Team of the Year – the Academy Project Team

Written on . Posted in Civic events, Democracy, Media, Your council

The second staff award is for the Epping Forest District Council Team of the Year award for Innovation 2010 goes to the Academy Project Team. Whenever a new system is introduced, you can expect a degree of delay and disruption. If computers are involved, you can anticipate more problems.

So when Councillors agreed to change the biggest and most sophisticated IT system for tax collection and benefit payments, with some 65,000 different individual accounts, and not knowing a major economic recession was just around the corner, you might have thought the Council was in trouble.

The Chairman Penny Smith with Fiona Bateman, Shipra Bajpai and Lorraine Martin.

The old system was Orbis. Responsibility for its replacement with Academy was given to a team drawn from Finance and ICT. The team showed great flexibility, intelligence and determination, acquiring new skills and devising solutions to complex problems along the way. And the team continued to provide high quality services with minimal disruption to residents throughout, at a time when demand for Council Tax rebates and Housing Benefit was increasing. The result has been a textbook case of best practice.

Team of the Year – Sheltered Housing Scheme Managers

Written on . Posted in Civic events, Democracy, Housing, Media, Your council

The third staff award is for the Epping Forest District Council Team of the Year award for Dealing with the Public 2010 goes to the Sheltered Housing Scehme Managers.

For many people, getting older can be a daunting time. The reassurance of knowing there is someone you can call, someone you can talk to and someone who will help, can make all the difference. The winners of the third set of staff awards, Dealing with the Public, make that difference.

Chairman Penny Smith with Kath Shelton, Caroline Gleaves and Suzanne Doherty

They are a dedicated group who help to make the retirement years of many older residents the most comfortable, safe and enjoyable. Working hand in hand with another award-winning service, Epping Forest Careline, the Sheltered Housing Scheme Managers are skilled in dealing with many of life`s emergencies whether great or small. They can be called out at any time of the day or night.

But they also add immeasurably to the quality of life of our older citizens, whether organising social events, collecting prescriptions, liaising with doctors or just passing the time of day with a smile and a few kind words.

The Scheme Managers clearly love their work and care deeply for the people they support. Every day they go well beyond the call of duty or their job description.

Outstanding Contribution – Pat Seager

Written on . Posted in Civic events, Democracy, Media, Your council

This year Councillor Di Collins and Councillor Syd Stavrou decided that an additional award should be made to recognise the outstanding contribution of an employee. Indeed, without her professionalism and efficiency, the civic awards and dinner would not have happened.

For fifteen years she has been at the right hand of every successive Chairman of Epping Forest District Council. She organises diaries, makes sure people should be where they are supposed to be and has played a major part in raising some £250,000 for Chairman`s charities. Usually, she remains firmly in the background.

Chairman Penny Smith and Pat Seager

The outstanding contribution award goes to Pat Seager.

Special Conservation Award – Alan Cox

Written on . Posted in Civic events, Conservation and listed buildings, Democracy, Media, Your council, Your environment

The Epping Forest district is rich in history and culture. Waltham Abbey, the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Blake Hall and North Weald enjoy high public profiles. Historic and literary figures as diverse as Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens and the infamous Dick Turpin have added colour and some notoriety. But nestling on the boundary between Upshire and Epping Upland, one of our oldest and most important historic buildings is once again becoming a centre for culture and the community.

The history of the Copped Hall Estate stretches back many hundreds of years. The first performance of A Mid-Summer Night`s Dream is said to have been performed in the grounds of the old Tudor mansion. For centuries, the lives of people for miles around were centred on the Estate.

Then, disaster struck. In 1917, the Hall was gutted by fire. It became a shell in danger of collapse and total loss.

Alan Cox with Chairman Penny Smith

But Copped Hall holds a special place in our imaginations. Battered and scarred, it still inspires. And none more so than in the mind of the winner of our next award, made this evening in recognition of his flair, passion and sheer determination to see Copped Hall restored to its former glory, though not this time as a seat of privilege but as a centre of history and culture for our whole community.

Since 1986 he has worked tirelessly, first to secure, then to stabilise, before beginning the long process of restoration. He has not been alone. There are now some 1,000 Friends of Copped Hall, many of whom are actively involved in the restoration work and community activities, a Board of Trustees and a range of other partners driving forward or supporting the process.

Copped Hall is coming back to life thanks in large part to the leadership of our award winner. Special Conservation Award goes to the Alan Cox, architect leading the restoration of Copped Hall.

