prize pot covers six UK regions, including prizes for schools and under 18s, with a top award of £3,750. There are two prize categories: `local landscape and wildlife` and `people having an impact on where we live`.

This is a great way to encourage people to look around them and see just how important it is to look after the environment, says Councillor Mary Sartin, Epping Forest District Council Portfolio Holder for the Environment. Councillor Sartin added: With some fantastic prizes to be won it`s well worth getting your camera out and having a go.

The competition is open to amateur photographers only. Closing date for entries is 28 February 2010.

Waltham Abbey Celebrated in Essex Tourism Awards

Written on . Posted in Community, Local business, Media, Our activities, Out and about, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

Waltham Abbey celebrated success at a presentation of the first ever Essex Tourism Awards.

The Royal Gunpowder Mills and Waltham Abbey Town Partnership proudly received Finalist Certificates in the Best Small Essex Attraction and the Best Tourism Experience categories in recognition of their contribution to tourism in the County.

Norma Green receives a Best Tourism Experience award on behalf of the Waltham Abbey Town PartnershipAlso, after five years as a dedicated volunteer at the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Len Stuart received a Highly Commended Certificate for Outstanding Customer Service. The awards sponsored by Essex County Council, highlight the very best of Essex Tourism and aim to raise the profile of the industry.

Supported by Epping Forest District Council, Waltham Abbey Town Partnership champions Waltham Abbey as a visitor destination with a wealth of opportunities for a great day out.

Working with local businesses, the community and tourism providers the Partnership helps to promote the town and its surroundings and to raise its profile within Essex and further afield.

These awards have provided another opportunity to showcase what Waltham Abbey has to offer – with Epping Forest District Museum, the Abbey Church, country parks managed by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Copped Hall and Royal Gunpowder Mills to name a few.

Free Seminar to Help Beat the Recession

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Local business, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community

Epping Forest District Council is joining forces with Essex FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) and the District`s Town Centre Partnerships to run a free seminar to help local firms beat the recession.

South West Essex FSB Chairman, David Miles, said: As the latest initiative from Epping Forest District Council to help businesses in the District during the recession this special seminar is being held on Thursday 22 October 2009 at Theydon Bois Village Hall.”

He continued: “Essex FSB is pleased to be working with Epping Forest District Council to organise one of our very popular Beat the Recession and Boost Your Sales seminars with marketing expert Steve Clarke of Eureka Sales Solutions. These events regularly attract between 80 and 120 guests for a fast moving, hard hitting seminar which gives practical steps that firms of any size and any sector can take to improve their sales despite the recession.”

Booking

Booking is essential for catering purposes.

Epping Forest District Business Champion and Deputy Leader of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread, said: Businesses are facing tough times at the moment and Epping Forest District Council is keen to work with partners to provide as much help and support as possible. We are pleased to be working with Essex FSB, as the largest business membership organisation in the country, and other partners and local business networks to run this seminar which will also include speakers from Business Link explaining the free advice and support services they are offering businesses as well as the latest news from Epping Forest District Council, Epping Forest Local Strategic Partnership and our local Town Centre Partnerships.”

Councillor Whitbread continued: “This promises to be an exciting event and we hope as many Epping Forest businesses as possible will book in and come along and then take advantage of the tips they will hear to help them boost their sales!

Steve Clarke of Eureka Sales Solutions said: Having built and then sold my previous Harlow based company allowing me to retire at the age of 45 I suddenly found that I needed a challenge that used my expertise which is why I am working with Essex FSB to help small businesses in the county beat the recession even if their customers are spending less. Teaming up with Epping Forest District Council and its business partners is an exciting opportunity for me to reach a new audience with this practical marketing message.”

    In 90 minutes flat, people coming on the seminar will learn:

  • How to attract new enquiries like a magnet
  • How simple changes to your website could triple your sales
  • Six ways to grow your business whatever market you’re in
  • How to benefit from automated systems
  • The seven major marketing blunders business owners make … and how to avoid them!
    Previous attendees at these events have said:

  • “The presentation was informative, interesting and easy to understand 9/10
    Lee Martin, Lee Martin Print and Promotion
  • Your experience shone through, very professional 10/10
    Paul Brown, Margaret`s Frozen Luxuries Ltd
  • “Interesting and exciting, opened my mind to many direct marketing possibilities 10/10
    J Ripsher, Harpers

This is a partnership event involving Business Link East, Epping Forest District Council, Epping Forest Local Strategic Partnership, Epping Town Centre Partnership, Essex FSB (Federation of Small Businesses), Eureka Sales Solutions Limited and Waltham Abbey Town Partnership.

The FSB represents more than 215,000 business people across the United Kingdom and is the largest single organisation representing business interests in the country.

The South West Essex Branch of the FSB represents the interest of small businesses in the following postcode areas – CM13 to CM16, SS17, RM1 to RM20, and IG1 to IG11 – which includes Brentwood, Epping Forest, Havering, Redbridge and Thurrock Councils.