#OurDay the people behind your local services

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Tuesday 15 November 2016 is #OurDay. #OurDay is a yearly tweetathon for local government to show what it does in a typical day.

Here are just a few of the people behind your valued Epping Forest District Council services.

Karen & her lifewalkers set off from Clayton Hill on a mild autumn morning

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

Helping the distirct ‘stay well this winter’

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Crime and safety, Epping, Health, Housing, Housing repairs, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

‘Stay well this winter’ events have been taking place across the district preparing residents for the colder months.

Stay well this winter

Health and wellbeing event

These free events in partnership with the West Essex Clinical Commissioning group include:

  • Advice on managing prescription medicines
  • Advice on where to access to help i.e. pharmacies, NHS Choices, GP, NHS111 or A&E
  • Informative talks from pharmacist, nurses and specialist health care advisors
  • Free health care checks
  • Free Lunch

The event also includes useful help and advice from:

  • Age UK
  • Care line
  • NHS falls prevention
  • The Alzheimer’s society
  • Community Agents
  • Trading Standards
  • NHS Nurses
  • East of England Ambulance
  • East od England Fire Service

The events conclude with some light entertainment from ‘Elvis’ and a goody bag.

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

Know the steps you can take

So far ‘stay well this winter ‘has visited The Zinc Arts Centre in Ongar and The Limes Centre Chigwell.

One participant said ‘The talks were very informative and it was good to have a chance to speak to lots of professional in one place’

Karen Murray, EFDC Community Engagement said: ‘These events are a great opportunity for people to know the steps they can take to protect themselves, family and friends over the colder months and to have a bit of fun together whilst enjoying a performance from Elvis’.

Come and join us

The last ‘stay well this winter’ will take place:

  • Wednesday 16 November

  • 8 Station Road, Loughton IG10 4NX

Please note that the events run all day and include a free lunch.

Booking is required, please call to confirm a place.

  • 01992564226

Cuckooing drug den closed

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Loughton, Media, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

Following a drugs raid by Essex Police at a council owned property in Prescott Green in Loughton, Epping Forest District Council’s Community Safety team get their first closure order granted.

Closure Order

The drugs raid uncovered a situation wherein a vulnerable council tenant was being exploited by a drugs gang. They were running their illegal business from his home, a crime referred to as cuckooing.

The gang members were arrested by Essex Police for anti-social behaviour and drug related offences. A closure order for the address was issued on 6 October 2016 at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court.

Protection of residents

Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder Councillor Gary Waller said: “We are extremely pleased with this result. A closure order gives the council the power to close a property and to prevent certain people having access, by listing authorised visitors. Anyone that enters the property without permission will now risk arrest for breaching this order.”

Designed to tackle serious anti-social behaviour

Councillor Gary Waller continued: “Closure orders are designed to tackle serious anti-social behaviour. The order was necessary in this case as a means to provide local residents with a break from the nuisance the gang caused them on a regular basis and most importantly, to give the vulnerable adult the help and support he needs.”

He continued: ‘’We take the safety of our residents very seriously and this is a great result for the local community and us. Thanks are due to our partners for working closely with us to achieve this outcome.’’

Report crime online

Keeping our children safe

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Media, Out and about, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

The district’s primary schools are being encouraged to sign up for the NSPCC Speak Out. Stay Safe. programme. This ground-breaking initiative aims to visit every primary school in the UK to bring about a long term reduction in child cruelty.

Buddy and friends

Speak Out. Stay Safe. Programme

The Speak Out. Stay Safe. programme is fully funded for all schools. It consists of an assembly presentation for all children followed by an hour long workshop for Years 5 and 6.

With the help of the NSPCC mascot Buddy, the programme provides child-friendly, interactive assemblies and workshops delivered by specially trained staff and volunteers.

It aims to help children

  • understand abuse in all its forms and recognise the signs of abuse
  • know how to protect themselves from all forms of abuse
  • know how to get help, and the sources of help available to them, including the Childline service

Appropriate and engaging

Councillor Helen Kane, Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder said: “The NSPCC Speak Out. Stay Safe. programme works with schools to support children’s learning in an appropriate and engaging way. It’s important for children not to be afraid and to tell someone they trust.”

“This programme reinforces that message and that children have the right to be safe, to be listened to, and to be able to find help and support.”

Visit every school in the Epping Forest district

Helen Marriner from the NSPCC Schools Service said: “We’d love to visit every school in the Epping Forest district and empower children to speak out to a trusted adult or Childline about any worries they have. We’re committed to providing a comprehensive service to help schools keep children safe.”

“We also provide information and resources to parents as the programme links directly to the curriculum. If you want us to visit your school please contact your head teacher. Alternatively you can contact me direct by phone or email, or you can always find more information on our website.”

