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

Click a picture below to start slideshow

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)

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(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

Cabinet 15 June 2017

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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

Are you dementia friendly?

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Equalities, Health, Local business, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our performance, Out and about, Performance, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

To help raise awareness for Dementia Awareness Week (14 – 20 May 2017), we are launching the first of our 8 dementia friends sessions on Tuesday 16 May at Waltham Abbey Library and we would like you to join us!

United against Dementia

Click on an image to begin the slideshow

Become a dementia friend

We are calling on local businesses, community groups and individuals to attend one of our events and become a dementia friend.

Small ways to help

Each session is focuses on learning more about what it is like to live with dementia, helping you understand the small ways you can help and make life easier for those living with dementia in your community.

Upcoming sessions

Each session lasts for an hour and will be provided at the following Essex County Council Libraries

  • 16 May 2017 Waltham Abbey library, 37 Sun St, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL 1:30pm – 2:30pm
  • 29 June 2017 Loughton library, Traps Hill, Loughton, IG10 1HD 10am – 11am
  • 4 July 2017 Epping library, St John’s Road, Epping, CM16 5DN 10am – 11am
  • 12 September 2017 Chigwell library, Hainault Rd, Chigwell, IG7 6QX 2pm – 3pm
  • 21 September 2017 Debden library, Epping Forest College, Borders Lane, Loughton, IG10 3SA 1:30pm – 2:30pm
  • 10 October 2017 Ongar library, The Pleasance, High St, Ongar, CM5 9AB 10am – 11am
  • 2 November 2017 Buckhurst Hill library, 165 Queen’s Rd, Buckhurst Hill, IG9 5AZ 12:30pm – 1:30pm
  • 7 December 2017 North Weald library, 138 High Rd, North Weald Bassett, Epping, CM16 6BZ 11am – 12pm

Get involved

Places are limited so please book to avoid disappointment.

Further information

Need help getting active?

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

If you want to increase your activity and fitness, meet new friends and stay motivated, our new Active Living programme is for you! Sign up to receive one to one motivational support for a whole year and up to 6 months of free activities.

Active living cyclingHelp at every step

We know that getting active can be difficult, so we are here to help you every step of the way!

Personal action plan

Our team of professional and friendly staff will help you set a personal plan of action, which will make it simple for you to find ways to fit physical activity into your daily life.

Support and advice

We will support you with free advice and assistance whenever you need it, to help you stick to your plan and achieve your goals with activities such as walking, cycling and Pilates.

Get active

  • Contact the Active Living team on 01992 564567 or speak to your GP about a referral
  • Book an appointment to discuss support, a personal action plan & find a local Active Living group
  • Visit your local Active Living group, meet new friends, get lifestyle & nutrition advice
  • Meet your champion who will support you with your new activities & introduce you to others
  • Get support from your specialist who will look at your progress & plan for the coming months
  • Free activities for 3 months after 12 weeks of attending group

Contact

If you are interested in becoming more active and you

  • Do less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week
  • Are aged over 16
  • Live in the Epping Forest district

Contact our friendly team to book an appointment.

Call 01992 564561

Email csreception@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

High Sheriff grant helps J9 go national

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The Council’s J9 domestic abuse awareness initiative have been awarded a grant of £750 from the High Sheriff of Essex Fund to provide training for the Department of Work and Pensions call centre staff, which will help identify and support victims of domestic abuse nationally.

High Sheriff Awards 2017

Recognised for major contributions

The High Sheriff of Essex, Lorna Rolfe and Chairman of Essex County Council Councillor John Aldridge, presented Caroline Wiggins, Community Safety Manager at Epping Forest District Council with a grant of £750 for the J9 initiative project.

The High Sheriff hosted an evening dedicated recognising the voluntary organisations and people who have made major contributions to reducing crime and increasing safety within communities, at a ceremony held in Hylands House in Chelmsford last week.

Delivering training

The funding will deliver J9 training to the 300 members of staff at the national customer call centre for the Department of Work and Pensions, based in Basildon.

