Volunteer to preserve your local history

Written on . Posted in Community, Media, Museum, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council

“Volunteering is fun, rewarding and enriches lives, come and give it a go!” says Katie Weston, volunteer coordinator at Epping Forest District Museum.

Epping Forest District Museum Volunteers

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“Our museum collection volunteers come from all over the district and meet twice a week to catalogue and document new objects. In 2016 volunteers will be based at the newly refurbished Epping Forest District Museum in Waltham Abbey.

We’re always looking for new volunteers

“Volunteers are a mix of ages and interests. Some are here simply because they love history, others to learn new skills. One of our volunteers is using the sessions to gain experience to get future work in a museum” said Katie.

“We’re currently looking for new Visitor Assistant Volunteers. These volunteers will help engage visitors and interpret our collections, it’s a really exciting role and we’re thrilled to be expanding our volunteer team. I can offer them a fun, friendly and interesting environment to work in. If you’re interested in volunteering call me on 01992 716882 or email me at kweston@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.”

I find the work fascinating

Husband and wife volunteers Andrew and Sarah recently moved to the district and joined the group.

Andrew said: “Today we’re cataloguing medals from a man who served in North Africa and Italy in the Second World War. The medals were donated by his family after his death along with other personal items.”

“I’m particularly interested in these items as my father served in the same area at roughly the same time. We know the man lived in Ongar, and went to Theydon Bois Council mixed school where he was known as ‘the boy from the country’. I find the work fascinating – it’s like piecing together a jigsaw of someone’s life.”

I love old objects

Elisabetta recently moved from Italy where she was a student in anthropology. She said: “The artefacts in the UK are completely different from those in Italy. I volunteered because I love old objects. The best object I’ve seen here so far is an instruction manual for the first ever fire extinguisher dating back to the early 1900s. It includes a page which describes how a prototype was demonstrated in front of the pope.”

It’s really good fun

Retired teacher Carolyn was cataloguing photos and a programme from 1963 for the play ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ performed by the Loughton based Becket Theatre Drama Company. She said: “I really love history. You get to see some wonderful objects and it’s really good fun!”

Want to volunteer?

Contact Katie Weston, volunteer coordinator at Epping Forest District Museum

 

Christmas gifts for refuge families

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Community, Crime and safety, Democracy, Local business, Media, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Families staying in refuges this Christmas will have a happier festive season thanks to the amazing generosity of customers and staff at the Waltham Abbey branch of Tesco.

Vice-chairman Jeane Lea and Safer Communities Manager Caroline Wiggins collected trollies full of presents for women and children of all ages on Tuesday 15 December 2015 from Michele Moore, Tescos Community Champion.

Vice-chairman Jeane Lea

All the gifts were given to a refuge in Harlow.

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Overwhelmed by generosity 

Vice-chairman Jeane Lea said: “I’m completely overwhelmed by peoples generosity and kindness. My sincere thanks go to Tesco Community Champion Michele Moore who organised the collection, and to all the people who visit Tesco at Waltham Abbey for their support.”

“Christmas and New Year can be an extremely hard time for families in refuges. I hope these gifts will make them smile and feel hopeful for the future.”

 

Job centres help domestic abuse victims

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

All 14 Job Centres across Essex became contact centres for victims by receiving Domestic Abuse and J9 awareness sessions, as part of a range of international events for Domestic Abuse Awareness Week.

J9 Domestic Abuse Multiagency trainning

Allowing victims to get help discreetly 

J9 named in memory of Janine Mundy by her family and the Police, aims to help victims by providing a wide variety of places to report domestic abuse and receive help in a safe efficient way.

Victims can get discrete help in any local shop or business where the J9 sticker is on display. They simply need to make themselves known to someone in the shop or business who can then put them in touch with professional help at Epping Forest District Council and the Safer Places charity.

Raising awareness 

Loughton Job Centre staff were joined by Caroline Wiggins Community Safety Manager at Epping Forest District Council and Joanne Majauskis from Safer Places Essex for training sessions led by Social Justice Coaches. The sessions included advice on how to identify potential Domestic Abuse, and what everyone can all do to support people.

Let victims know they are not alone

Caroline Wiggins Community Safety Manager at Epping Forest District Council said: “14 new outlets through Essex job centres is absolutely fabulous but we still need more support from local businesses. It is vital that we work together with as many organisations as possible to help as many victims as we can. We need to let victims know they are not alone and we are here to help. J9 is a great initiative and awareness will continue to grow.”

We are here to help

Want your business to become part of J9?

More information here

 

National Empty Homes Week

Written on . Posted in Community, Housing, Media, Out and about, Private housing, Regulations, Residents, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Did you know approximately 480 properties in the Epping Forest district have been standing empty for more than 6 months. In an area where there’s a huge demand for housing but development on Green Belt is prohibited, it’s very important that as many empty properties as possible are brought back to use.