Stay safe from abuse and neglect

Helen ended with: “We aim to give a generation of children the knowledge and understanding they need to stay safe from abuse and neglect – every childhood is worth fighting for.”

Contact

Improving homes and lives with CARE

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Councillors, Crime and safety, Epping, Housing, Housing repairs, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Private housing, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Are you over 60, disabled or on a low income? Do you need help to improve, repair or adapt your home?

If you answer yes to both our C.A.R.E. scheme may be able to help you.

Improving homes and lives with CARE

C.A.R.E. stands for Caring and Repairing in Epping Forest. It is a Home Improvement Agency run by Epping Forest District Council to provide both practical and technical help to people to remain at home in greater comfort, warmth and security.

What C.A.R.E. does

C.A.R.E. services include

  • Schemes available to provide home adaptations, improvements and repairs
  • Local authority funding and ways to pay for works
  • Handyperson service
  • Home visits and inspections of agreed works
  • Advice on the scale and cost of any necessary works
  • Help with choosing a reputable and reliable builder
  • Project management of agreed work
  • Help to complete forms for local authority funding

We also offer financial assistance and grants to home owners, private tenants and landlords

  • Disabled Facilities Grants – up to £30,000
  • Decent Homes Repayable Assistance – up to £10,000
  • Small Works Repayable Assistance – up to £3,000
  • Empty Homes Repayable Assistance – up to £10,000

Improving homes and lives

Housing Portfolio Holder Councillor Syd Stavrou said: “We want people to stay in their own homes for as long as they can, but sometimes as people get older they may need help to adapt their homes or to carry out repairs and maintenance.”

Caring and Repairing in Epping Forest is here to support you to stay in your home and provides practical help that makes a difference – improving homes and improving lives.”

Find out more

More  information can be found on our website at www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/housing or you can contact us

 

Untaxed vehicles crackdown

Written on . Posted in Abandoned vehicles, Business, Community, Crime and safety, Doing business with the council, Local business, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Parking, Regulations, Residents, Supporting business, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

In a national drive to crack down on untaxed vehicles on public roads, Epping Forest District Council will be working in partnership with the DVLA from 1 August 2016.

Untaxed vehicles

Clamped or seized

With the assistance of the DVLA, Council officers will be able to check the road tax record of any vehicle. If the vehicle is not taxed, it will be either clamped or seized and taken to a DVLA contractors depot.

The owner could have to pay as much as £160 (plus storage costs) and will have to prove the vehicle has valid road tax before the vehicle can be reclaimed.

Delighted to be working in partnership

Epping Forest District Council’s Environment Portfolio holder, Councillor Will Breare-Hall said: ‘’I am delighted that the council is working in partnership with the DVLA. Untaxed vehicles are often difficult to trace, but with our help, the DVLA will broaden their ability to find the offenders and reduce the number of untaxed vehicles within our district.”

He continued: ‘’Untaxed vehicles contribute to congestion, take up valuable parking spaces and use resources paid for by others. Their drivers are more likely to commit traffic offences such as speeding, illegally parking and driving without insurance, which presents risks for other drivers. Untaxed vehicles are often abandoned and eventually become vandalised. Working alongside the DVLA will help to improve road conditions for our residents and other road users.’’

Safe at home with Careline

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Housing, Housing repairs, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Private housing, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Epping Forest Careline is for anyone who wants to feel more secure in their home – knowing they can get help at the press of a button.

In addition to pendant alarms, we offer a wide range of telecare sensors, such as smoke detectors, bogus caller buttons and fall detectors.

Careline poster

Safe at home with Careline

For more information please contact us and we’ll be happy to explain the costs and arrange a demonstration.

Find out more

 

Unchosen – modern slavery in Epping Forest

Written on . Posted in Business, Councillors, Crime and safety, Media, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

The blight of modern slavery came under the spotlight at a conference held at Epping Forest District Council on 10 March 2016.

The conference were shown films by Unchosen – a hard-hitting website. Through films it tells the story of slaves and the people who exploit them.

Unchosen poster

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

Speakers

  • Councillor Gary Waller Epping Forest District Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety
  • Tony Byrne of the Gangmaster Licensing Authority (GLA)
  • Diane Payner of the Salvation Army
  • Anna Di Mascio from Barnados

A modern blight

Gary Waller is also chairman of the Community Safety Partnership a group of local organisations including the Council, Essex Police and Social Services. He reminded delegates that slavery was officially banned in the UK hundreds of years ago and yet it still blights modern lives.

He passed over to Diane Payner of the Salvation Army. She presented the first of the morning’s videos, a heart-rending insight on people trafficking from Eastern Europe into the western sex trade.