Young Citizen of the Year 2010 – Tom Peters

Written on . Posted in Civic events, Democracy, Media, Young people, Your council

The Young Citizen of the Year comes from Chigwell. He is 17 years of age, a keen sportsman, a member of Upper Clapton Rugby Club and working toward the Level 1 Football Association Coaching Certificate.

Our winner is a volunteer, working with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and Epping Forest District Council at the Limes Farm Social Inclusion Project in Chigwell. Young people need positive role models and our Young Citizen of the Year is among the finest examples.

Tom Peters with Chairman Penny Smith

He is an inspiration to the young people he works with, respected and admired. Through voluntary community work he has found a fulfilling vocation he intends to develop and sustain, having recently applied to work with the Children`s Charity, Barnardos and pursue a career as a youth worker supporting some of the most vulnerable young people in our society.

When asked how he would spend the £100 prize money attached to his award, he said the football club needs some extra equipment or it could be put towards a youth day out.

There were 8 nominations received for the Epping Forest Young Citizen of the Year. The judges awarded three high commendations to 17 year olds Samantha Saville, a student at Epping Forest College and member of Loughton Centre for Young People, O`Shea Marguerite, a former Waltham Forest College student and member of Limes Farm Youth Centre and eleven year old Billy Millham from West Hatch School in Chigwell.

Chairman Quizzed for Charity

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Democracy, Media, Your council

In a brain teasing evening for all participants, the annual quiz night in aid of Epping Forest District Council Chairman`s Charity took place at Theydon Bois Village Hall on Friday 19 February 2010.

In a keenly-fought contest, The Grand Slammers won by nine points from their arch rivals Caterpillars, thus gaining revenge for their defeats in the past two years. Butterflies were third with 220 points, whilst the Chairman`s Team achieved a very respectable fourth position with 212 points. Fairies, one of two Epping Forest Youth Council teams, gained some consolation for finishing in the wooden spoon position by winning the fancy dress competition.

Chairman Penny Smith with the winning team

The proceedings were again smoothly conducted by Quizmasters Ian Willett and Ian White, with considerable assistance from their band of Lieutenants, marshalled by Kim Partridge. The Chairman, Councillor Penny Smith, thanked everyone for taking part and announced that the evening had raised in excess of £700 for her chosen charity, the Epping Forest branch of the Alzheimer`s Society.

    The results:

  1. The Grand Slammers 232 points
  2. Caterpillars 223 points
  3. Butterflies 220 points
  4. The Chairman`s Team 212 points
  5. The Composers 207 points
  6. Pretty Vacant 203 points
  7. Shh IT Happens 183 points
  8. Kay`s Kids 181 points
  9. The Muppets 180 points
  10. Tawney Owls 175 points
  11. Ordinary People 158 points
  12. Super Hero’s 156 points
  13. Hotter & Fuzzier 154 points
  14. Quizee Rascals 151 points
  15. Hot Fuzz 147 points
  16. Fairies 120 points

Nominate Your Citizen of the Year

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Councillors, Media, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Your area, Your community, Your council

Do you know someone who has shown outstanding courage, or has done something of great benefit to you or your community? Perhaps someone who has shown extraordinary commitment, energy and effort in their particular field or towards achieving a particular goal?

If that person is a resident of the district, why not show your appreciation and nominate them for Epping Forest District Council`s accolade, a Citizen of the Year Award?

The closing date for nominations for the Epping Forest District Council Citizen of the Year 2010 is fast approaching. Forms should reach the Council no later than Friday 27 November 2009. The Citizen of the Year 2010 will receive their award at the Annual Civic Reception in March 2010.

The Council is asking people to nominate a person they feel fits the criteria and deserves recognition. There is no lower or upper age limit but employees of Epping Forest District Council and current serving Councillors are not eligible.

If you know someone who fits the bill and deserves to be recognised, fill in a nomination form. The forms can be obtained at Council Information Desks at Epping, Loughton or Waltham Abbey and Buckhurst Hill Parish Council Information Centre.

Chairman Welcomes Guests to Copped Hall

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Your council

Mayors and Chairman from Councils across Essex were able to see the latest renovation works to Copped Hall Mansion at a reception hosted by Epping Forest District Council Chairman, Councillor Penny Smith. The dignitaries were treated to a tour of the mansion which was gutted by fire in 1917, before viewing the gardens on a bright early autumn day in October.

Councillor Penny Smith and guests in front of Copped Hall

Picture caption – Councillor Penny Smith, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council and guests in front of Copped Hall.

Councillor Penny Smith with the Chairmans Escort Ian Hull in the Copped Hall gardenFrom being an empty shell open to the elements, members of the Copped Hall Trust have now made the mansion weather-proof. New floors and staircases are gradually being constructed as the Trustees open up the building for visitors. The gardens and many of the associated buildings have now been restored to something approaching their former glory. Historical artefacts and photographs form part of an exhibition in some of the newly-restored rooms.

