Record year for Countrycare volunteers

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

2012 proved to be a record year for the number of volunteers attending the Countrycare Thursday working parties. For the first time ever the equivalent of over 700 volunteer days were worked during a year.

The volunteers were made up by a core team of 30, and a further 20 volunteers who came to help out on special projects. A total of 51 working days were organised, working out to be an average of 14 volunteers each day.

Countrycare volunteers at Nazeing Triangle LNR

With this number of people attending regularly Countrycare was able to tackle more ambitious work and increase the amount of management work carried out on the 9 Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) and the many other Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) in the district.

The work carried included woodland, grassland and pond management. The volunteers worked tirelessly in all weathers to help Countrycare achieve its aims. The Countrycare Team would like to express their gratitude for the effort and enthusiasm that the volunteers put in week in week out. They hope to continue to see such a good turn out on all of its Thursday tasks in 2013.Countrycare volunteer days for 2007 to 2012 - 2007 505 - 2008 571 - 2009 539 - 2010 603 - 2011 642 - 2012 733

Trees planted at Roding Valley Meadows

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Loughton, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Working with the council, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

750 trees were planted by local volunteers and residents of the Oakwood Hill Estate in Debden. They joined Essex Wildlife Trust and Epping Forest Countrycare to plant trees along the boundary between Oakwood Hill and Roding Valley Meadows Local Nature Reserve.

The tree planting is part of a larger project aimed at improving this area of the nature reserve, creating a more inviting and picturesque place for local residents and visitors to enjoy.

Over 30 volunteers turned up to help with the planting. They included local families, councillors and even Police Community Support Officers.

Earlier in the year the large patch of bramble which had grown along the boundary line was cleared, litter removed and a new post and wire fence was erected by the Reserve Warden and his volunteers. The latest stage in the project was to plant a native mixed species hedgerow along the fence line.

Species planted included hazel, field maple, hawthorn, dogwood and dog rose.

Boccia Community Leaders Award

Written on . Posted in Community, Health, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Volunteering opportunities, Your area, Your community

We are offering the chance to train as a Boccia Community Leader. The course is aimed at individuals involved in sport at a community level with a basic understanding of Boccia. Participants will learn how to introduce it to their group.

The course takes place on Sunday 13 January 2013 from 10am to 4pm at St John’s Secondary School, Tower Road, Epping CM16 5EN and costs £60 per participant.

The Boccia Community Leaders Award (Formerly Level 1) is suitable for community workers, leaders and individual players (eg, those involved in Local Authority Youth Games, individuals and staff of residential homes, sports clubs – Boccia-specific and multi-sport, after-school clubs, etc). It will provide individuals involved in Boccia at a community level with a basic understanding of the sport and how to introduce it to their group.

Boccia is a Paralympic sport, similar to bowls and Petanque. The game sees two teams battling it out to try and get their Boccias closest to the Jack.

For more information or a registration form, please contact Fabrizio Ferrari on 01992 564567 or via email fferrari@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.

Roding Valley Meadows hedge laying project

Written on . Posted in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Loughton, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Trees and landscapes, Volunteering opportunities, Your area, Your community, Your environment

On 10 October, work started on a joint hedge laying project between the Essex Wildlife Trust, Epping Forest Countrycare and the Epping Conservation Hedge layers, to restore an old neglected hedge line on Roding Valley Meadows Local Nature Reserve.

Before the work

Before the work

Hedge laying is the practice of  ‘pleaching’ the base of a tree, this allows its main stem to be laid over to one side while still remaining attached to its roots, it is then held in place with wooden stakes and bound together. By laying a hedge in this fashion, it allows fresh growth from its base creating a thick, dense hedge. This is ideal habitat for small mammals and invertebrates and also provides food and shelter for birds and other wildlife.

The team consisted of experienced and amateur hedge layers, who, over two days laid a total of 74 yards. The project will continue next winter to complete the rest of the hedge, which can be seen running adjacent to the River Roding and Debden Sports Club.

A pleached tree

The final result

 

Green Flag award for Roding Valley Meadows

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

Countrycare and EWT announce the award
Countrycare and EWT announce the award

A flag-raising ceremony took place in November attended by members of Epping Forest District Council, Essex Wildlife Trust (EWT), the Grange Farm Centre Trust (GFCT) and Roding Valley volunteer group.

The group was welcomed by Abigail Oldham, Countryside Manager, Countrycare. Then Patrick Bailly, EWT Warden of the Reserve, explained the importance of the Reserve for nature, wildlife, recreation and education.

The Reserve, in Loughton, is the largest area of traditional river-valley landscape left in Essex. Bounded by thick hedgerows, the herb-rich meadows, marsh and scrub woodland follow the meanders of the River Roding for a mile-and-a-half. More than 200 species of wildflowers thrive in the meadows.

The plant assemblage is so rare that the Reserve was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1986.

Countrycare, EWT and GFCT raise the flag together
Countrycare, EWT and GFCT raise the flag together

Lush hedgerows and veteran trees attract many species of bird, such as woodpeckers and Sparrowhawk. The ponds, river and fen attract numerous dragonflies and birds, such as Kingfisher, Snipe and Reed Bunting.

The Reserve is owned by the District Council and the Grange Farm Centre Trust and managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.
The Green Flag recognises UK green spaces that are well-managed, sustainable, of conservation and heritage value and of high quality. The Reserve was judged on a searing hot day in July when Patrick Bailly lead a guided tour of the site, impressing the judge with his management methods.
And the flag is up!
And the flag is up!