Preying on women and children

Anna Di Mascio of  Barnardo’s moved the focus from the exploitation of women to the trafficking of children, brought to the UK and forced into a life of crime, forced marriage and forced labour. Control, intimidation and threats are used not just against the young children but also their families.

The criminals range across Eastern Europe, Africa and South-East Asia, preying on desperate families searching for a better life for their children. The criminals try to stay one step ahead of the authorities, changing routes and counties of origin as law enforcement agencies track them.

Anna Di Mascio says the most prevalent counties of origin are Vietnam, Albania, the UK itself, Nigeria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Romania, Bangladesh, China and the Czech Republic.

Isolated and afraid

Many people caught up in slavery are too afraid to seek help. Others don’t understand that they are being exploited, having been brainwashed by their captors into thinking the abuse is normal. Others pretend to their families that all is well to protect them from worry. The emotional and psychological damage can be as bad as the physical harm they experience.

Men are victims too

Modern slavery is hidden within plain view but there are signs anyone can see. Tony Byrne of the Gangmaster Licensing Authority focuses of forced labour.

He reminded delegates of the Morcambe Bay tragedy in which 21 people died and presented a video depicting forced labour on a chicken farm with the intervention of an ordinary member of the public reporting concerns to the police. He said that within local agriculture and horticulture forced labour will be taking place somewhere.

The GLA also covers food processing and packaging and shellfish processing. Eastern European men are at particular risk of this, predominately exploited by criminals of the same nationalities. The Police cover other areas such as the catering and hospitality industries.

Find out more

 

Know a cheat in your street?

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Business, Business rates, Community, Council tax, Crime and safety, Media, Older people, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

Year after year, thousands of pounds of your money is stolen by cheaters, money that should be used to improve your local community.

Spot the cheater – don’t let them get away.

Know a cheat?

Fraudsters are cheating us all

Housing tenancy fraud – misusing council properties

Council tax fraud – Falsely claiming Council Tax discounts (including Council Tax Support)

Business rates fraud – Falsely claiming reliefs or exemptions

Do you suspect someone of fraud?

Then tell us about:

Someone who has committed social housing fraud by:

  • illegally sub-letting,
  • not living in the property and leaving it empty,
  • making a fraudulent Right to Buy application, •
  • taking (or making) a payment for a mutual exchange,
  • living in a property after the tenant has died, where they had no right to succeed, or
  • giving false or misleading information to get the tenancy

Someone who has committed Council Tax fraud clamming discount by falsely:

  • stating the property is empty,
  • claiming they live alone,
  • claiming they are a student, or
  • claiming Council Tax Support falsely by doing undeclared work or having capital / property in excess of the limit

A person or business liable for Business Rates who falsely claims an exemption or relief they are not entitled to.

Spotted a cheater?

 

 

Unsung hero gets award

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Housing repairs, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Congratulations to Christopher Bullock from Epping Green on receiving a highly commended award in the unsung hero category in the Pride of Essex Awards 2015.

Pride of Essex 2015 "Unsung Hero" Highly Commended and award winners - Chris Bullock centre

Chris is the Handyman Project Coordinator for Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF), a service funded by Epping Forest District Council (EFDC).

He is a handyman who does jobs for tenants of EFDC properties who are over 60 and or disabled who often have no one else who can help them. Chris does basic jobs like replacing tap washers, flat pack assembly, fitting curtain rails and putting up shelving, plus a lot more!

Extremely courteous and invaluable

Chris was nominated for the award by Mr and Mrs Burton. They moved to the Epping Forest district in 2013 and asked EFDC if anyone could help with basic jobs as both are registered disabled. They were referred to the Handyman Service and introduced to Chris.

The couple now regard Chris as a personal friend  and describe Chris as “Extremely courteous and invaluable.” Mrs Burton added: “We cannot thank him enough for all he does, we wanted him and his work recognised, which is why we’re nominating him for an award.”

Humbled by the nomination

At the Pride of Essex Awards Chris said: “I am genuinely humbled by the nomination. I was really taken back by the incredible efforts nominees had gone to in order to help others, many in the face of their own adversities.”

“The Burtons are just one example of many whose situation compels me to go even further, often working into the evenings in my own time, just to improve their lives. I was the only person nominated who provided a hands on practical support service which highlights how rare the work we do really is.”

“This Award should be shared by all who support the Handyman Service at EFDC and VAEF, as really I’m just the front man. Without this team I wouldn’t have known of their struggles and been able to help them, so thank you from me.”

Volunteer with VAEF

If you would like to find out more about volunteering please contact Voluntary Action Epping Forest