Conservation volunteers thanked

Written on . Posted in Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Councillors, Countrycare, Health, Media, Older people, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Our Countrycare team was joined by 53 amazing volunteers on their Thursday project days during 2014. They helped with a wide variety of conservation tasks ranging from pond restoration to building paths and bridges. 5 volunteers attended over 40 times last year.

Volunteers on the annual summer walk at Moreton

To view photos in a slideshow, click on a picture and click start slideshow.

Conservation work was carried out on 19 sites with both Chigwell Row Wood and Linders Field in Buckhurst Hill having the most visits with 6 each. The team worked closely with Essex Wildlife Trust and 6 local Town and Parish councils. They have taken on new work to manage a copse to the north of Sheering.

Their generosity equates to 670 volunteer days in 2014, this was slightly down on 2013 due to the unusually high rainfall in early 2014.

Well done and thank you

Councillor Gary Waller said: “Last year you gave us an incredible 670 days of your time and hard work. This is a fabulous achievement, which we greatly appreciate. You have helped make big improvements to our sites for the benefit of both wildlife and the public. Well done and thank you!”

The Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder ended: “If you have a few hours to spare on a Thursday, why not come and join our Countrycare team and volunteers to help make it easier for people to enjoy our beautiful countryside – it’s a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and have fun!”

Get involved

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Countrycare, find out how you can get involved.


Sharing ideas, connecting people

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Health, Media, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Your area, Your community

The ‘Who will care? Swap Shop‘ is coming to Ongar on Thursday 29 January 2015.

The Swap Shops are a series of summits for community and voluntary organisations, health organisations and the public sector to debate the power of social action, exchange information and generate great ideas for health and wellbeing.

Who will care? Swap Shop poster

Sharing ideas, connecting people

  • Thursday 29 January – 10am to 2pm
    Zinc Arts Centre, Great Stony, High St, Chipping Ongar, Essex CM5 0AD
  • Friday 30 January – 10am to 2pm
    Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, High Street, Colchester, CO1 1JH
  • Monday 23 February – 10am to 2pm
    Hylands House, London Road, Chelmsford, CM2 8WQ
  • Thursday 5 March – 10am to 2pm
    Towngate Theatre, St Martins Square, Basildon, SS14 1DL (a joint event from Essex County Council and BBWCVS)

Find out more

Register your interest with Gaynor Keen – email


Chairman filmed for #SteppingUp campaign

Written on . Posted in Community, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your council

“Volunteering is great for your mind and body!” says Chairman Tony Boyce. “It can provide a boost to your self-confidences, self-esteem, and life satisfaction, reducing the risk of depression and it can help you to stay physically healthy.”

Chairman Tony Boyce with volunteer Jean Edwards

To view photos in a slideshow, click on a picture and click start slideshow.


The Epping Forest District Council Chairman was promoting his Years of Volunteers campaign at the Leonard Davis House befriending group in North Weald.

He was visiting the group to be interviewed for the Essex County Council #SteppingUp campaign. Essex County Councillor Anne Brown was also interviewed by the film makers from Deadline Communications Ltd.


Stronger communities and stronger individuals

Councillor Tony Boyce said: “The Stepping Up campaign ties in beautifully with my year of volunteers campaign. Both are about helping to create stronger communities and stronger individuals.”

“I hope people will see these campaigns and contact organisations like VAEF. They will be able to show you the many volunteering opportunities available and advise what is best for you.”

Contact VAEF

To find out how you might get involved


BBC airs Years of Volunteers interview

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Chairman Tony Boyce met local volunteers and joined a befriending group for afternoon tea at Loughton’s Honey Tree Court sheltered apartments to promote his ‘Years of Volunteers’ campaign.

Joining the Chairman was joined by Jacqui Foile from Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) and local volunteers Pat, Josie and Trevor. BBC journalist Colleen Harris was invited along to record a radio interview for BBC Essex.

Chairman Tony Boyce with BBC reporter Colleen Harris and Jacqui Foile from VAEF

To view photos in a slideshow, click on a picture and click start slideshow.

