Nominate your Citizen of the Year

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Epping Forest District Council’s Citizen of the Year Awards recognises people in the community who go above and beyond and make positive changes in our district.

Citizen of the year Civic Awards 2018 poster

If you know an individual or a team who make a real difference nominate them for

  • Citizen of the Year
  • Team of the Year

Highlighting positive work

Chairman David Stallan said: ‘The Citizen of the Year award is a great event, highlighting the positive work that goes on throughout the district. There are people among us who go above and beyond, making positive contributions to our society.’

‘If there’s and individual or group who springs to mind, now is your time to nominate them for a Civic Award.’

Make a nomination

Applications close Friday 24 November 2017.

Vote for VAEF

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Councillors, Epping, Grants, Local business, Media, Ongar, Our performance, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Your area, Your community, Your money

Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) is bidding to bag a cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative.

Volunteer Essex new website launch

Tesco initiative

Tesco’s has teamed up with Groundwork to help fund community projects. The ‘bags of help’ initiative sees grants of £4,000, £2,000 and £1,000 being awarded, which is all raised through the sales of 5p bags.

3 groups in every Tesco region have been shortlisted to receive the cash award and shoppers are being invited to head along to Tesco stores to vote for who they think should take away the top grant.

Voluntary Action Epping Forest

VAEF is part of a nationwide network of independent agencies that act as “matchmakers” for people seeking volunteering opportunities for non-profit and charity groups needing volunteers.

They match the interests and skills of local people with the needs of groups operating in the Epping Forest district. They also encourage and support organisations to operate good practice in volunteer management.

VAEF aims to use the funding to reach more potential volunteers and increase recruitment of volunteers for community groups in the area.

Cast your vote

  • Voting is open throughout September and October
  • Cast your vote in Epping, Theydon Bois and Ongar Tesco stores

Alec Brown, Head of Community at Tesco said: “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for September and October. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury said: “We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”

Make a positive difference

Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder Councillor Helen Kane said: “We are thrilled to see VAEF shortlisted. The work they do for our community bringing people and services together through volunteering makes such a positive difference.”

“Along with Finance Portfolio Holder Gagan Mohindra, who through the grants service help fund the vital and much needed work, we urge you to cast your vote for VAEF. Allow them to continue to the vast and varied work throughout our district.”

Want to volunteer?

Interested in becoming a volunteer? VAEF has a variety of opportunities for you to get involved with, take a look.

Community clubs get 24k in grants

Written on . Posted in Business, Commercial properties, Community, Grants, Local business, Media, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council

9 local community and voluntary groups have been awarded a total of £24,474 in grant aid from Epping Forest District Council. The grants go towards improving the social and physical wellbeing of the district’s residents.

Community group

Grants awarded

Chigwell Tennis Club – Chigwell
£5,000 to refurbish the clubhouse pavilion

Epping Forest Cricket Club – Epping
£5,000 for an electronic scoreboard and netting to enhance game play

Gardens of Hanbury Petanque Club – Waltham Abbey
£1,574 towards upgrading pistes, for new scaffold boards and fixtures

GROW Community Garden – Loughton
£1,700 for a poly tunnel to grow natural produce

Hastingwood Village Hall – Hastingwood
£3,700 for the refurbishment of the hall to increase use of the premises

3rd Ongar Scouts
£5,000 for security fencing in order to prevent vandalism

Roydon Tennis Club
£800 for cleaning of the courts and moss killing to keep the grounds in good condition

The Roydon Society
£1,500 for repairs to the Stocks & Lock-Up to prevent vandalism

Waltham Abbey Woodcraft Folk
£200 for camping equipment for an upcoming summer trip

Could your community group use £5k?

If your community group could use up to £5,000 to help with your one-off project, initiative or even the further development of an existing scheme, apply now.

Find out if your group is eligible at Grants for sports, arts, leisure and community groups.

Contact us

Council 27 July 2017

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In a sombre council meeting on 27 July 2017 tributes were paid to current Councillor Gary Waller and 3 former councillors who passed away recently.

Gary Waller 1945-2017

Council remembers Gary Waller

Council Chairman David Stallan and Council Leader Chris Whitbread led emotional tributes to Councillor Gary Waller who passed away just a few days earlier.

Gary Waller was one of the most active and senior members of Epping Forest District Council, holding one of the most responsible cabinet roles as Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder. So sudden was his passing that his reports still featured on the council agenda.

