West Essex Primary Prize Awards

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Loughton, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

On Wednesday 6 July the West Essex Partnership (WEP) marked the hard work and achievements of children at primary schools across the Epping Forest district.

The West Essex Primary Prize Awards was hosted for the second year at Epping Forest College in Loughton. Almost 60 local children who had been singled out by their schools for particular praise over the last year were rewarded with book token prizes supplied by WEP.

The Partnership is made up of the three Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) from Epping Forest, Harlow and Uttlesford. WEP established the prize as a way of supporting attainment in local schools and to recognise and celebrate the achievements of children of primary school age.

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The prizes include certificates and £10 book tokens for pupils selected by their teachers as the most improved over the last year in areas such as literacy, numeracy, science/ICT, sport and music. Schools were also able to award a special prize in any subject or category they wished.

Almost 40 schools participated in the second year of the scheme across west Essex. The chairman and vice-chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillors Ken Angold-Stephens and Brian Rolfe have also been attending special assemblies in participating schools to hand out some of these award certificates.

The second year of the Prize scheme would not have been possible without the generous support of Essex County Council and Epping Forest College.

Chief Superintendent Simon Williams acting chairman of One Epping Forest (LSP) and member of the WEP Board commented: “It has been a great pleasure to be involved in the Primary Prize. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all the great work that is going on in primary schools across the district. Members of the Partnership who have attended school assemblies have seen at first hand all the hard work, endeavour and talent that exist in our primary schools. The children who have won a prize this year range from foundation to year six and the prizes are a simple way of recognising their achievements and coming together as a community to say very well done.”

Essex County Councillor Valerie Metcalf commented: “Essex County Council has a special responsibility for giving our children a great start in life and enabling them to be the very best they can be in schools that are fun and safe places to be but which set the highest standards for achievement. The County Council is very happy to support the unique Primary Prize scheme which operates in west Essex and would like to thank all the schools for their participation. Most importantly of all, I would like to thank the children for their great performance over the last year and their parents for giving them the support they need.”

The event was attended by Chief Superintendent Simon Williams, the vice-chairman of Epping Forest District Council Councillor Brian Rolfe, who presented the prizes, Councillor Valerie Metcalfe representing Essex County Council and Derek Macnab Deputy Chief Executive of Epping Forest District Council.

District Councillor Brian Rolfe said: “I was absolutely delighted to attend this ceremony and add my personal congratulations to all the children at the schools. Every single one of them has worked particularly hard this year and deserves to be acknowledged for all that effort.”

Active Health Open Day at Thomas Willingale School

Written on . Posted in Community, Our activities, Sports, Young people, Your area, Your community

Active Health is holding an open day at Thomas Willingale School in Loughton on Monday 23 May 2011 giving mini taster sessions of its activities. Active Health is a project providing physical activity and healthy eating sessions to people aged over 50 in Epping, Harlow and Uttlesford.

The project aims to improve the health and wellbeing of older people and allow them to become more physically active and involved in the community. A number of events and fitness opportunities have been organised including exercise classes for the older generation, Nintendo Wii sessions, allotments, walks, nutrition talks and more.

The open day aims to increase awareness of the project and to gather volunteers. The day will be in 2 sessions, the morning session runs from 9:15am to 11:15am and the afternoon session runs from 1:30pm to 3:30pm.

Active Health has recently installed allotments at Thomas Willingale School and would like to recruit some of the pupil`s grandparents to give up their time and knowledge to help pupils start growing vegetables on a weekly basis. Pupils are very keen to get started on the 4 raised beds and 4 tractor tyres which have been installed.

David Hogg, Active Health Development Officer said: It has been great working with the pupils at Thomas Willingale school. They have learnt how physically demanding starting up an allotment like this is. The pupils have been a pleasure to work with and it was tremendous to see the excitement on their faces when I told them that their grandparents can come into school to help them maintain the allotment. Looking after an allotment is a great way to keep fit and eat healthy. To see the older generation helping the younger generation and all working together, will be excellent.

The project is funded by Age UK via the Big Lottery as a result of a successful application. A total of £153,886 has been allocated to the project over 4 years. The project is in it`s final year and has been working with a range of partners such as Harlow and Uttlesford District Councils, West Essex NHS, voluntary organisations and groups, sheltered housing accommodations, local community groups and schools.