Copped Hall is being opened up to cultural and community events ranging from music recitals to the now annual Rotary fun-run through the Estate.

Picture caption – Councillor Penny Smith, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council with the Chairmans Escort Ian Hull in the Copped Hall garden.

Councillor Penny Smith said: “Copped Hall is part of our district’s heritage. The current mansion was built in the grounds of a previous Tudor house where the first performance of ‘A Mid-summer Night’s Dream’ is reputed to have taken place. With the help of many volunteers, the Trustees have done a tremendous amount of work. Copped Hall is now open for advertised guided tours and the reception provided the perfect opportunity for us to spread the news about Copped Hall across Essex.”

Guests shown around the Copped Hall walled garden

Picture caption – guests shown around the Copped Hall walled garden.

“There is still much work to be done but the mansion retains a special atmosphere. As floors are laid, fireplaces are restored and the Trustees add furniture to some of the rooms, you begin to get a sense of how the house must have felt in its heyday. From the cellars and kitchens up to the main rooms and bedrooms, Copped Hall and its estate accommodated a rich and diverse community of people. It was a focal point for the people of Epping and Upshire. As the restoration continues, it is once again becoming a major asset to our district.”

Alan Cox of the Copped Hall Trust shows guests the renovation works

Picture caption – Alan Cox of the Copped Hall Trust shows guests the renovation works.

Councillor Smith’s guests enjoyed a light lunch in one of the newly-restored rooms, resplendent with a blazing logfire in a magnificently restored fireplace.

Nominations Sought for Citizen of the Year

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Civic events, Community, Epping, Loughton, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

Citizen of the Year Awards 2010

The search is on to find the Epping Forest District Council Citizen of the Year 2010.

Do you know someone who has shown outstanding courage, or has done something of great benefit to you or your community? Perhaps someone who has shown extraordinary commitment, energy and effort in their particular field or towards achieving a particular goal?

If that person is a resident of the district, why not show your appreciation and nominate them for Epping Forest District Council`s accolade, a Citizen of the Year Award? The Citizen of the Year 2010 will receive their award at the Annual Civic Reception in March 2010.

If you know someone who fits the bill and deserves to be recognised, fill in a nomination form and make sure it reaches the Civic Offices by Friday 27 November 2009. The forms can be obtained at Council Information Desks at Epping, Loughton or Waltham Abbey and Buckhurst Hill Parish Council Information Centre, or by telephoning 01992 564427.

Council Gains Accreditation Status

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Community, Democracy, Residents, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Council has successfully attained Accreditation Status under Essex Police`s Community Safety Accreditation Scheme. This Scheme is a national initiative launched in 2002 allowing organisations and their employees to be given targeted police powers to deal with incidents such as anti-social behaviour, disorder and nuisance. Officers in Epping Forest District Council`s Environment and Neighbourhoods Section will be now be able to call upon Police support in using their existing powers to deal with incidents such as littering, dogs fouling on land, fly posting and graffiti.

Presentation of the Certificate of Accreditation

Pictured above are:
Presentation of Certificate of Accreditation to the Epping Forest District Council Chairman, Councillor Penny Smith, by Chief Superintendent Tim Stokes on the left and Inspector Craig Carrington of Essex Police

`Accredited Persons` can also act as the `eyes and ears` of the police helping to improve quality of life issues that may occur in the local community. They can request names and addresses of any persons acting in an anti-social manner. It is an offence to fail or refuse to comply. It is also an offence to assault or obstruct an Accredited Person or person assisting them.

Organisations granted Accreditation Status must meet standards set by Essex Police and individuals must satisfy strict criteria including positive extensive police vetting and training. Accredited people display a nationally-agreed standard approved badge on the uniform of their employer and carry an identification card stating their name and confirming what powers that individual has been granted by Essex Police.

Council representatives being awarded with the Certificate of Accreditation

Pictured above from left to right are:
Jim Nolan, EFDC Assistant Director of Environment and Street Scene (Neighbourhoods)
Richard Gardiner, EFDC Environment and Neighbourhoods Manager
Essex Police Chief Superintendent Tim Stokes
Essex Police Inspector Craig Carrington
Councillor Penny Smith, Chairman of Epping Forest District Council
John Gilbert, EFDC Director of Environment and Street Scene
Jenny Ayres, Essex Police Community Safety Accreditation Scheme Officer

    Information on the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme:

  • Essex Police Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) website