Youth Council meet MP

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Epping Forest Youth Council invited Eleanor Laing MP to a meeting at the civic offices in Epping to seek for her support on several issues including improving safety for young people.

Youth Councillor Edward Gokman said: Young people want to see police on the streets and have adequate street lighting. Youth Councillors asked for her support for a young persons` bus pass giving them affordable travel. Youth Councillors expressed concerns regarding elements of the current education system in so far as young people have to make major decisions in Year 8 that affect their future career pathways, often with limited advice and guidance.

Youth Councillor Catie Barry said One key issue is the lack of work experience opportunities for young people. Work experience enables us to gain skills and inducts us into the working environment. Youth unemployment is a worry as we all want a good job. How can we move forward as a district to reduce the number of unemployed young people and increase the work experience placements for under 16’s?

Youth Councillor Hamzah Qadri said he was concerned about the declining numbers of youth centres in the district and asked what the government planned to do to support voluntary youth centres.

The elected Youth Councillors are half way through their second year in office, Catie Barry said: We all thoroughly enjoy the work we are doing and we are inspired by our fellow adult councillors and members of the Youth Parliament. Our average age is 15 – we represent 11 secondary schools in the district and the surrounding areas. Our passion is to make a difference and to raise the profile of young people.


Quiz raises £1,000 for local charities

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

Over £1,000 was raised for local charities at the chairman’s annual charity quiz at Theydon Bois Village Hall on Friday 8 February 2013.

Teams from across the district entered the annual event in aid of Chairman Brian Rolfes chosen charities, raising £1,066 for the Dream Factory and Chigwell Riding Trust. The quiz included rounds on the Sky at Night, 1963, celebrities and music lyrics.

The Grand Slammers emerged victorious for a 4th successive year following a nail-biting tie-break with the Caterpillars. The Miss Worlds won best dressed table, coming as beauty pageant contestants.

Chairman Brian Rolfe said: “Thank you to all who came along and joined in the fun, I had a great evening. We raised over £1,000 for my 2 chosen charities which will help support the great work they both do.”

Broadband services scrutinised

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

Councillors scrutinised representatives from BT on the variation of broadband services across the district.

Annette Thorpe and David Lee from British Telecom (BT) gave a presentation to members of Epping Forest District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny committee on Tuesday 29 January 2013. BT is responsible for the provision of infrastructure on which many other companies can also offer broadband services.

Watch the webcast

BT has made a commitment to invest £2.5 billion in broadband infrastructure across the UK. High-tech fibre-optic cables, upgraded exchanges and wi-fi feature significantly in the enhancement of services. Some rural service enhancements are part of the process. Parts of East Anglia are already seeing benefits and Essex is expected to see improvements soon.

Of 20 exchanges serving the Epping Forest district, 9 offer superfast broadband. BT commercial considerations will dictate further upgrades. However, Essex County Council has been provided with £6.4 million, match-funded with its own resources to provide further broadband upgrades to areas which would not meet normal commercial criteria.

Following a number of complex and technical questions, Councillor Richard Bassett asked if BT could consider more local consultation and information sharing with residents. He was keen to see public  information explained in more plain, straightforward and understandable terms. Where people may not fully grasp principles of ‘upload’ and ‘download speeds’ or capacity, people do understand if their broadband is ‘fast’ or ‘slow’. Annette Thorpe responded that many people did grasp such concepts which are often closely linked to cost of services.

Mobile website launched

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If you’re visiting our website from your smartphone you can now choose to use Mobile EFDC – our optimised, cross platform mobile friendly version for news, events, meetings and to report problems when out and about.

Mobile EFDCGo and try it 

Mobile EFDC is simpler, clearer, faster – designed to access information when you are out and about,  focusing on our most popular online services.

A third of our users access information using a mobile device, Mobile EFDC makes it easier to navigate on small screens.

By adding a browser bookmark, or adding a shortcut on your phone homepage you can easily interact or contact us with the press of a button.

Embracing the new Government’s digital by default strategy, Mobile EFDC is part of the ongoing project to improve digital services. The update of the council website in-house using Joomla and WordPress open source software saved the council at least £75,000 in development costs and reduced its annual costs by £20,000.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up-to-date with the latest news.