Excellent progress

Safer, Greener, Transport Portfolio Holder, Councillor Gary Waller said: ”We are delighted to have received this funding. We have had such a positive response to the progress that has been made so far and we are proud to say the project has already trained over 400 professionals and service providers across Essex.”

”The £750 funding will allow us to provide training for the 300 employees at the Department of Work and Pensions call centre, who receive calls from people around the country. This means we are now in a position to help signpost and support victims of domestic abuse nationally, which is excellent progress.”

Sign up for training

Councillor Waller added: ”Any business and organisation that would like to sign up please call 01992 564608 or email j9@eppingforestdc.gov.uk – let’s make sure the victims of domestic abuse get the help and support they need.”

About J9

The J9 domestic abuse initiative has been running in West Essex for 4 years. It was named in memory of Janine Mundy. She was killed by her estranged husband while on police bail.

The J9 initiative was set up by Janine’s family and the local police in Cornwall to raise awareness of domestic abuse and help victims get the help they so desperately need.

Charter to inspire climate change action

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Reducing emissions and tackling climate change are the key aims of a new Environmental Charter signed by Leader of Council Councillor Chris Whitbread and Chief Executive Glen Chipp.

Leader of Council Councillor Chris & Chief Executive signing the Environmental Charter

 

Climate Local

The Environmental Charter is part of Climate Local. Climate Local is a Local Government Association (LGA) initiative which asks councils for a commitment to help drive and inspire climate change action in the UK.

We have

  • Installed solar panel’s at the civic offices
  • Increased the recycling of our waste – through providing more bins and training staff
  • Insulated all council-owned properties to a high standard

We will

  • Help local people and businesses to be smarter about their energy use
  • As service providers aim to deliver services that are resource efficient and less carbon intensive
  • Ensure council owned buildings and operations are resource efficient and prepared for the impacts of a changing climate

Responsibility to our environment

Leader of Council Councillor Chris Whitbread said: “As a council we have a responsibility to our environment, by endorsing this Charter we are taking steps in the right direct towards making change.”

“Not only do we hope to reduce our carbon footprint but hope to inspire residents to make small changes resulting in a big difference.”

More info

Overview and Scrutiny 28 February 2017

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The newly-appointed principal of Epping Forest College, Saboohi Famili came before councillors at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 28 February to discuss the damning recent OFSTED report.

Principal sets out college improvement plans

Ms Famili joined the college a matter of weeks before the inspection and is addressing the wide range of short-comings identified in the report. She was joined in Overview and Scrutiny by Councillor Gagan Mohindra in his capacity as the newly-appointed chairman of governors.

A new senior leadership team is in place. Ms Famili confirmed that recruitment of the next level of high-quality leadership and management was already underway. Action plans monitored and assessed on a monthly basis are being introduced. The Board of Governors led by Councillor Mohindra are undertaking regular scrutiny. Ms Famili also confirmed OFSTED will be making frequent repeat inspections to ensure changes are implemented. Councillor Mohindra confirmed that the board of governors would be ‘robust’.

OFSTED carried out its inspection during November 2016. Councillor Stephen Murray suggested the problems were deeply ingrained and asked Ms Famili how she felt these issues had come about. Ms Famili described a previous culture of ‘blame and fear’. This resulted in a tendency to hide problems. Ms Famili said the new culture could be characterised as ‘Proud to share and not afraid to ask’. By bringing issues into the open and recognising the problems she believed the cultural was changing.

Councillors applauded the accessible approach being adopted Ms Famili.

Highways, rail and health scrutiny

Councillors also noted the latest responses of Transport for London, Essex County Council Highways and Princess Alexandra Hospital to previous scrutiny enquiries.

TFL reported on the evolving organisational structure and engagement with non-Greater London councils. It supplied further information on the provision of Oyster cards and improvements to the line between Epping and Loughton.

Councillors noted difficulties in resolving issues with highways and disappointment with the County Council’s reluctance to attend a meeting of Overview and Scrutiny. In the absence of the County Portfolio Holder, councillors supported the formation of a delegation to attend County Hall in order to put the district’s concerns in person.

