Find out all about hedgehogs with Countrycare

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Come and learn about all things hedgehog at Epping Forest Countrycare’s annual Hedgehog Day on 30 May 2018, 11.00am – 13.00pm, at Green Acres Epping Forest, Kiln Road, North Weald.

Hedgehog day

Lots to enjoy

Learn about our spikey friends – where they live, what they eat and whether they like to party or stay in!

Make some hedgehog food for our hungry friends and create some arts and crafts inspired by the hedgehogs’ prickly looks.

Event details

  • Date: Wednesday 30 May 2018
  • Time: 11:00am – 13:00pm
  • Location: Green Acres Epping Forest, Kiln Road, North Weald, Essex, CM16 6AD
  • Cost: £3

Contact Epping Forest Countrycare for more details, on 01992 564224.

Council 24 April 18 – Freedom of the District – RAF 100 anniversary celebrations

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Business, Chairman, Chigwell, Civic events, Community, Consultation, Councillors, Democracy, Epping, Loughton, Meetings, North Weald Airfield, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

The ‘red carpet’ was rolled out for the Royal Air Force when the ‘Freedom of Epping Forest District’ was conferred on 56 Squadron. Wing Commander Matt Fleckney, Officer Commanding 56 Squadron, witnessed the sealing of the ‘Freedom’ with Council Chairman, Councillor David Stallan at a special meeting of Epping Forest District Council to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF on 1 April 1918.

RAF, ATC, North Weald Operations and Airfield Historian Arthur Moreton

(Click on an image to start the slideshow)

The meeting unanimously passed the motion proposed by Councillor Brian Rolfe and seconded by Councillor Anne Grigg.

“That, in the year of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918, this Council reaffirms its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant and the bonds of friendship between our Armed Forces and the people of Epping Forest District through the conferral of the Freedom of the District on 56 Squadron – the Royal Air Force”.

The District and the RAF

Epping Forest District has a long and profound relationship with the RAF. The associations stretch back as early as 1916, when the fledgling Royal Flying Corps first arrived at North Weald.

By the end of World War II, the district had three airfields at North Weald, Stapleford Abbotts and Willingale. Blake Hall had become a centre of RAF operations while RAF Chigwell – known as the ‘Balloon Site’ for its barrage balloons also became an intelligence centre. In Nazeing a dummy airfield was created in to draw enemy bombers away from their real targets.

Norwegian connections

North Weald also became an important focus of Norwegian national resistance. Escaping the invasion of their homeland, Norwegian pilots flying Spitfires under the colours of the RAF became some of the most successful squadrons of WWII.

Squadron 56

However, 56 Squadron has by far the longest relationship with the District. Based at North Weald from 1927 until 1941, 56 Squadron’s honors include Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. The 56 Squadron Standard is displayed in St Andrew’s Church, North Weald.

Personal accounts and tributes

Before opening the debate to Councillors, Councillor Stallan broke with convention by asking the Council’s Director of Communities, Alan Hall to read a personal statement. Alan Hall, spoke with pride of his father, Sergeant Bill Hall, an instrument maker who worked on the Hurricanes of 56 Squadron at North Weald. In later years, Bill Hall left no doubt of his affection for the ‘Fighting 56’ frequently reminding his family how it was his job to turn on the light at the top of St Andrew’s Church tower to guide the pilots safely back the base after dark.

Councillors spoke with emotion. An RAF veteran in his own right, Councillor Rolfe led the calls for the ‘Freedom’ to be conferred. Councillor Stephen Murray spoke of the military traditions of his own family and the insight he had received through his brother’s RAF service.

Councillor Chris Pond described the history of a previous owner of his house in Loughton – a young RAF officer shot down and killed in defence of his country. Councillor Anne Grigg joined Councillor Murray is speaking of the proud record of 56 Squadron and it’s sad distinction of being the first RAF squadron to lose a pilot – killed in action – in World War II.

Councillor Jon Whitehouse spoke of joining the Chairman only a few days previously to rededicate a war memorial, counting the cost of war and what we ask members of the armed services to do.

Perhaps the most moving contribution from Councillor Syd Stavrou described the loss of the father she never knew – part of a Lancaster crew, shot down and killed in Germany months before she was born.

Freedom accepted

Wing Commander Matt Fleckney was joined in the Council Chamber by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex Michael Chapman and officers of 56 Squadron. He took great pleasure in accepting the Freedom of the District. Describing North Weald as the ‘Spiritual Home’ of 56 Squadron, the Wing Commander also reflecting on the RAF’s wider connections across the district, the ‘finest hour’ in the sky above, the jet age and some of the brave people who did not return.

56 Squadron will exercise the Freedom of the District with a parade from North Weald Village Hall to the Airfield Gate Guardian on Sunday 10 June.