Chief Executive endorses Youth Council work

Written on . Posted in Community, Consultation, Democracy, Media, Meetings, Our performance, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

The new Chief Executive endorses the work of Epping Forest Youth Council and says Be the voice of young people. Hold the main council to account.

It was back down to business for the Epping Forest Youth Council last night, as they held their first full meeting since the Christmas break. On the agenda for the first time was a presentation from Epping Forest District Council`s new Chief Executive, Glen Chipp, followed by a question and answer session.

Youth councillors with new Chief Executive Glen Chipp

Mr Chipp shared his views with the Youth Councillors on what he perceived the council’s strengths and weaknesses are, and set out the changes that would need to be made in the future.

Youth councillors Edward Gokmen and Olivier TinkerMr Chipp went on to tell the Youth Council how impressed he was with the work they have been doing, and offered some encouraging advice. When asked by Natasha Miller Do you think the Council consults enough with the Youth Council?, Mr Chipp responded Don’t wait for us to come to you … bang on our door, about what you think is important. Equally, when asked by Carina Sander What advice would you give us, so we are not used as a tick box exercise? he said I’m not interested in ticking boxes. I want young people to challenge, as you are doing now.

Other issues raised by the Youth Council included making information that Council department’s produce, such as the Local Plan consultation, easier for young people to understand. Mr Chipp agreed whole heartedly, telling the Youth Council that it isn’t just young people that struggle to understand it!

Finally, the good news continued when Edward Gokmen, Chair for the meeting, asked Glen Chipp if he would support the Youth Council’s plan to hold a youth conference at the civic offices this summer. Mr Chipp gave his consent, so all that remains to say is – watch this space!


One Business Briefing – brimming with news for local businesses

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The January 2013 edition of ‘One Business Briefing’ is now available.

In this edition Reed in Partnership gives local businesses advice on how they can use Government funding to get staff job relevant qualifications at no cost to the employer or employee. It also introduces MP Eleanor Laing’s new Business Forum, reports on current tourism development work, including a key event on 31 January 2013 to develop tourism within the area and much more.

Read the January 2013 edition – One Business Briefing

Produced by Epping Forest District Council, One Epping Forest and local partners the briefing provides information for businesses and those looking to start up in business in the Epping Forest district. The briefing is designed to report on business funding opportunities / access to finance, business support, workshops / events for business, town centre news and other local economic development initiatives.

If you would like to receive future editions of ‘One Business Briefing’ by email please email

Jubilee celebrations receive Royal approval

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Following the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June, Her Majesty the Queen has sent her best wishes to the people of Moreton, Bovinger and the Lavers. Issuing a letter through her Lady in Waiting, Her Majesty let it be known that she was touched by the efforts made on her behalf including a spectacular ox roast large enough to feed hundreds of people and a DVD filmed over the long-weekend of the event.

Organisers George Hart and Councillor Tony Boyce, showed off the framed letter from the Palace and their DVD of the event to the Chairman of Council, Councillor Brian Rolfe.

George Hart wrote to Her Majesty following the celebrations, enclosing a copy of the DVD.

Moreton Jubilee ox roast promo

Watch the full video – Moreton ox roast (Jubilee) 2012

As with all the best ideas, the inspiration for an ox roast came as a group chatted in a local pub. Philip Halstead and some of his friends in the Scout Movement wanted to try their hand at something a little more challenging than a regular Hog Roast. Joe Skepelhorn gave permission for his field next to the White Hart pub in Moreton to provide the venue. 

As the big weekend approached, about two and a half tonnes of fire wood was assembled. The ox was delivered on the back of a lorry and mounted into a huge a-frame. The fire was lit at 7pm on Sunday. Through wind and rain teams of volunteers worked in two hour shifts rotating the ox every 20 minutes and frequently basting to ensure it was cooked to perfection. Nearly 24 hours later on Monday evening the rain stopped, sun came out, the ox was ready and the celebrations began. Under the expert supervision of butcher Peter Holmes 550 servings of beef were washed down with drinks from the local pubs.

As darkness fell it was time to light the celebration beacon and sing the National Anthem.

Councillor Brian Rolfe congratulated Councillor Boyce and George Hart. He said: “I was delighted and hugely impressed. The Diamond Jubilee was fantastic in bringing communities together in celebration. I am not sure that size for size, any community did a bigger and better job than the people of Moreton, Bovinger and the Lavers.”