Empty homes banner

Properties are left empty for a variety of reasons but they can be the source of much misery to neighbours who live nearby. It’s estimated that the home next door to an empty property can be devalued by 10%. There is also the worry of nuisance, vermin, arson, vandalism and anti social behaviour. For the owner, an empty property is a wasted resource and can be costly in terms of increased insurance, increased council tax, emergency repairs and break-ins.

Reducing the number of empty properties

Epping Forest District Council is committed to reducing the number of empty properties in the district and can offer financial help in certain circumstances. It is recognised that a stumbling block can be that the empty property is in disrepair and cannot be lived in, let or easily sold in its condition.

We offer the following schemes

  • Empty Homes Repayable Assistance

    The Empty Homes Repayable Assistance offers up to £10,000 if there is an empty property that you intend to live in yourself, but is in poor condition. The money is repaid when you eventually sell the property.

  • PLACE Loan

    The PLACE Loan offers up to £25,000 if you have a property that you would like to have renovated in order that you can sell or rent it out. This is an interest free loan and is paid back within 2 years in the case of a loan to sell, or 5 years in the case of the loan to let.

Whilst the council will always prefer to work with owners in a constructive way, it has certain enforcement powers that it may use to ensure that an empty property is brought back to use particularly if it has been empty a long time and is problematic to the local community.

Committed to bringing empty properties back into use

Housing portfolio holder David Stallan said: “As a council we are fully committed to bringing empty properties back into use and are looking to help owners in every way we can. However where all other measures have failed, we are prepared to take enforcement action as a last resort.”

Report an Empty Property

If you are aware of an empty property provide us with the address and any other information you may have and we will do our best to contact the owner, to work with him, to bring his property back to use. All calls are treated in confidence. For further information and advice or to report an empty property, please contact the Empty Property Officer on telephone: 01992 564706 or email: privatesectorhousing@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

 

Fighting child sexual abuse

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Media, Older people, Residents, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Local organisations dedicated to combating the sexual abuse and exploitation of children met in Chigwell on Thursday 26 November 2015.

Representatives from Essex Police, Epping Forest District Council, Essex County Council and voluntary organisations across West Essex are working together to raise public awareness and improve co-ordination between different agencies.

Cllr Gary Waller

Councillor Gary Waller Chairman of Epping Forest Community Safety Partnership opened the conference at Chigwell Hall. Key speakers included Nicola Dalby from Safe and Sound, a Derby-based charity established in 2002 to safeguard children from sexual exploitation and Clare Livens from Essex Southend and Thurrock Children Board.

Among the objectives of the day, delegates aimed to

  • Raise awareness
  • Understand what is happening during the grooming process
  • Improve multi-agency responses
  • Support victims of exploitation and facilitate policing and prosecutions
  • Identify the way forward

Working together to protect vulnerable children  

Child sexual exploitation has been in the new headlines after high profile cases in Rotherham and other cities. Gary Waller said: ‘This is all about protecting vulnerable children. The lessons from Rotherham and other places is that all the organisations involved in the care of young people can have a role to play in identifying and tackling child sexual exploitation. It’s up to all of us to be aware of the potential symptoms and signs, and know what to do when see them.’

He continued: ‘It was a very valuable day. We carried out exercises to see what we do well, what we could do better and what’s not so good. Every lesson we can learn to protect our children has to be welcome.’

Caroline Wiggins Safer Communities Manager for Epping Forest District Council closed the conference. She said: ‘If you are a young person suffering from sexual exploitation or somebody worried about what may be happening to someone else, help is available. Call Essex Police or report your concerns to Social Services. You can also get help and advice from a number of charities and voluntary organisations such as Childline on 0800 1111 and the NSPCC Helpline on help@nspcc.org.uk or call 0808 800 5000‘.

Help and advice

 

Crimestoppers pocket card, helping fight crime

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Loughton, Media, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Residents, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

A new pocket card informing people how to help keep communities safe, has been developed by the crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers and has just been launched in Essex.

The ‘Tell us what you know about crime, not who you are’, card has been produced with support from Epping Forest District Council and outlines the unique services offered by Crimestoppers through its 0800 555 111 phone number and online.

CrimeStoppers 0800 555 111

Crimestoppers 0800 555 111

The independent charity operates a 24/7 service for people to give information anonymously about crime or criminals. No names are taken, no one can be identified and calls or online information cannot be traced. It’s all anonymous when the information is passed to police.

The 8 page folded card is designed to be carried in a pocket or handbag as a reminder or to give to those who may need Crimestoppers’ services.

Police can’t solve crime on their own. They need to be pointed in the right direction by people who want to keep their communities safe.

Provide information without the fear of being identified

Councillor Gary Waller, Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: “These cards are really compact and full of useful Crimestoppers information. People will be able to access contact details quickly, easily and feel safe in the knowledge that they can provide information without the fear of being identified. This is an excellent resource that will benefit our community and Epping Forest District Council is proud to be involved in its production.”

You will remain anonymous

Crimestoppers Regional Manager Antonia Litten said: “Some people won’t go to the police, as they fear what will happen to them if the criminal finds out. Crimestoppers removes that concern and gives people peace of mind. No one has anything to fear by contacting Crimestoppers as you will remain anonymous. We never ask for your name and no personal details are taken, we just want to know about the crime.”