Be brave and just try it

Chairman of Council, Councillor Tony Boyce said: “I’m calling on the newly retired to try volunteering. They have so much to offer. The benefits include the satisfaction of time and effort well spent and it’s a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and have fun!”

“So why not give it a go. Pick up the phone, or send an email but please contact VAEF. There’s a huge range of volunteering opportunities available and they’ll be able to advise what is best for you.”

“The most difficult part of volunteering is making the first move, so be brave and just try it! Whether it’s caring, befriending or gardening I truly believe that volunteering can be great for your physical and mental wellbeing. Let’s make 2014 and 2015 the Years of Volunteers.”

Contact VAEF

To find out how you might get involved

Improved services with new refuse contract

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Councillors, Epping, Loughton, Media, Meetings, Ongar, Recycling and waste, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Your area, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Improved services and large savings are expected after the decision by the council to award a new ten year contract to Biffa Municipal Limited for the collection of domestic refuse and recycling and street cleaning. In addition to annual savings of over £400,000 a year, the introduction of new technology, new vehicles and new working practices, including a 4-day collection week to avoid Bank Holiday Monday disruption, is anticipated to result in environmental and service improvements.

The decision was taken by the Cabinet of Epping Forest District Council at a special meeting on Monday 19 May 2014.

Alderton Junior winning artwork

Competitors for the contract

Biffa beat an initial list of 8 competitors to the contract, including current contractor Sita UK, most of whose local staff will transfer to Biffa under the terms of the contract. The final decision was based on an equal assessment of price and quality, with all the short-listed companies submitting competitive bids.

When will Biffa start?

Biffa will start emptying the District’s wheelie bins on 3 November 2014. The new Tuesday to Friday collection service will start in March 2015.

What to recycle and when will it be collected?

Epping Forest residents are amongst the ‘greenest’ in the country, recycling over 250kg per household each year. Bidders were invited to investigate different ways of collecting local refuse and recycling but the current system of two wheelie-bins, sacks and a blue box has proved to be one of the best and there are no plans to change this.

  • Food and Garden Waste Wheelie Bin – collected weekly
  • Residual Waste Wheelie Bin – collected fortnightly
  • Blue Box – for glass, collected fortnightly
  • Sacks – All other dry recycling collected fortnightly

Residents will also be able to recycle tetrapaks, batteries and small electrical items for the first time.

Langston Road, Loughton redevelopment

In March 2015, Biffa will transfer from the current council-owned depot in Langston Road to its own depots in Edmonton and Waltham Cross. This will move forward the redevelopment of the Langston Road site as a new retail park, providing employment for local people and generating more long-term income and savings for Epping Forest District Council.

Great news for Epping Forest residents

Contract negotiations were led by Councillor Will Breare-Hall, Environment Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council, and Council officers.

Councillor Breare-Hall said: “This deal is great news for Epping Forest residents and our District. Our new contract with Biffa promises residents an innovative, improved, more responsive service that respects what they like best about our current provision, and helps us keep their Council Tax low. I want to put on record my thanks to Sita UK for the great job they have done, but it is essential we keep striving to improve. This new partnership with Biffa offers even better services to residents, reductions in environmental impact, and helps us to maintain our record as one of the UK’s top recycling authorities.”


Making the most of Le Tour

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Local business, Media, Our attractions, Residents, Supporting business, Tour de France, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council

The Tourism Task Force, part of One Epping Forest, is hosting a free seminar to look at how local business can maximise returns from the opportunities offered by Le Tour de France coming through the local area.

The seminar is on Friday 2 May 2014 at 1pm at the Marriott Hotel in Waltham Abbey.

Tour de France Essex Logo

The special event, sponsored by the Marriott Hotel, will look at the experience of other areas that have hosted the tour, in terms of what works and what doesn’t work, we will hear from the organisers about the arrangements being put in place to host the tour and hear about local businesses that have already taken up the opportunities the tour is bringing.

The event is open to local businesses, including major attractions, pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels, bed and breakfasts, shops and other businesses thinking of engaging with the tour.

Book your place now

To book a free place, please go to Eventbrite-Le Tour Tickets – please book early to avoid disappointment.