New website launched to boost visitor and tourism economy

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Countryside and wildlife, Local business, Media, Museum, North Weald Airfield, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

An exciting new website has been developed to provide information on places to visit, eat and stay in the Epping Forest district.

Visit Epping Forest logo

Visit Epping Forest website

The new website is to be formally launched on Friday 7 December at 2.30pm.

Members of the Epping Forest District Tourism Partnership will launch the Visit Epping Forest website at a special event at Epping Ongar Railway at North Weald Railway Station.

The website has been developed by the key attractions in the district, supported by Epping Forest District Council and the Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce. It provides information on places to visit, eat and stay and how to get here. It is planned that local groups will be able to upload their events directly to a specific ‘What’s on’ section.

The website has already had 1,800 visitors, who viewed over 5,600 pages during the construction stage. Enquiries have already been answered from film companies looking for locations, as well as cycle touring organisations looking for somewhere to eat on Sunday mornings. As this website grows it will generate more interest in the district as a tourist destination.

Councillor Tony Boyce Chairman of the One Epping Forest Tourism Task Force, which has led on this work said: “This has been a real partnership producing positive results. Everyone has chipped in with their expertise and resources to make this happen and give this district a site that is new, vibrant and supports the tourism economy right across this corner of Essex.

A new leaflet, highlighting the varied attractions is being completed, which will tempt locals to explore their area as well as bring in visitors from further afield. We will soon be announcing a major visitor and tourism summit to enable attractions, restaurants, hotels and shops to come together and plan how we can make so much more of the growing tourism sector to bring investment and jobs into the area in the longer term.”

Crime reduction officer receives police award

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

Tony Ellis with Chief Constable Jim Barker-MccardleTony Ellis, Epping Forest district’s police crime reduction officer has received a lifetime achievement award from Essex Police.

Tony’s 46 years service to the public of Essex and in particular Epping Forest received the recognition of Essex Police at a ceremony at Chelmsford on Wednesday 21 November 2012. The award was one of several presented by the Chief Constable Jim Barker-Mccardle.

Tony’s citation reads

“In recognition of your achievements, dedication and commitment to policing throughout your career in which you have continued to be an inspiration to your peers by demonstrating exemplary skills”

The award recognises Tony’s service as both a police officer and civilian crime reduction officer. The latter part of his service has been spent working very closely with the council’s Safer Communities Team developing crime reduction initiatives and working to help protect vulnerable residents. The ceremony was also attended by the county’s newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston.

Tony said: “After 46 years with Essex Police I would like to believe I still have the enthusiasm to serve and make a difference.”

Tony continued: “In recent years, my enthusiasm has been fired by support and partnership working with the Epping Forest District Councils Safer Communities team, in particular Paul Gardener. I believe the work we do as a team on a day to day basis is integral to reducing crime and the fear of crime. We take a pride in serving the people of this District and we will continually strive to improve their quality of life.”

Celebrate all that is good in our disabled community

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Equalities, Health, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your home

Paralympians Danny Crates and Anne Wafula Strike, marathon runner Chris Moon MBE, and 7/7 survivor Daniel Biddle will be helping to celebrate all that is good in our disabled community at a free event to mark the 20th anniversary of the International Day for People with Disabilities (IDPwD).

The theme for the event in Chelmsford on Saturday 1 December 2012 is removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all.

The events opening ceremony is hosted by Dave Monk of BBC Essex, with demonstrations of disabled sport, singers, musicians and dramatists, as well as exhibitions by photographers and artists taking place all day to provide something for everyone.

Epping Forest District Council are helping to sponsor the event, and will be taking part in the business showcase to provide information about our services for people with disabilities, and the opportunity for people with disabilities to work with us to improve our services through the Epping Forest Disability Forum.

This event is at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford Rivermead Campus, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1SQ from 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday 1 December. Free Park and Ride.

The Colchester community interest company Dancing Giraffe, in association with Chelmsford City Council and Anglia Ruskin University are hosting the event to raise awareness of the benefits of the integration of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life, and to continue the positive experience that is the Paralympics’ legacy.

International Day for People with Disabilities is a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to promote understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.