Love our British birds on Valentines Day

Written on . Posted in Animal welfare, Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Community, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Environmental health, Epping, Loughton, Older people, Olympics, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Residents, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your environment

National Nest Box Week is great for birds. Starting on 14 February, St Valentine’s Day, it’s the time we remind ourselves to provide homes for dozens of species, from Blue Tits to Barn Owls.

Nesting Blue Tit
Nesting Blue Tit

The natural nest sites on which many of our bird species depend, such as holes in trees and buildings, are fast disappearing as gardens and woods are ‘tidied’ and old houses are repaired.

National Nest Box Week was launched in 1997 and since then thousands of enthusiastic naturalists across the UK have put up boxes to compensate for this loss. It is estimated that there are now 5 to 6 million boxes in gardens across the UK.

Whether you’re a family with space for a box in your garden, a teacher, a member of a local wildlife group, or you belong to a bird club and could organise a work party, National Nest Box Week gives you the chance to contribute to the conservation effort in the UK whilst giving you the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that you attract to your garden.

Build a nest box

If you’ve never built a nest box before, why not give it a go this year? Or if you haven’t got the time, it’s easy to buy one. Go on, give Britain’s birds a valentines day gift this year!

Making your own nest box

If you want more information about nests and nest boxes, contact

Memories of childhood exhibition at Lowewood Museum

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Museum, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your community

Come along and enjoy our new exhibition Memories of Childhood at Lowewood Museum in Hoddesdon between 16 February and 1 June 2013.

Memories of childhood poster

Memories of childhood poster

The exhibition explores the social history of childhood through themes of playtime, childcare, early learning and clothing.

Visitors will see a collection of childhood memorabilia including some examples of children’s clothing dating from the 1800s. From toys and games, to children’s TV and schooldays, the exhibition aims to bring back fond childhood memories.

Family events

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of family events

  • Craft workshop – Make a Victorian Toy – Thursday 21 February and Saturday 23 February 2013 from 12 noon to 3pm
  • Punch and Judy Puppet show – Saturday 25 May 2013 at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm – each show lasts 30 minutes

All events are free to attend and children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Want to know more?

For more information please phone 01992 445596, or email or visit us online at

Lowewood Museum, High Street, Hoddesdon, Herts, EN11 8BH.

Mobile website launched

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Consultation, Councillors, Emergencies, Environmental health, Health, Media, Meetings, Museum, North Weald Airfield, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

If you’re visiting our website from your smartphone you can now choose to use Mobile EFDC – our optimised, cross platform mobile friendly version for news, events, meetings and to report problems when out and about.

Mobile EFDCGo and try it 

Mobile EFDC is simpler, clearer, faster – designed to access information when you are out and about,  focusing on our most popular online services.

A third of our users access information using a mobile device, Mobile EFDC makes it easier to navigate on small screens.

By adding a browser bookmark, or adding a shortcut on your phone homepage you can easily interact or contact us with the press of a button.

Embracing the new Government’s digital by default strategy, Mobile EFDC is part of the ongoing project to improve digital services. The update of the council website in-house using Joomla and WordPress open source software saved the council at least £75,000 in development costs and reduced its annual costs by £20,000.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up-to-date with the latest news.

Learning with Countrycare

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chairman, Chigwell, Community, Conservation and listed buildings, Councillors, Countrycare, Countryside and wildlife, Doing business with the council, Epping, Health, Loughton, Ongar, Our activities, Our countryside, Out and about, Planning, Playschemes, Procurement, Residents, Trees and landscapes, Uncategorized, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment

Countrycare launches environmental education service to show young people the value of the green spaces and wildlife around them.

The Countrycare team is offering an environmental education service to schools that can work with their curriculum, in both science and arts, to help engage young people with the environment. Environmental education sessions can be run on Local Nature Reserves, in classrooms or in school grounds, and we cater for all ages.

We want young people to grow up not just enjoying the countryside but respecting it as well.

Learning with Countrycare

We offer a range of projects including

  • Creating wildlife sanctuaries in school grounds
  • Building bird boxes
  • Practical projects on Local Nature Reserves
  • Tree ecology
  • Tree planting
  • Invertebrate identification
  • Guided walks

If none of these activities fit in with your syllabus we can mould lessons to fit your needs.

Find out more

Download the brochure Learning with Countrycare (pdf 1MB)

For more information about the environmental education service at Countrycare and the competitive costs call 01992 788203 or email

Find out what other work Countrycare does the website at

You can also follow Countrycare on Twitter at

Making Way – an evening of film and dance

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Health, Older people, Ongar, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

‘Making Way’ was a wonderful prelude to Christmas festivities. It brought the Ongar community together for an evening of film and dance on Tuesday 18 December 2012, to celebrate the participants’ achievements in 2012.

Shelley Dance Stars
Shelley Dance Stars

Setting the scene DanceDigital’s youth dance company ‘SWiFt’, began with a magical site-specific contemporary performance involving snowflakes and balloons in the foyer of Zinc Arts Centre in Ongar.