Councillor Ricky Gadsby updated fellow councillors regarding the concerns of the Care Quality Commission on the performance of Princess Alexandra Hospital. Councillors noted the commitment of the Chairman and Chief Executive of Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust to attend Overview and Scrutiny on 6 June 2017.

Chairman’s quiz reaches new heights

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17 teams raised a record £1,032 for local life-saving charity the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance at the Chairman`s annual charity quiz on Friday 24 February 2017.

Chairman charity quiz 2017

 

Click to enlarge photo and click on photo to see more photos

Fun filled evening

Chairman Jeane Lea hosted the quiz at Waltham Abbey Town Hall. Teams came dressed as cowboys, indians, angels and Jeane’s Jeanies. A team made up of councillors from Waltham Abbey won the best dressed team award dressed as cowboys and indians.

`Scrambled Egg Heads’ were the quiz winners. The team from Buckhurst Hill was led by Councillor Steven Neville. This was the second win on a row for the Scrambled Egg Heads.

Digging deep for the Air Ambulance

Chairman Jeane Lea said: “Wow what an evening! Everyone who took part really had to dig deep for some of the answers but a good time was certainly had by all.”

“I’m delighted with the amount raised for my charity. So thank you to everyone who took part.

Cabinet 2 February 2017

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The budget, Careline, Epping Forest District Council’s 24 hour emergency monitoring service for older people and investment in the Council’s housing stock were among items discussed at Cabinet 2 February 2017.

Council Tax freeze recommended

Cabinet recommended another nil-percent increase on Epping Forest District Council’s share of the Council Tax when the budget goes to Full Council on 21 February.

Leader of Council Councillor Chris Whitbread complimented Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra and his staff on the freeze for the seventh successive year.

Councillor Whitbread also updated Cabinet on the progress of the Council’s transformation programme which continues to look at more efficient ways of working and using the Civic Offices to its full potential.

Careline monitoring

Councillors have taken steps to protect the future provision of Carline, the Council’s 24 hour emergency monitoring service for elderly and vulnerable people living within the district.

Cabinet received a report presented by Communities Select Committee Chairman Councillor Yolanda Knight setting out proposals for the long term enhancement and protection of the service in partnership with an external provider, instead of providing the monitoring service by the Council itself.

Councillor Knight reassured councillors that the Careline service itself will still be provided by the Council, it was only the monitoring service that would be provided by a new provider, on behalf of the Council.

She said that the Council’s own Monitoring Control Centre has provided an excellent and reliable service since June 1984 and has always meet every requirement set by the TSA (Telecare Service Association). However, as the ageing population of the district continues to grow, demands upon Careline have increased leading to difficulty maintaining staff cover to the levels expected by the Council and now required by the TSA.

In line with the British Standard, moving the Careline monitoring services to another provider will increase the number of operators monitoring the network. It will also:

  • Ensure no gaps in service
  • Enhance capacity
  • Allow other Careline services to be offered
  • Enable more alarms to be fitted across the district
  • Bring safety, security and peace of mind to more residents across the district
  • Reduce the overall cost of the Careline Service

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou, and Councillors Anne Grigg and Will Breare-Hall all spoke in support of the proposal, emphasising the importance of arranging a smooth transfer. They also complimented the service on the high standard that has been provided over the years, while looking forward to the continued expansion of its vital work under new arrangements.

£3.6m investment in repairs to empty Council Homes

Cabinet approved the letting of two major housing maintenance contracts worth £3.6 million over three years.

As existing tenants transfer into vacant Council properties, there is a need to repair, and the opportunity to improve and upgrade the properties, before they are re-let to new tenants.

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou reported that following inviting tenders from six companies, Cabinet was being asked to appoint Graceland’s CMS LTD and Mears PLC. Cabinet approved the recommendations and were pleased to appoint both contactors as both have previously carried out work to empty properties for the Council to a high standard.