A former MP with a wealth of experience, good humour, and friends across the council, councillors offered their heartfelt condolences to all he knew and loved.

Ian Abbey, Stan Goodwin and Keith Wright

In a sombre council meeting, councillors also fondly remembered former councillors Ian Abbey, Stan Goodwin and Keith Wright who all passed away in recent weeks. Councillor Stallan thanked all those who spoke so movingly in memory of ‘4 great councillors’.

Good progress reported to councillors

Council Leader Chris Whitbread and fellow members of the cabinet reported on a range of recent successes.

Reports included

  • Epping Forest Shopping Park
  • Tourism website and conference
  • Fly tipping prosecutions
  • Progress on a new leisure centre for Waltham Abbey following the letting of a new leisure centre management contract with Places for People
  • MiLife mental health and awareness programme for school children
  • Grant aid to 11 local organisations totalling £29,667
  • Updating information on the draft Local Plan
  • Council CCTV cameras helping the police

Council housing safety

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Syd Stavrou also provided councillors with extensive information and reassurance on the safety of local council housing.

There are no high-rise council properties in Epping Forest and very few with any form of cladding (checks suggest this cladding is safe). All council properties are low enough to be reached by Essex Fire and Rescue vehicle platforms. Councillors were invited to attend future meetings to satisfy themselves of the fire safety measures and procedures in place.

Annual reports

Annual reports of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Audit and Governance Committee were also noted along with the council’s anti-fraud and corruption policy.

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.

Community groups get 30k in grants

Written on . Posted in Community, Grants, Media, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

15 local community and voluntary groups have been awarded £30,329 in grants to improve the social and physical wellbeing of Epping Forest district residents. Our grants are a great opportunity to help others in our community.

Grant Aid Scheme Flyer

Grants awarded to

  1. Chingford and Woodford Aikido Club
    £610 for the purchase of a defibrillator for community use
  2. Epping Forest District Citizens Advice Bureau
    £1,493 for the purchase of new computers and office equipment for ‘smarter’ working in order to save paper and help the local environment
  3. Epping Forest Centenary Trust
    £2,950 for materials and hand tools to provide opportunities for people with learning difficulties to help them discover and explore Epping Forest on ‘discovery days’
  4. Epping Forest Community Transport
    £2,000 for wide screen monitors and IT equipment for use with the Flexi Route Booking System
  5. Epping in Bloom
    £2,000 for irrigation equipment and to increase the number of raised beds
  6. Essex Arrows Baseball Club
    £2,500 for baseball equipment
  7. Grow Community Garden
    £1,700 for a compost toilet as part of a larger project to transform a derelict site into a community garden
  8. Loughton Cricket Club
    £2,500 for a mobile cage and bowling machine that will enable the group to coach young players on grass and provide state of the art facilities
  9. Nazeing Common Cricket Club
    £2,176 for repairs to the clubhouse which is hoped to encourage greater numbers of people to participate
  10. Northweald Airfield Museum Association
    £750 for publicity in order to increase the number of visitors to the museum
  11. Queens Hall Charity, North Weald
    £2,389 for a replacement boiler in the hall which provides leisure and community activities
  12. Reindeer Explorer Scouts
    £3,000 for storage containers and new replacement tents
  13. Restore Above and Beyond
    £2,018 for replacement equipment and publicity for the centre
  14. Roydon Playing Fields Management Committee
    £1,573 for exterior painting of their pavilion and new litter bins
  15. Waltham Abbey Historical Society
    £2,670 for storage containers to protect up to 100 year old historical documents

Could your community group use £5k?

If your community group could use £5,000 to help with your one-off project, initiative or even the further development of an existing scheme, apply now.

To find out if your group is eligible visit our Grants for sports, arts, leisure and community groups page.

Want to move to a smaller council home?

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Epping, Grants, Housing, Loughton, Media, Older people, Ongar, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home, Your money

If you want to move to a smaller council home, our downsizing scheme is designed to help tenants move to a home with fewer bedrooms.

Do you want to move to a smaller council home?

Downsizing scheme

If you are an under-occupier living in a council home that has more bedrooms than you need, or you want help moving to a home that’s easier to maintain, our downsizing scheme can help.