Other business

In keeping with protocol, the agreement to confer the Freedom of the District concluded the business of the extraordinary meeting of Full Council. Following a short break, the second meeting of the evening convened at 8pm with a minutes silence to remember former councillors Ron Braybrook and Peter Riley, plus Peter Adams, an independent member of the Standards Committee since December 2012.

Portfolio Holders answered questions on a range of subjects including:

  • Lorry parking in Waltham Abbey
  • Food banks
  • Progress towards the redevelopment of the St John’s Road area of Epping
  • The Local Plan
  • Pollution caused by stationary cars with idling engines
  • Recycling (Epping Forest District Council’s domestic recycling is the 22 highest of all 350 English councils)
  • Additional council funded police officers due to begin work in June
  • The completion of a £1.1million refurbishment of Epping Sports Centre and plans to provide even better sports facilities for residents in the future
  • Epping Forest Shopping Park, the Broadway and its new Landmark Building
  • Sport and Leisure Centre water quality at Loughton and Ongar
  • Council House building programme
  • Electoral Review
  • The Restore charity
  • Waltham Abbey’s new leisure centre due for completion in November
  • Reduced price home composting bins
  • Voluntary Action Epping Forest

Youth Council win national awards for mental health work

Written on . Posted in Community, Health, Media, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Congratulations to Epping Forest Youth Council (EFYC) on coming first in the 2018 National Crimebeat Awards for their work on the MiLife mental health project.

A mix of past and present youth councillors collected the £1,000 prize from HRH Duchess of Gloucester on 18 April 2018. Current Youth Councillor Adam Freeman was joined by former Youth Councillors Matthew Tinker, Joseph Pascoe and Leonora Troshupa to give a short presentation and receive the award at the Royal National Hotel in London.

MiLife group with HRH Duchess of Gloucester


MiLife is for 11–16 year olds to better understand and manage their own emotional wellbeing and mental health. It advises where they could go for more help and support when problems arise.

Luke Lowrie of project partners the Red Balloon Foundation also attended with Epping Forest District Council officers Gill Wallis, Gaby Gold and Di Gilson-Butler.

Find out more at the MiLife website.

Thrilled to win first prize

“We’re thrilled to win first prize!” said former Youth Councillor Matthew Tinker. “This award goes to all the youth councillors, past and present, who helped create the wonderful MiLife project. MiLife shows that you are not alone and there are people waiting to help you if you get in touch with them.”

Former Youth Councillor Joseph Pascoe explained more about the MiLife project: “MiLife was born following the 2015 Epping Forest Youth Conference where the young people who attended listed mental health as one of the top issues concerning them.”

“MiLife aims to give young people a greater understanding of what to do if they feel mentally ill but also how to help themselves keep a healthy and happy mind. I recommend all young people should have a look at our website at”

“The MiLife Roadshow visited secondary schools in the Epping Forest district and pupils watch a theatre piece acted out by the Red Balloon Foundation group. It shows pupils about positive mental health and helps them build resilience to give them the tools to support themselves in life.”

National Crimebeat awards

“The National Crimebeat awards are held on behalf of High Sheriffs to recognise innovative and successful crime prevention projects carried out by young people” said former Youth Councillor Leonora Troshupa. “MiLife was initially endorsed by previous Essex High Sheriff Simon Hall and it was the current Essex High Sheriff Brian Burrough who came with us to the ceremony.”

Youth Councillor Adam Freeman ended with: “We each received a Crimebeat Medal and Epping Forest Youth Council was given a certificate and £1,000 cheque. After the ceremony we were given a tour of London on an open top bus and a trip on the London Eye which proved to be a great end to a fantastic day.”

Claim £30 refund on cloth nappies

Written on . Posted in Community, Energy efficiency, Grants, Media, Out and about, Recycling and waste, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Did you know from just £80 you can buy your baby all the nappies they need! Cloth nappies make a great alternative to disposable nappies and can offer great cost, health and environmental benefits.

Essex County Council is offering a £30 refund per child on the purchase of any cloth nappies or laundering service. Even when you take into account laundering costs, you can save up to £1,000 compared to disposable nappies.

Washing line full of cloth nappies

Save money

You will need to keep hold of your receipts and provide either a photo of your maternity exemption or child’s birth certificate, Essex County Council will then process your refund – it’s that easy!

Better for the environment

Each child will use an average of 5,000 disposable nappies … or 24 cloth nappies! Disposable nappies cannot be recycled and can take hundreds of years to break down.

Even when you consider laundering, cloth nappies can be up to 40% better for the environment than disposables. You can reduce your water and electricity usage by not soaking or pre-washing nappies and by washing in a full load at 40 or 60 degrees.

