#SteppingUp cube comes to Epping

Written on . Posted in Business, Chairman, Community, Councillors, Epping, Health, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Volunteering opportunities, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

The #SteppingUp multi-coloured cube came to Epping High Street on Thursday 15 and Friday 16 January 2015 to promote the #SteppingUp campaign. #SteppingUp is all about the little things we can do to make life better.

The cube will also be visiting Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester and Basildon in Essex during January and February.

Multi-coloured cube in Epping High St

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The #SteppingUp campaign puts the spotlight on 5 simple steps people can take which can have a hugely beneficial effect personally, in communities and for public services.

The 5 simple steps people are being encouraged to take are

  1. Volunteering – this could be anything from neighbourhood watch to coaching at sporting clubs
  2. Providing informal care – for example checking on vulnerable older neighbours
  3. Giving children the best start in life – encouraging parents to take more responsibility for their child’s development and wellbeing
  4. Keeping healthy and active – encouraging people to take more care of their own health and lead healthier lifestyles
  5. Reusing and recycling more – 52.6% of all household waste is now being recycled, composted or reused in Essex. We want to work with residents to encourage more use of kerb side recycling collections -recycling waste is a sustainable way of managing household waste and helps to look after the environment of Essex.

Watch the videos

Find out more

Find out more and sign up at http://www.steppingup-essex.org/.


Chairman filmed for #SteppingUp campaign

Written on . Posted in Community, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your council

“Volunteering is great for your mind and body!” says Chairman Tony Boyce. “It can provide a boost to your self-confidences, self-esteem, and life satisfaction, reducing the risk of depression and it can help you to stay physically healthy.”

Chairman Tony Boyce with volunteer Jean Edwards

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The Epping Forest District Council Chairman was promoting his Years of Volunteers campaign at the Leonard Davis House befriending group in North Weald.

He was visiting the group to be interviewed for the Essex County Council #SteppingUp campaign. Essex County Councillor Anne Brown was also interviewed by the film makers from Deadline Communications Ltd.


Stronger communities and stronger individuals

Councillor Tony Boyce said: “The Stepping Up campaign ties in beautifully with my year of volunteers campaign. Both are about helping to create stronger communities and stronger individuals.”

“I hope people will see these campaigns and contact organisations like VAEF. They will be able to show you the many volunteering opportunities available and advise what is best for you.”

Contact VAEF

To find out how you might get involved


Youth Councillor receives national recognition

Written on . Posted in Community, Media, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest Youth Councillor Evie Foster has been chosen as 1 of 50 #iwill ambassadors nationwide.

She was confirmed as #iwill official ambassador at a special ceremony at the Indigo O2. #iwill ambassadors have demonstrated a strong commitment to social action and helping others, such as volunteering, campaigning or fundraising.

Evie Foster with her statement

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How I Stepped up

Evangeline Foster – Age 16, Epping Forest

  • Making a difference to others is a big part of my life. I’m a member of Epping Forest Youth Council, improving services and challenging negative stereotypes of young people in the local area.
  • Just recently at the local church, I read the names of local people who had died in the First World War, and laid a wreath on behalf of the Youth Council.
  • I’m also part of the Police Commissioners Forum, working to reduce youth crime, and I’m hoping to start an anti-bullying project for teenagers soon too.
  • I think my greatest social action achievement is swimming the English Channel last year in a teenage relay team to fundraise for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Swimming is a real passion of mine, and I volunteer every week to help children learn to swim.

Absolutely delighted and very proud

Evie said: “I am absolutely delighted and very proud to have received this recognition. I feel passionately about helping others and would encourage all young people to get involved and do something for your community. It really is worthwhile. It is not just for your own benefit but for others, too. It really is a win-win situation.”

Gill Wallis, Health and Wellbeing Manager said: “We are so proud of Evie. This is a fantastic achievement and I know that Evie will make an excellent ambassador.”