This scheme has all sorts of incentives to help you

  • Removal costs and practical help to move
  • Cash incentives for each bedroom you give up
  • Help with decoration costs

Who is eligible

  • Council tenants
  • Housing association tenants (downsizing incentive payment does not apply)
  • You must be living in a property with 1 or more bedrooms and want to move into either general needs or sheltered accommodation
  • Tenants with rent arrears will be considered but the arrears will be deducted from your incentive payment

What are the benefits

  • Downsizers will be prioritised for a move to an area of your choice
  • You will get £1,000 for each bedroom you give up (up to £4,000)
  • You will get help with removal costs (£500)
  • Your heating and gas charges may be greatly reduced if you move into a smaller home
  • Your rent could be lower
  • Practical help with changing your doctor, contacting utility companies, and more

How to apply

Contact our Rehousing Support Officer. Terms and conditions will apply.

Find out more

Selfless citizens celebrated

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The district’s most remarkable people had their moment in the spotlight on Friday 17 March 2017 at the Epping Forest District Council Civic Awards ceremony 2017 at the Marriott Hotel, Waltham Abbey.

Watch the video

Evening in pictures

Civic Awards 2017

Click on the thumbnails below for larger photos

Recognising the efforts of remarkable people

The special evening was hosted by the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Jeane Lea. The Chairman explained why the Council hold the Civic Awards in her opening speech, she said: ”We hold the Civic Awards to recognise the efforts of the remarkable people that live amongst us, who make a difference and inspire others to do the same. Selfless heroes that strive to make the world a better place, without looking for praise or tribute.”

Diverse, unique and exceptional

”We want to thank those that volunteer with care in our communities. Those who save lives in their everyday work. Those who enrich the lives of others with their artistic flair, who make us proud of their sporting talent and those that give their time and effort to worthy causes. We hold these awards for you. You make our district diverse, unique and exceptional.”

”What strikes me, as I am sure it does others, is that our communities are full of incredible people, far too many to recognise everybody.”

Citizen of the Year 2017

This year, Doreen and Sid Miller, were the joint winners of the prestigious Citizen of the Year award. The pair have been heavily involved in community action in the district for decades. Together, they have helped hundreds of families find a place to live by providing crucial rent guarantees, they also volunteer with Epping Forest Community Transport and the local furniture exchange.

Elizabeth Renny was highly commended for her 35 years service to the second Loughton Girl Guides pack, before her retirement this month.

Team of the Year 2017

The Epping Forest District Museum volunteers received the Team of the Year award, for their outstanding work throughout the successful renovation of the museum and more.

Young Citizen of the Year 2017

Arjun Kuhaendran, a student at West Hatch High School won the very special accolade of Young Citizen of the Year for his dedication to his role of charity ambassador. He has seen money raised for Crisis at Christmas, Macmillan, Water Aid and the International Day of Peace in this past year alone.

Runner-up, David Castleman, received a Special Commendation for his extraordinary bravery.

Community Service Medals

Community service medals were received by Garry Clark and Richard Holt of the East of England Ambulance Service, Sub Officer Dave Horton of the Essex Fire Service and Sergeant Simon Dear of Essex Police.

Youth Council Awards

Epping Forest District Council Youth Council award winners Marley Chick, Lisa Nakimuli, Finlay Jordan and Ashwin Gohil were all commended for their outstanding achievements and dedication to their roles.

Sports and Creativity Awards

Daniel Rowden, an 800m runner from Buckhurst Hill, was the winner of this year’s sports bursary of £1,000. Bethany Joiner won the Creativity award for her photographic talent and charitable work, she received a bursary of £500.

Business Apprentices

Praise was given to Epping Forest District Council’s Business Apprentices; Jay Binks, Emily Gowens, Becky Linford, Sian Pavitt, Becca Yellop and Amber Stewart, who have all achieved their level 2 diplomas and are all now employed by different departments across the council.

Over £10,000 raised for Essex Air Ambulance

A magnificent £1,160 was raised at the Civic Awards for the Chairman’s charity, the Essex Air Ambulance Service and local artist Martyn Royce donated an original work of art to the charity for auction. Chairman Jeane Lea raised an incredible £11,160 for her chosen charity.

Celebration of grant aid success

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Councillors, Grants, Local business, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your money

Saying thank you to our local community and voluntary groups for their hard work was the focus of our first grant aid celebration event on Friday 3 March 2017 in Epping.

Grant aid celebration

Click to enlarge photo and then click to see more photos

Grant aid celebration

The groups all received grant aid to spend on equipment for community projects that benefited residents. The money was used for a wide range of items ranging from tents to specialist beds and from uniforms to bee keeping equipment.