Support our local economy

Councillor Tony Boyce, Chairman of the Tourism Taskforce said: “This is one of the biggest things to happen in the district in a sporting sense for many years. It’s important we give our businesses a chance to come together and see collectively and individually what we can do to ensure we make the most of it and support our local economy.”

Caroline Jenkins, Director of Sales from Waltham Abbey Marriott said: “We are very happy to be associated with this seminar and the work of the Tourism Task Force which is doing a great job in raising the profile of tourism and visitor economy, and co-ordinating the work of the many attractions the district hosts that make it such a great place to come and visit and stay.”

John Price, Chairman of the Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce said: “This is a great event and huge opportunity for the district, attracting tourists, cyclists and sports fans from across the district, country and continent. This seminar can help you to get the most for your business from this once in a lifetime experience.”

Tourism summit

The free seminar follows on from the successful tourism summit organised by the partnership, this saw the establishment of Visit Epping Forest a new task force to lead work on the tourism and visitor economy, new research showing the value of the industry locally in terms of jobs and income – estimated at £200m per year.

In addition, joint marketing of the district by local attractions, and has been undertaking new leaflets and posters produced. The Taskforce is shortly to employ a Tourism Development Manager, with funding from Epping Forest District Council, to lead and support future work.

For more information, please contact John Houston on


Jack Petchey award for cafe volunteer

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Councillors, Media, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

A young volunteer received a Jack Petchey award for outstanding contribution and hard work while working in a cafe at Epping Forest District Council (EFDC).

Jack Petchey Foundation logoThe award winning volunteer, Kerrie Ann Johnson has learning disabilities. She was presented with an Outstanding Achiever certificates by the Chairman and Vice-chairman of EFDC, Councillor Mary Sartin and Councillor Tony Boyce.

Set up in May 2013 by Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF), she has been working as part of a team in a project for people with Learning Disabilities. The project gets volunteers to work alongside a skilled cook at the staff cafe providing kitchen support, lunchtime deliveries to employees and waiting services at events.

The aim of the project is to give volunteers time to learn new skills with a view to building confidence and working towards catering qualifications which will hopefully lead to employment.

Kerrie Ann Johnson and VAEFs Sally Panrucker with the Vice-chairman and Chairman

View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture below and then click start slideshow.

About the winner by VAEF Volunteer Manager Sally Panrucker

Kerrie Ann Johnson

“Kerrie is a wonderful character to have around and has been named Little Miss Chatterbox! Kerrie started her work experience in July 2013 and has since engaged staff and customers alike with her smiling face and cheery manner! Kerrie has learnt a range of kitchen skills and loves to help out with new recipes! This award recognises all the time and hard work that Kerrie has put into the café and we wish her all the best for her future. Well done Kerrie.”

Worthy winner

EFDC Chairman, Councillor Mary Sartin said: “Kerrie has worked incredibly hard at the cafe and would be a great asset for any workplace. My congratulations go to this worthy winner of the Jack Petchey award. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the VAEF for all the wonderful work they do supporting volunteering projects in the Epping Forest district.”

Councillor Tony Boyce, EFDC Vice-chairman concluded: “Kerrie spent her £200 award money on a Christmas disco treat for everyone on the project. What a great asset this kind and generous young lady is to our community – congratulations.”

Find out more


Are you wearing yours?

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Community, Media, Working with the council, Your community, Your council

Staff at Epping Forest District Council joined the woolly revolution on Friday 13 December to help raise funds for Save the Children UK.

Ciara Whalley from the Benefits section organised the fundraising charity event for Save the Children UK. Staff were invited to donate £1 each.

Christmas Jumpers

Save the Children UK says that donating £1 can really make the difference between life and death. Your money could pay for 9 sachets of oral rehydration treatment for children suffering from deadly diarrhoea. Reach £95 and you could pay for a midwife’s training to help ensure babies are delivered safely in the poorest parts of the world.

You can still donate by texting WOOLLY to 70050 to donate a £1 or call +44 (0)800 8148 148.