 More information

  • For more information on Crimestoppers visit their website
  • Call Crimestoppers anytime on 0800 555 111

 

New community orchard opens

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Health, Loughton, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

A new community orchard in the heart of Loughton was opened thanks to months of hard work by Epping Forest Countrycare and their volunteers.

A special plaque for the Willingale Road Community Orchard was unveiled on 29 October by Loughton Town Council Mayor Judy Jennings, assisted by Epping Forest District Council’s Chairman Liz Webster.

Willingale Road Community Orchard

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Willingale Road Community Orchard

Volunteers planted a variety of trees including apple, plum and greengage, as well as gooseberry, raspberry and blackcurrant bushes after clearing the overgrown and neglected plot of land in Willingale Road.

The site, owned by Loughton Town Council, was originally covered in brambles and full of litter and fly-tipped cement. An ecological survey showed it to be a site worthy of protection with common lizards, slow-worms and grass snakes amongst its inhabitants.

Grown by local residents, for local residents

Mayor Judy Jennings said: “I am very proud to be opening a new community orchard in Loughton. All the fruit will be grown by local residents, for local residents.”

“I am very grateful to Epping Forest Countrycare, who have provided expert advice and practical assistance on improving the site, planning maintenance regimes, nature conservation, and wildlife law.”

“Once the site is more accessible we will work with local schools to arrange bug hunts and tree identification events.”

Volunteer with Epping Forest Countrycare

EFDC Chairman LIz Webster said: “Our Epping Forest Countrycare volunteers have worked extremely hard to clear this site. They have created a new local nature reserve and community orchard in the middle of Loughton.”

“All the volunteers should be very proud of themselves. This wonderful project has been nominated in the Greenest Community Project category in this years Green Essex Awards Scheme. I would urge anyone with a bit of spare time and loves the outdoors to volunteer with Epping Forest Countrycare.”

 

New van ReUses unwanted furniture

Written on . Posted in Community, Housing, Local business, Media, Out and about, Private housing, Recycling and waste, Residents, Supporting business, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

A new furniture delivery van was unveiled by Epping Forest ReUse in Epping on 8 October. The new van will deliver and pickup furniture, white goods and household items which would otherwise have gone to landfill.

Epping Forest ReUSE van launch

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Trustee and Essex County Council Vice-chairman John Aldridge cut the ribbon with heartfelt speeches made by Brian Darwood, director of Lighthouse Furniture project and local Councillor Janet Whitehouse.

Epping Forest ReUse supports the local community through the sale of furniture and household items, at extremely affordable prices with lower prices offered to those on income based benefits and in some cases items are provided for free.

A terrific charity

Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: “Epping Forest ReUse is a terrific charity and one I’m delighted to support. Not only does this fantastic new vehicle help with the collection of donated furniture and the delivery of purchased items, it’s also an eye-catching mobile advertisement for a service that all our residents can use.”

“Epping Forest ReUse also provides many volunteering opportunities. Whether its staff crewing the van, working in the warehouse or helping with administration, they assist people to gain skills and experience, and help them to grow their self esteem and confidence.”

“If you have unwanted household items to donate or are looking for something for yourself please call 01992 578222 during office hours or contact them via their website at www.eppingreuse.org.uk.”

Epping Forest ReUse

Epping Forest ReUse is a registered charity that works in partnership with the Lighthouse Furniture Project.

 

Nominate your Young Citizen of the Year

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Media, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The search for Epping Forest’s Young Citizen of the Year is on!

Do you know a young person who lives in Epping Forest District aged between 11 and 18 who has shown extraordinary commitment in a particular field? Shown great energy and effort towards achieving a particular goal? Or has been of great benefit towards the community?

If so you can nominate them for the Young Citizen of the Year.

Young Citizen on the Year 2016

If you know a young person living in the district who you feel deserves recognition for their contribution to Epping nominate them, the winner will be invited be invited to attend the District Councils’ Civic Awards ceremony to receive their reward, £100 and a certificate.

How to nominate 

Please ensure

  • Your nominee is aged between 11-18
  • Lives in Epping Forest district

Closing date for all applications is Friday 27 November 2015 and the awards ceremony to be held 18 March 2016.

More information 

If you need any more information or if you would like a nomination form sent in the post please contact Louis Walton at lwalton@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or Diane Butler at dbutler@eppingforestdc.gov.uk or alternatively call 01992 564365.

 

Civic awards – Citizen of the Year nominations

Written on . Posted in Civic events, Community, Councillors, Democracy, Media, Older people, Our activities, Residents, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Do you someone who lives in the district who has shown outstanding courage? Done something of great benefit for you or your community? Shown extraordinary commitment in their particular field or towards achieving a particular goal?

If so why not show you appreciation and nominate them for 2016 Citizen of the Year award!

Civic Award - Citizen of the year 2016

How to nominate

More information

If you need more information or advice please

Applications close Friday 27 November 2015 and the award ceremony will be held on 18 March 2016.