Presentations by the Chigwell Disabled Group, Ongar & Villages Voluntary Care and Lambourne End Centre showed how the money they received in grant aid helped their groups to operate or buy specialised equipment.

Keep up the great work

Chairman Jeane Lea said: “On behalf of the people of the Epping Forest district I’d like to say a big thank you to all the groups for their hard work and dedication. Without their wonderful contributions our district would be a much poorer place to live. keep up the great work!”

Help you to help your community

Councillor Helen Kane, Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder said: “This year we have £83,450 grant aid to spend. You can apply for grant aid up to £5,000 if your group needs help to buy a new, or replace an old item of equipment. Get in touch and let us help you to help your community.”

“We want to support, enhance and develop the contribution that local community and voluntary groups make to improve the wellbeing of people in the Epping Forest district.”

Want to know more?

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Grants, Media, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Performance, Planning, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

The economic and social future of West Essex and East Hertfordshire has received a major boost with the award of a government grant towards a garden town proposal.

EFDC, East Herts and Harolow logos

Epping Forest, East Herts and Harlow District Councils have received a joint £0.5million award in the form of a Government grant to support transformational strategic proposals for Harlow and the surrounding area.

Garden Town Grant

The ”Garden Town grant” has been awarded through the government’s Locally led Garden Towns funding to help to build a joint Strategic Team as well as funding research, and specialist support for Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.   Using garden city principles this will enable support to be provided to local communities to ensure that they are involved in the development of masterplans for the sites.   

The three neighbouring partners and Uttlesford District Council have identified a potential need for around 15,000 new homes in and around Harlow over the next 20 years or so. The bid by the three neighbouring councils was supported by a range of other organisations and individuals based in the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor (LSCC) including:

  • Uttlesford District Council
  • Essex County Council
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • South East Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
  • London Stansted Cambridge Consortium

Garden towns were pioneered in Letchworth and Welwyn with Harlow as a New Town designed along Garden Town principles by Sir Frederick Gibberd. The draft local plans being developed by Harlow, East Herts and Epping Forest District councils reflect the importance of Harlow as an economic and social hub of the area. New housing and employment emulating the best aspects of the original garden cities lie at the heart of the proposals.

Local Plans

Epping Forest District and East Herts Council have just completed public consultations on Local Plans identifying strategic housing allocations. The Local Plans will look ahead as far as 2033, while the Garden Town development could look as far forward as 2050. Work is continuing on developing Harlow’s local plan ready for public consultation this year.

As well as housing and employment, the funding will help to address key issues and challenges such as access to the M11, the A414 corridor, River Stort crossing improvements, water use and treatment, and healthcare.  It will also help to secure high design quality and ensure strategic development contributes effectively to the provision of infrastructure.  

Supporting local communities

Councillor John Philip, Planning Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said: ”The regeneration of Harlow is key to the success of our region. The whole area will benefit from the coordinated strategic provision of new homes, employment and social infrastructure in and around Harlow.   It makes sense and I am therefore delighted to see the DCLG putting its weight and money behind the proposals. This funding will enable us to support local communities, parish and town councils to be involved in shaping the future of this area.

East Herts Council leader Linda Haysey said: ”This funding will enable us to take the first steps in scoping out how the garden town could look – exploring sustainable transport, homes for a range of sizes, needs and affordability, health provision and all the other elements that go towards a successful community. It will also allow us make sure we’re fully engaged with residents who might be directly affected by the proposals.

”The garden town is an ambitious project that will benefit the wider region and so I’m delighted there will be access to the new Housing Infrastructure Fund and that we’re now in a position to take the next steps.”

Huge opportunity

Councillor Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “Harlow Council has clear ambitions to regenerate Harlow and believes growth, particularly to the north of Harlow, would contribute to the development of the town in its role as the sub-regional centre.  This initiative is a huge opportunity for Harlow and the surrounding areas to provide much needed housing and infrastructure improvements which will all contribute to the regeneration of Harlow.

”This welcomed announcement comes at the same time Harlow begins to celebrate its 70th birthday and this is about looking to the future and the next 70 years to help secure Harlow’s future.  If we are going to provide the full range of housing that local people need, in particular affordable housing, as well as create jobs and skills opportunities to meet the inward investment we are achieving, then we all need to work together on proposals to achieve sustainable growth. The Government funding enables all three Councils to move proposals forward to carry out detailed work and I look forward to continuing working with East Herts and Epping Forest Councils on this ambitious project.”