Save the Children UK – Jumpers Day


Young people team up with McDonalds for litter pick

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Community, Democracy, Environmental health, Local business, Media, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

St John’s School pupils put on plastic overalls and boots for a special litter pick at Lower Swaines recreation ground earlier in November. The event was supported and organised by volunteers from McDonalds based at Hastingwood and representatives from Epping Forest District Council.

The initiative was the idea of McDonalds franchisee Tony Fagg and included an art competition with the 3 winning pupils receiving awards and congratulations from the Vice-Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Tony Boyce.


View photos in a slideshow by clicking on a picture and then click start slideshow.

Councillor Boyce said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the event. Litter is one of the scourges of modern life. Whether we are a corporate giant like McDonalds, a council or individuals like the wonderful team of volunteers from St John’s school, we all need to do our bit for the environment.”

Councillor Boyce continued: “I particularly want to thank Tony Fagg and his staff at the McDonalds restaurant in Hastingwood. It is very good to see them taking such a keen interest in the environment and how they can work with the local community to tackle litter. Every day the restaurant staff conduct litter patrols in the areas around the restaurant. They pick up all litter they find, not just that of McDonalds. If we could instil some of that philosophy in our younger generations, just think what an amazing impact that would have on our whole district.”

Poster design competition

McDonalds organised the poster design competition with St John’s School’s Art Department and provided WH Smith voucher prizes for the top entries. The winning entry with the logo “Keep calm and bin it!” will be reproduced in the Hastingwood restaurant and car park.

Councillor Boyce and his wife Jan, McDonalds Franchisee Tony Fagg and Richard Gardiner, the council’s Environment & Neighbourhood Manager, judged the design competition.

Love where you live logoThe winning pupils were presented the awards on return to school.

The winners are

  1. Lauren Payne
  2. Marina Hewett
  3. Sophia Blackman

Councillor Boyce said: “There were an amazing 64 entries for this competition. The aim is for the winning entries to promote ‘Love Where You Live’ and encourage McDonalds customers and the local community to be ‘litter aware’.

The St John’s volunteers began their litter pick with a Health and Safety talk and information on Reduce, Reuse and Recycle by McDonalds.


Find out more about litter and the law.


Have your say on Essex bus service

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Out and about, Travel, Working with the council, Your area, Your council

Consultation has already began on the bus service Essex County Council (ECC) provides in your area, if you want to have your say please complete the survey before the 9 December. Copies of the consultation will also be available online at through libraries or by calling 0845 603 7631.

So far ECC  have received 1,500 responses but they would still like to receive your comments. On Monday 16 September, ECC began a twelve week formal public consultation which includes how it provides financial support to local bus services.

Bus service between Epping and Ongar

The local authority currently pays £7.9million for nearly 200 local bus services which generally run in the evenings, on Sundays or in rural locations. The authority is keen to ensure the bus services it provides meet, as far as possible, the essential travel needs of Essex residents and also offer the best value for taxpayers. However, maintaining expenditure at this level in the current financial climate is unsustainable and the county council is looking at where efficiency savings can be made.

The consultation is asking residents about their travel needs and what types of services are most important to them, but the consultation is not looking at individual bus services at this stage.

Essex County Councillor Rodney L Bass, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation said: “We need to review the Bus Strategy to make sure that the bus services we provide meet the essential travel needs of residents, offer the best value for taxpayers and can be sustained.

“Given the challenging economic climate, we must be realistic and accept that it is likely that not all needs across the county can be met and that the funding available in the coming years will be reduced.

“However, the views the consultees provide will be carefully considered and reviewed alongside information we already hold such as passenger numbers and the journeys passengers undertake. We are seeking to engage as many people as possible in this consultation so that decisions are made fairly and informed by public opinion.”

The consultation, plus all accompanying literature and documentation, including a comprehensive list of the bus services paid for by ECC, was available from 16 September.  Please note, there will be further consultation and opportunities to comment on the draft bus strategy when it is completed.  Once the new strategy has been finalised it there will be a series of area reviews across the County to allow services in each area to be looked at in the light of the new strategy.  Any changes are intended to be implemented between September 2014 and September 2015.