For further information, please contact David Hogg, Active Health Development Officer by telephone on 01992 564269 or by email to dhogg@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Council Receives its First ePetition

Written on . Posted in Community, Loughton, Young people, Your area, Your community

Epping Forest District Council has received its first ePetition since launching the scheme in December 2010. The ePetition about Epping Forest College can be signed by anyone that lives, works, or studies in the District. It runs from 10 May 2011 to 10 August 2011.

An ePetition is a petition which collects signatures online. It enables residents to request the council take action on a matter that affects them locally.

If an ePetition gets over 20 signatures it will be referred to the appropriate portfolio holder, whereas ePetitions with fewer than 20 signatures will be managed by officers. If over 1,200 signatures are received, the sponsors can request a senior officer to speak about the Council`s actions to the overview and scrutiny committee, and if over 2,400 signatures are received (2% of the district population) full council will debate the issue.

Epping Forest College Reports Progress

Written on . Posted in Community, Local business, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community

Jeannie Wright, Principal of Epping Forest College spoke to councillors of Overview and Scrutiny Committee at Epping Forest District Council on 11 April. Ms Wright has now been at the college in Loughton for just over two years. Following extensive redevelopment, it has some of the most modern facilities.

Epping Forest College

Student numbers and achievements are both up at the college which offers a range of higher education opportunities and apprenticeships. The majority of students study to level two and level three (A-level equivalent) with many then progressing to university. Business Administration and Law forms the single biggest area of education but Ms Wright said the college offers almost everything except Agriculture. 

Most of the students live within six miles of the college. The college is also home to many local community groups and organisations. Adult education continues to form an important part of college life.

Last month OFSTED said the atmosphere is relaxed but industrious, staff morale is high and attainment is improving. As the reputation of the college improves, the intake of new students increases. The college is also in a stronger financial position as debts have been reduced. Jeannie Wright appealed to councillors to help the college build further links in the local community. 


While young people will remain the main focus, Jeannie Wright also emphasised the importance of providing opportunities in adult education to help local people meet the challenges of a changing economy.

In response to questions, Ms Wright asked councillors to encourage residents to come into the college and use facilities such as the new library.

Youth Council put Suggestion Boxes in Schools

Written on . Posted in Community, Democracy, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your council

Thousands of young people across the district can now communicate directly with the Epping Forest Youth Council using new suggestion boxes that have been installed in all of the district’s secondary schools. The aim of the suggestion box is to allow pupils to `Have their say` and raise concern about any issues they may have.

Pupils can complete a `Have your say` postcard and post it in the suggestion box. Youth Councillors will collect the cards each week and pass to the relevant department or service for action. The boxes have a supply of postcards and Youth Councillors will be responsible for promoting the suggestion box in schools and encouraging pupils to complete the `Have your Say` postcards correctly.

The Epping Forest Youth Councillors have been in office for a year and completed their intense training. They have several excellent achievements under their belt, the Promoting Youth democracy conference and Votes for 16 year olds debate, holding the first ever Youth Project of the Year Award, and a Speed Meeting event with adult Councillors. They now want to focus on listening to their peers and address their issues.

For further information on the new suggestion box scheme, contact Di Butler Young Persons’ Officer at Epping Forest District Council on 01992 564365.

Youth Council in Funding Bid at Overview and Scrutiny

Written on . Posted in Meetings, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest Youth Council presented its latest report and bid for funding at the meeting of Epping Forest District Council`s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 29 November 2010. Youth Councillors asked their District Counterparts to support a bid for £12,000 to cover costs for 2011 / 2012.

Watch the webcast of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Youth Councillors Jekin Patel, Annie Armitage, Duncan Haslam and Ellis Spicer outlined the range of major projects including the new website, newsletters, surveys and consultation events during 2010. Feedback on the types of issues coming forward from the district`s young people forms an integral part of District Council policy-making.

The Youth Council has extended its influence well beyond the District Council that supports it. During the Year, Youth Councillors also supported work with Fyfield Parish Council, the Local Strategic Partnership – ONE Epping Forest and other local organisations. Youth Councillors also represented the district`s young people nationally and in conjunction with the district`s MPs regionally through the Young Essex Assembly and at Westminster.

Much of the costs of the Youth Council arises from training, transport and printing costs. Independently the Youth Council has also raised approximately £10,000 and £9,000 in the last two years to fund its projects.

Members of the District Council heard from council officers that Epping Forest Youth Council is now recognised and held up as an example of best practice across the county. District Councillors spoke very highly of the youth councillors and their achievements. While warning that all council budgets are under stress, Overview and Scrutiny members expressed support for the Youth Council bid which will be given further consideration at Cabinet before the Council sets its budgets early in the New Year.