Easy to use

Modern cloth nappies do not require complicated folding and fiddly safety pins. There are many varieties to choose from, many are shaped and fasten with poppers, grips or use Velcro. Modern washing machines can make quick work of cleaning them.

Get in touch

Please email if you have any questions regarding the £30 cloth nappy incentive. If you have any questions about using cloth nappies, find out who you can contact for support with cloth nappies.

Walking Football to get back into sport

Written on . Posted in Community, Health, Loughton, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your home

Walking football is a slow paced version of the beautiful game, aimed at getting players back in to the sport, keep an active lifestyle and recover from injury.

Epping Forest District Council are now running sessions on Saturdays at 10:30am – 11:30am from 28 April 2018 at Roding Valley Recreation Ground in Loughton.

Walking Football, Roding Valley, Loughton

Session details

When: Saturdays from 28 April 2018

Time: 10:30am – 11:30am

Location: Roding Valley Recreation Ground, Loughton, IG10 3BS

Contact: Ezra Folan, / 01992 564363


May 2018 half term activities

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Health, Media, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Uncategorized, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Keep the kids entertained this May half term with our wide variety of fun filled activities.

May Half term 2018

Epping Forest multi sports day

  • Tuesday 29 May
  • Leverton Junior School, Honey Lane, Waltham Abbey EN9 3BE
  • 9.15am to 3.30pm (Registration 8.45am – 9.15am, collect 3.30pm – 4.00pm)
  • Ages 5 – 14
  • Cost £16.50
  • Book online or call 01992564226 (Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm)
  • Thursday 31 May
  • Loughton Cricket Club, the Uplands, Loughton IG10 1NQ
  • 9.15am to 3.30pm (Registration 8.45am – 9.15am, collect 3.30pm – 4.00pm)
  • Ages 5 – 14
  • Cost £16.50
  • Book online or call 01992564226 (Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm)

Come and join our experienced coaches for a day of exciting activities. We believe that there is a sport and activity for everyone. At our Multi Sports days, young people can expect to get to try a mixture of traditional and non-traditional sports from Tennis to American Football with some wacky games and competitions thrown in for good measure.

Young people will need to dress appropriately for both indoor and outdoor sports, we would also advise a change of clothing in case of bad weather. Young people will also need a packed lunch, and plenty to drink (fruit juice or water please, no sports drinks). A healthy morning snack will be provided.

Customise your own denim

  • Tuesday 29 May
  • Communities training room, EFDC, 25 Hemnall Street, CM16 4LU
  • 6pm – 8pm
  • Ages 11 – 16
  • Cost £5.50
  • Book online or call 01992564226 (Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm)

Following on from our popular ‘Customise Your Own T-shirt Workshop’ is our ‘Customise Your Own Denim Workshop’. In a world of mass production and fast fashion why not take some time out and learn how to distress, embellish or bleach your denim to make a one off fashion special. Bring along your own denim jeans or shirt you would like to customise and we will provide the rest.

Salt dough art

  • Tuesday 29 May
  • Communities training room, EFDC, 25 Hemnall Street, CM16 4LU
  • 10am – 12pm
  • Ages 5-15
  • Cost £5.50
  • Booking essentialBook online or call 01992564226 (Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm)

Learn to make jewellery and art pieces using salt dough. All materials and paints will be provided.

Any items you make can be taken home.

Play in the forest

  • Wednesday 30 May
  • The Stubbles, Nursery Road, Loughton, IG10 4DZ
  • 10am – 12pm
  • All ages
  • Cost £3
  • Drop in at any time – No need to book

Play in the Forest is all about playing games and having fun in the forest. Join us for this Spring themed activity. We’ll have bug hunting, den building and a live story telling session as well as a host of Spring related activities. Drop in at any time. No need to book. Parental supervision required.

Please note: ‘Play in the Forest’ sessions are provided as play opportunities for children and not as child care. All children may come and go as they please. Staff are not obligated to prevent any children from leaving the sessions. Parents/Carers are free to stay and join in.

Come and join us

Don’t delay, getting booking for a fun filled May half term

  • Book online

  • or call 01992564226 (Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm)

Bright future for Epping sports and leisure

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Epping, Health, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our performance, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your money

The Epping Forest District Council in partnership with Places for People (PfP), has just completed a £1.1 million update to the Current Sports Centre in the heart of the town, with improvements to the gym and brand-new fitness spaces.

Epping Sports Center Opening

Future redevelopment plans

However, further improvements to local sports and leisure including the provision of a new swimming pool will follow any future redevelopment plans of the current council – owned sports centre in Epping.

Users of the centre know it was built many years ago. It is physically limited by the size, age and design of the building (poor accessibility, problems with floor in Sports Hall, ageing Mechanical and Electrical Systems etc.) and it is in a constrained location with minimal car parking.

What is the best solution for a Sports centre of the future to serve better the residents’ needs?