In her submission to be #iwill ambassador Evie said: “Social action taught me that young people can make a positive impact in the community when they harness their energy and enthusiasm. Each of us should do what we can, when we can to help someone or serve the community.”

Evie says that the adult who has most inspired her to get involved in social action is her mum and that her key character qualities and virtues are citizenship and determination. She has pledged that #iwill take a leadership role to inspire young people to contribute to their community.

#iwill campaign

#iwill is coordinated by Step Up To Serve, a charity established to coordinate the campaign.

The #iwill campaign is all about empowering more young people to play their part. It is a UK-wide campaign aiming to make involvement in social action (such as fundraising, volunteering and campaigning) a normal part of life for 10 to 20 year-olds by the year 2020. Examples include caring for someone in the community, providing peer support online, volunteering for a charity, campaigning or fundraising for a specific cause.

There are 6 principles for quality social action, it should be

  1. youth-led
  2. challenging
  3. have social impact
  4. allow progression to other opportunities
  5. embedded in a young person’s life
  6. enable reflection about the value of the activity

Find out more on the #iwill campaign website.


BBC airs Years of Volunteers interview

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Local business, Loughton, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your home

Chairman Tony Boyce met local volunteers and joined a befriending group for afternoon tea at Loughton’s Honey Tree Court sheltered apartments to promote his ‘Years of Volunteers’ campaign.

Joining the Chairman was joined by Jacqui Foile from Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) and local volunteers Pat, Josie and Trevor. BBC journalist Colleen Harris was invited along to record a radio interview for BBC Essex.

Chairman Tony Boyce with BBC reporter Colleen Harris and Jacqui Foile from VAEF

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

Be brave and just try it

Chairman of Council, Councillor Tony Boyce said: “I’m calling on the newly retired to try volunteering. They have so much to offer. The benefits include the satisfaction of time and effort well spent and it’s a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and have fun!”

“So why not give it a go. Pick up the phone, or send an email but please contact VAEF. There’s a huge range of volunteering opportunities available and they’ll be able to advise what is best for you.”

“The most difficult part of volunteering is making the first move, so be brave and just try it! Whether it’s caring, befriending or gardening I truly believe that volunteering can be great for your physical and mental wellbeing. Let’s make 2014 and 2015 the Years of Volunteers.”

Contact VAEF

To find out how you might get involved

Jack Petchey award for cafe volunteer

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Councillors, Media, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

A young volunteer received a Jack Petchey award for outstanding contribution and hard work while working in a cafe at Epping Forest District Council (EFDC).

Jack Petchey Foundation logoThe award winning volunteer, Kerrie Ann Johnson has learning disabilities. She was presented with an Outstanding Achiever certificates by the Chairman and Vice-chairman of EFDC, Councillor Mary Sartin and Councillor Tony Boyce.

Set up in May 2013 by Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF), she has been working as part of a team in a project for people with Learning Disabilities. The project gets volunteers to work alongside a skilled cook at the staff cafe providing kitchen support, lunchtime deliveries to employees and waiting services at events.

The aim of the project is to give volunteers time to learn new skills with a view to building confidence and working towards catering qualifications which will hopefully lead to employment.

Kerrie Ann Johnson and VAEFs Sally Panrucker with the Vice-chairman and Chairman

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About the winner by VAEF Volunteer Manager Sally Panrucker

Kerrie Ann Johnson

“Kerrie is a wonderful character to have around and has been named Little Miss Chatterbox! Kerrie started her work experience in July 2013 and has since engaged staff and customers alike with her smiling face and cheery manner! Kerrie has learnt a range of kitchen skills and loves to help out with new recipes! This award recognises all the time and hard work that Kerrie has put into the café and we wish her all the best for her future. Well done Kerrie.”

Worthy winner

EFDC Chairman, Councillor Mary Sartin said: “Kerrie has worked incredibly hard at the cafe and would be a great asset for any workplace. My congratulations go to this worthy winner of the Jack Petchey award. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the VAEF for all the wonderful work they do supporting volunteering projects in the Epping Forest district.”