Residents Voice Safety Concerns at Debate

Written on . Posted in Consultation, Crime and safety, Media, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your home

Community Safety tree image

Gangs and knives, cutbacks, cross border crime, domestic violence, alcohol related anti-social behaviour, young drivers accident rates and community payback.

An audience of local people came along to the Community Safety Question Time Debate to pose challenging questions on these topics to a panel of local experts in an evening of lively debate.

The debate, filmed at Epping Forest college in Loughton, was presented by BBC Radio Essex’s Dave Monk and saw representatives from the Police, NHS, Fire, District and County Councils, and the probation service quizzed by members of the local community on issues that mattered to them.


Introduction by Dave Monk
Introduction by Dave Monk
  0:00:00 / 0:00:00


Watch the debate with direct links to all the questions below:

Watch the Community Safety Question Time Debate

    The expert panellists were:
  • Stuart McMillan, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Divisional Officer for Harlow and Epping Forest;
  • Neeve Bishop, Essex Probation Trust Offender Management Team;
  • Alan Ray, Essex Police District Commander for Epping Forest District;
  • Councillor Penny Smith, Epping Forest District Council Safer and Greener Portfolio Holder;
  • Caroline Skinner, NHS West Essex Senior Health Improvement Specialist;
  • Yvette Wetton, Essex County Council West Area Co-ordinator;
  • John Gilbert, Epping Forest District Council Director of Environment and Street Scene.

Displays showcasing the work of the Epping Forest Safer Communities Partnership were on display outside the auditorium. Audience members and college students were asked what the top 3 priorities for the partnership should be.

    The results were:

  1. Anti-social behaviour;
  2. Domestic violence;
  3. Drugs.

The debate was the finale to a two week programme of events called “Safe ‘n’ Sound in Epping Forest” providing help and advice on keeping you safe.

Essex Domestic Abuse Awareness Week

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Media, Older people, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your home

This week is Essex Domestic Abuse Awareness Week and Essex Police has joined with Essex County Council and local domestic abuse forums to stand up and say There’s no excuse for abuse.

To mark Essex Domestic Abuse Awareness Week a short video has been produced to push home the message that there really is no excuse for abuse.

Information and advice can be found on the Essex Police website.

Domestic abuse police units are always available to help. You can contact the Harlow, Brentwood and Epping local domestic abuse police unit on 01279 625431.

Awards Presented to Local Youth Clubs

Written on . Posted in Community, Meetings, Our activities, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest Youth Councillors proudly presented the fruits of their labour over the past six months by arranging an evening to celebrate the work of the district`s various youth clubs.

Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Cllr Ann Grigg, joined with the Youth Council to present awards to 12 youth projects in the Council Chamber on Tuesday evening.

Youth Councillor Jekin Patel explained, Following our Youth Conference in March, we decided to undertake two projects to address concerns regarding the lack of activities on offer for local teenagers. One group developed an online survey enabling 260 young people to comment on what they would like to see provided, and interviews were recorded for a DVD. Our second group set about visiting and reviewing every youth club in the district as part of a mystery shopping exercise.

Youth Project Winners

Members of the Youth Council assessed 12 youth projects on criteria such as their location, publicity, opening hours, disabled access and friendliness of staff. Each project was given a star rating. The awards evening saw five local youth projects received a 3 star award, six projects received a 4 star award and Youth Plus in Ongar received the highest 5 star award and a crystal trophy.

Brenda Rugeley from Youth Plus thanked the Youth Council for the award and said that it was an honour to receive it as it would mean so much to the members and volunteers involved in the club.

Having worked hard to locate and visit every youth club in the area, Youth Councillors have designed and produced a tube-map style poster to share with others. The poster, which shows the full address of each club, is available to download below, at Council Information Points and libraries.


New Buses for Waltham Abbey Community Groups

Written on . Posted in Community, Older people, Residents, Travel, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

Waltham Abbey Town Council replaced two old minibuses that had both come to the end of their useful lives with two new white buses each seating about 15 people, one being fitted with a tail lift. The funds were kindly donated by the Waltham Abbey Branch of the Rotary Club, following its closure.

The buses were formally handed over to the Mayor of Waltham Abbey Town Council Councillor Mrs Ricki Gadsby on Wednesday 1 September 2010.

Mayor Mrs Ricki Gadsby accepting the minibuses

The buses are for use by community groups, if you would like further information regarding their use, then please call the Town Hall on 01992 714949 and ask for Bev.