The current site of Epping Sports Centre has been identified by Epping Forest District Council as being more suitable for residential development and has been included in the Local Plan.

Epping Forest District Council has confirmed that Epping Sports Centre isn’t going anywhere in the short term, although it’s future will be under review at some stage.

Investing in Health and Wellbeing

Fitness and good mental health are key components of the Council’s Residents’ Health and Wellbeing Strategy. And although Leisure is a discretionary service, and many councils have been forced to cut back on leisure centre provision, the strong finances of Epping Forest District Council are enabling it to invest strategically in new sports and leisure facilities.

The Council entered a new contract with PfP to manage its sports and leisure centres last year. The £1.1 million improvement to Epping being completed now is part of a 20-year deal including £14.5million improvements to Council’s leisure facilities.  A brand new £10m Leisure Centre is under construction in Waltham Abbey. A £2m extension is currently being built at Loughton Leisure Centre and almost £0.5 has been invested at Ongar Leisure Centre.

No plans to close the facility

No decision has been taken to close Epping Sports Centre but the Council is looking at the options to provide better facilities including a swimming pool locally. The Council is looking to increase participation for people of all ages and abilities. Residents want to protect the Green Belt and a number of potential options including brownfield sites in North Weald are being assessed to ensure that any new facilities are accessible to the maximum number of residents.  The Epping Forest District Council is actively seeking a suitable site in the Epping area.

However, decisions are a long way off and other locations may also emerge.

Consultation will be a key part of the Council’s plans. The Council will be sure to listen to residents very carefully to ensure the best possible outcomes before any decisions are made.

Epping Forest District Council has no plans to close the facility.

Grants for community groups available

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Community, Grants, Health, Media, Older people, Our activities, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Could your community group use £5,000 to help improve the health and wellbeing of the districts residents? If yes, apply now for a grant for projects to improve facilities, such as equipment purchase, capital projects and new initiatives.


Grants up to £5,000

Grants are available to

  • Local voluntary and community groups
  • Sports clubs
  • Arts and culture groups
  • Trusts
  • Social enterprises
  • Community interest groups

Who can apply?

Groups that apply must be

  • Charitable and/or non-profit making
  • Based, or active, in Epping Forest district
  • Provide services to meet key needs within the district
  • Non political
  • Can show clear aims and objectives and effective strategies for achieving these
  • Have considered alternative funding sources or put forward schemes as part of ‘match’ funding proposals
  • Are able to show a clear need for financial support
  • Have a bank or building account in the name of the applicant organisation

Make your application now

Councillor David Stallan, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council said: ”We really appreciate the work the voluntary and community sector does in the district. In tough economic times the need for groups to receive funding and support from the council goes up and I look forward to seeing how our grants are spent to help the lives of those in our community.”

“If your group is eligible and the grant will help the health and wellbeing of our residents, don’t delay and make your application now.”

Great opportunity

He continued “Our grants are a great opportunity to help others in our community”.

“The difference they have already made in the district is astounding and I look forward to seeing how the grants go on to help others in our community”.

“In tough economic times, the Council’s contribution can make all the difference. So if you or your organisation is eligible don’t delay and make an application today”.

Make an application

More information

For further information on Grant Aid

Celebration of grant aid success

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Chairman, Community, Democracy, Equalities, Grants, Health, Local business, Media, Older people, Our activities, Our performance, Out and about, Performance, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home, Your money

Recognising the valuable contribution the local community and voluntary sector does for the district was celebrated Friday 23 March at our grant aid celebration event.

Ongar In Bloom

Click to enlarge photo and then click to see more photos

Diverse mix of groups

A diverse mix of groups helping a wide spectrum of people across the District has received grants in the last year enabling them to continue their much needed and valuable work.

Vital and much needed services

Epping Forest District Council Chairman Councillor David Stallan said: “It’s so encouraging to see such a wide variety of groups receive these vital grants. This year we have given over £83,000 in grants and it’s great to see the improvements they are making within our communities.”

“The voluntary and community sectors do so much so for our District and its important their much needed hard work is recognised.”

“If you know of any local or community groups that could use our grant aid schemes help, get in contact today.”

Want to know more?

New exhibition opening Easter weekend

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Epping, Loughton, Media, Museum, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

From itsy, bitsy bikinis to one-piece bathing suits.

The new exhibition at Epping Forest District Museum highlights the changes in style, design and inspirations of swimwear from the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Beauty and the Beach exhibition at Epping Forest District Museum

  • Where: Epping Forest District Museum, 39-41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL
  • When: Saturday 31 March to Saturday 30 June 2018
  • Time: Monday to Wednesday and Friday 10am to 4pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm
  • Free entry


Look out for the exciting events and activities we have to accompany this exhibition, including our very own beach at the museum.