After the volunteers were thanked for their contribution to making the Reserve the beautiful place it is today, John Hall, EWT’s Chief Executive, Alex Pelican, Grange Farm Centre Trust and Abigail Oldham, together raised the flag.

Refreshments were served in a marquee on one of the Reserve’s meadows where an exhibition about Countrycare and the Roding Valley Meadows was displayed.

Read more about Roding Valley Meadows.

Interested in volunteering? Volunteer with Countrycare.

Read more about the Essex Wildlife Trust.

Chairman hosts outdoors civic event

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Civic events, Democracy, Our attractions, Volunteering opportunities, Young people, Your council

The Chairman of Council, Councillor Brian Rolfe hosted an interesting and thought provoking morning of activities at the Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning attended by Mayors and Chairman of Council from around Essex and surrounding London Boroughs.

Chairmen and women at Lambourne End Centre
Chairmen and women at Lambourne End Centre

The centre is a fantastic 54 acre classroom which gives participants the freedom to create the right atmosphere for learning. Through tailored programmes it provides the opportunity for people to develop and stretch themselves whilst enjoying a fun experience in a welcoming and informal environment in which they can feel truly valued.

Each of the civic guests attending took part in a sensory walk, completing various activities to use their senses including a blindfold walk, smelly cocktails and listening activities or archery with good training ensured by the end of each session that everyone had hit the target!

Chairman and guest brave the zip wire
Chairman and guest brave the zip wire

The chairman and guests are pictured just before they braved the centres zip wire.

The event provided an excellent opportunity to promote the centre and its facilities already in use by many other public organisations.

Councillor Rolfe said: “I chose the Lambourne Centre for my civic lunch because this facility is situated in the heart of my ward. The centre offers both adventurous activities and opportunities to learn about animals and the environment on our farm. They utilise all 54 acres of the site through the different activities and have different rooms and buildings for groups to use. I hope my guests today will see the magnificent work that is provided at the Lambourne End Centre by a very dedicated and professional team.”

Special Olympics Group Coming to Epping Forest

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

Upshire residential home, near Waltham Abbey, is looking to become Epping Forest’s Special Olympics affiliate.  To ensure the group’s success, they are looking for volunteers to help in a variety of different roles within the group.  This can be anything from coaching teams in a variety of sports to driving participants to events. Training will be supplied and it will give volunteers the opportunity to become involved in an amazing international organisation which has affiliates all over the world.

The Special Olympics is an international charity that offers year-round sport training and competition opportunities and is open to all people with intellectual (learning) disabilities, regardless of their ability.

The group, which will soon be launched in Upshire, will give athletes of all ages the opportunity to learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports. This in turn leads into representing their area in national games every year and culminates in European and World games every four years.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Special Olympics Epping Forest, please email Teresa Cairns at upshireresidentialhome@gmail.com

The big E

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Our activities, Playschemes, Residents, Volunteering opportunities, Your community

Children aged from 5 to 11 decorated the big E during their Easter holiday playscheme to illustrate what they like about living in the district.

The forest, nature and open spaces was chosen as the theme. The children used a variety of art materials to decorate the E with. They drew pictures of animals and insects which can be seen seen when exploring the forest. Wellie boots were used as a track around the E to highlight the district’s walks.

Currently on display at the civic offices in Epping, the big E was decorated during an Easter holiday playscheme on 4 April 2012 at Whitebridge Junior School in Loughton.

Good for EssexGood for Essex poster
Essex County Council has given 12 District and Borough Councils in Essex a letter which spell out ‘Good for Essex’.

Epping Forest District Council was given the letter E.

Good for Essex is a new website promoting volunteering and community based opportunities in Essex, aimed at getting you involved to help your local community.

Go to www.goodforessex.org to find out more and get involved.

‘Amazing things happen when we work together’

Restore Community Centre opening in Debden

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

A place to drop in, enjoy a friendly welcome and a listening ear, the Restore Community Centre is opening for consultation at 68 The Broadway, Loughton, IG10 3SY on Friday 17 February 2012.

Restore Graphic

The Restore Community Centre will be open on Debden Broadway from 8.30am to 5.30pm. It will provide a focal point for the community delivering a wide range of services including IT training, money management, an art group, a toddler club, drug and alcohol advice and a job club.

The Centre is run by volunteers, who can guide residents to the relevant services for help and guidance. Facilities at the Restore Community Centre include meeting rooms which can be used for mediation and dispute resolution and other support organisations can use the centre as a neutral venue for meetings.

Come along and see it for yourself, tell us what you want to see on the Broadway.

  • Restore Community Centre opening day flyer (pdf 3.7 MB)
  • Restore Community Centre – Consultation

If you have any questions call Judy Lovell, from Restore Community Church, on 07833 226713.

London 2012 Young Games Maker

Written on . Posted in Olympics, Out and about, Residents, Volunteering opportunities

Time is running out for those wishing to submit a young games maker volunteer application.  Having spent the summer carefully considering the roles on offer and what is required, team leaders from organisations such as youth or sports clubs, community and volunteering groups along with schools and colleges who are part of the Get Set Network are invited to apply until midnight on 31 October 2011.

For an application form please visit:

London 2012 young games maker volunteer application

London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) calls on teams of dedicated and passionate 16 to 18 year olds to begin applying for Young Games Maker roles through the generalist recruitment process.

Young games makersThe search is on for over 2,000 young people from across the UK to take up volunteer roles vital to ensuring the successful delivery of the Games. Approximately 250 teams of young people, who must be aged 16 or over on 1 July 2012 and under 18 on 1 January 2012 will join the adult Games Makers next summer to help stage the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games