Councillor Tony Boyce, EFDC Vice-chairman concluded: “Kerrie spent her £200 award money on a Christmas disco treat for everyone on the project. What a great asset this kind and generous young lady is to our community – congratulations.”

Find out more


Be a ceramicist workshop at Lowewood Museum

Written on . Posted in Community, Museum, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

Lowewood Museum exhibitions and eventsBe a ceramicist, is the first workshop in Lowewood Museum’s programme for young people, taking place on Saturday 18 January 2014.

Come along between 11am and 1pm and make an object out of clay, which will be fired. The workshop is suitable for 11 to 15 year olds.

Places are limited and cost £3 per person, so please book early to avoid disappointment. To book your place, call the museum on 01992 445596. The second part of this workshop takes place on Saturday 15 February 2014. The workshop is repeated on Saturday 20 September and on Saturday 18 October 2014.

For more information, go to www.broxbourne.gov.uk/lowewoodmuseum or call 01992 445596.


Youth council generation games

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Consultation, Local business, Media, Museum, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest Youth Councillors held an afternoon tea party for the residents of Leonard Davis House in North Weald and the Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) Carers Group.

Guests enjoyed a great afternoon playing Bingo and card games, and decorating cakes. On loan from Epping Forest District Museum was a selection of vintage games including tiddlywinks and shove ha’penny.


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

The afternoon tea party was held as part of the Youth Council’s Intergenerational Project. The project aims to break down stereotypical misconceptions and build stronger bridges between generations.

The guests were asked to complete a questionnaire exploring this issue. When asked what young people can learn from the older generation, one guest felt that young people should “be positive in what they want to achieve” and that older people should “be more understanding of the needs and hopes of young people.” 

Youth Councillor Jaymey McIvor said: “We have laid a foundation which soon will bridge the gap between the generations. Today has been a fantastic day for all generations.”

Jina Symes from VAEF said: “The carers have told me they really enjoyed it and were really impressed with, in their words, the young people. I think the afternoon was a great success.”

The Youth Councillors persuaded local businesses such as The Co-operative, Bassett Service Station, North Weald Chemist and Tesco to donate prizes or to contribute towards the catering.


Volunteers needed for Victim Support

Written on . Posted in Crime and safety, Local business, Media, Residents, Supporting business, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Your area, Your community

Victim Support urgently needs volunteers to the Essex team to support people who have been victims of domestic violence. If you would like to help victims of crime, whilst developing your own skills, this could be the opportunity for you.

About Victim Support

Being a victim of physical and psychological abuse can be traumatic and leave long-lasting scars.

The charity is currently recruiting more volunteers to make sure that clients have the help they need when they need it – even if the crime has not been reported to the police.

During 2012 the charity’s staff and volunteer team managed almost 5,000 cases of domestic violence in Essex.

Being a volunteer

If you are interested in this opportunity, due to the nature of this role prospective volunteers will need to demonstrate proven experience of working with vulnerable people, either professionally or in previous volunteering roles.

The ability to devote 4 to 5 hours volunteering time per week is preferred and availability of personal transport is desirable. The charity reimburses all volunteer out of pocket expenses.

If you fit the bill, Victim Support will provide an excellent, accredited training package and continuous support, which can be used to build on your personal and professional development. The next training event is planned for October 2013.

Epping Forest District Council’s Safer Communities Team is supporting Victim Support’s current drive for more volunteers.

How to apply

If you’d like to volunteer for Victim Support in Essex, please register your interest.

Call 01277 357555 for more information or an application form.

Help for victims

If anyone in Essex is a victim of domestic violence, they can access the free and confidential, client-centred services by calling 0845 4565 995 or go to www.victimsupport.org.uk.


Epping Forest Countrycare Volunteer Walk 2013

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Local plan / planning our future, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Sports, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

As a thank-you to all our hardworking volunteers we organised a circular six mile guided walk last month. Led by Kevin Mason, an interesting and diverse route took the volunteers through woodlands, grasslands and green lanes.


Taking a break in Norton Heath

We were blessed with a fine sunny day, and set off from the Chipping Ongar heading east through the fields alongside Cripsey Brook. After crossing the River Roding we headed across the old landfill site at the former LECA works. The volunteers noticed the spread of the invasive plant Goats Rue (Galega officinalis) across the site, which they work hard to control on the EFDC’s nature reserve and former landfill site at Bobbingworth.  The walk next followed  St Peter’s Way besides arable fields and through overgrown field margins.

Volunteers identifying wildflowers found along the way

Several stops were made along the way to look at the flora and for anecdotes about the sites we were passing. The walk made its way to Norton Heath for lunch supplied by the Norton Heath Café.  The heath is formed on one of the smallest Essex outliers of gravel and in the early part of the 20th Century was heavily excavated to provide gravel for the Chelmsford to Ongar road A414.  Norton Heath was designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2010.

The return trip was made through the fields and along Norton Lane in a westerly direction to reach Norton Mandeville. A stop was made at All Saint’s church and Norton Hall to admire the church and learn a little of its history. After the church we followed the farm track down to High Ongar.

We crossed the River Roding again at the footbridge and made our way back to

Heading home

Chipping Ongar passing the castle on route.  Fortunately we were back at the start before the rain came.

Despite the nettles the walk was thoroughly enjoyed by all and everyone is looking forward to next year’s volunteer treat.

The volunteers said:

“Very many thanks for such a lovely day today.  The walk was varied and interesting.”

“It was very interesting to hear some of the local history and to appreciate the splendid views.”

Tree Wardens undertake OPAL Tree Health Survey.

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Volunteering opportunities, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

The Council’s Tree Wardens have started undertaking the OPAL (OPen Air Laboratories)  survey into the health of the trees in the District.  The survey is being co-ordinated by Imperial College London together with Forest Research and the Food and Environment Research Agency.

Horse Chestnut Tree

With guidance from Tree Warden Co-ordinator Kevin Mason a member of the Countrycare team, nine Tree Wardens attended a training session on 12th June in Roughtalley’s Wood, North Weald.

By taking part in the national survey and submitting the results the Tree Wardens are helping to discover more about the general health of our trees and give vital information on some of the pests and diseases that affect Oak, Ash and Horse Chestnut trees. Instruction was also given on identifying other potential pests and diseases which whilst not present yet, or at least not widespread, could have a serious impact on our trees.  Tree Wardens are part of an important surveillance network of people across the country protecting our trees.

The recordings are used by Forest Research – the Forestry Commission’s research agency.  The results from the survey will show the condition and health of the trees in parks, streets and woodlands across the UK and provide important information about the possible presence of certain key tree pests and diseases.

A national survey like this has not been undertaken before and it is likely that the trees surveyed by the Tree Wardens will not have been surveyed before.

The survey covers the location and species of the tree, its characteristics in relation to the trees around it and its condition; this gives a general picture about the health of the tree. Also covered was up to date information of pests and diseases on three of the most recognisable tree species: Ash, Oak and Horse Chestnut.

Bleeding Canker


One of the Horse Chestnuts surveyed by the Tree Wardens was discovered to have Bleeding Canker.  This is a disease caused by a pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae pv aesculi, which infects and disfigures the tree.  If the disease is severe it can kill the tree so it needs to be regularly checked.  Fortunately none of the Ash trees in the wood were found to have.
The Tree Wardens were also shown an unusual Cappadocian Maple (Acer cappadocicum) which is growing in the wood and there is a fine display of Common Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)growing in the wet grassland area.

Cappadocian maple


 To help with the survey please go to http://www.opalexplorenature.org/TreeSurvey
for the full instructions or alternatively contact Kevin Mason at Epping Forest Countrycare on 01992 788203