Performances began with pieces from Shelley Dance Stars, Moves and Grooves, All Angels and All Saints. All the performers were from local primary schools.

The audience of residents and staff of Woodredon House Residential Home in Upshire watched the first public screening of the ‘Make A Move’ film. Make a Move was the large scale dance project devised and delivered by Epping Forest Arts, part of Epping Forest District Council.

All Saints
All Saints

‘I was really impressed with the Make a Move project, very inspiring especially, engaging people with disabilities and people of all ages. I feel that dance keeps children motivated – Brilliant!’ – audience member.

‘It was a brilliant reminder of a wonderful event. Thank you so much, Shelley Primary School were thrilled to take part’ – Lesley Lewis, Headteacher.

The performers and Woodredon House residents had participated in creative workshops for ‘Make a Move’ and the amazing en-masse dance finale. Over 200 people of all ages and abilities performed together at the Waltham Abbey Town Show on Sunday 24 June 2012. Check out the video below!

And the future …Vicky Quirke and Vanessa Gayton, Dance Development Artists for Epping Forest District Council have started work on the Map The Move project. Map The Move is a digital community project involving dance, music and film that everyone can be part of. It is a legacy from the Make A Move project and to the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Details of how to get involved will be released at the end of January – keep on dancing!

Leader calls on residents to Shop Local

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Council tax, Countrycare, Democracy, Health, Housing, Leader, Local business, Local plan / planning our future, Olympics, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Parking, Private housing, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Supporting business, Travel, Trees and landscapes, Your money


When I became the new leader of Epping Forest District Council back in the summer, the country was poised for the Olympic Games.

The Olympics proved to be the most fantastic success. As a Country, we staged probably the best Olympic and Paralympic games ever. At a time when the economy is flat and families are struggling to make ends meet, we all showed the rest of the world what Great Britain can achieve.

I am very proud to say that Epping Forest District played its part in our national success. The Lee Valley White Water Centre outside Waltham Abbey was completed on time and budget, giving thousands of people their first taste of the Olympic rapids before any of the other new venues had opened.

But this was just the platform – we helped to provide a stage but it was the people, the volunteers, the spectators, and most of all, the athletes that made the Games such a success. And as we look ahead to 2013 that is how I see the job of Epping Forest District Council – to provide the stage and the conditions in which the residents of Epping Forest can perform to their maximum potential.

So how do we do that?

To begin with we must leave as much of your money in your own pocket as possible. We are a low tax council. It is three years since the last increase in the Epping Forest District element of the Council Tax. We have one of the lowest Council Taxes in Essex.

We are pro-business. A healthy business sector means jobs and services for local people. Pay and Display parking charges in our towns are among the lowest you can find. Many car parks are free at weekends in the run up to Christmas. Working with local businesses, we promote our town centres, visitor attractions and tourism for local residents and visitors alike.

We are pro the environment. There is terrific demand on local housing because people want to live here. We do all we can to defend the Green Belt and we are trying to provide homes to meet the needs not only of people today, but our children and grandchildren in the future.

Healthy living and an active social life go hand in hand with a good life at home and work. We provide leisure centres, support a Youth Council and keep our older residents fit and active. Much of our work is supported by volunteers. Whether you are clearing country paths and coppicing trees with Countrycare or leading a walk for older people through Epping Forest or the Lee Valley Regional Park, the work of the council is magnified and enhanced by the generosity and spirit of volunteers.

Everyone has a part to play and there is never a better time than Christmas to show your support for the district. I want everyone who lives and works in Epping Forest to join with me in making 2013 the year our district takes off.

Use your local high street

One Shops Local and Visit Epping Forest are two websites designed to support local business. Created by Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, the council and other members of our Local Strategic Partnership, these sites are the place to find all the information, deals and recommendations you need to support your local high street.

If you have a few hours to spare and want to make another kind of difference, why not contact Voluntary Action Epping Forest to find out what you could do.

So next time you are thinking about a day out, looking for a good tradesperson or writing your shopping list remember the answers are all online and available on your doorstep.

On behalf of all the councillors and staff at Epping Forest District Council may I wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Chris Whitbread
Leader – Epping Forest District Council

Victorian Christmas at Lowewood Museum

Written on . Posted in Arts, Museum, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Your community

Join us at Lowewood Museum on Saturday 1 December from 11am until 3pm, where Elizabeth and Richard York will perform music from the Victorian era, including festive songs to help get you in the Christmas spirit.

Bringing with them a fascinating selection of instruments, including a harp built in 1833 by Sebastian Erard, (who made instruments for the Royal Family) Northumbrian small pipes, a hurdy gurdy, harmonium and various others, this event is not to be missed and offers something for all the family.

Elizabeth and Richard have performed together for over 30 years, playing a wide range of periods and styles of music on many instruments. They have played for English Heritage and the National Trust, and at places from the Tower of London and the V&A Museum, to small regional events.

Admission to the event is free and while you are here why not take a look around the many interesting exhibits we have on display.

For further information about the performance or the museum, please contact us on 01992 445596 or by email on

You can find us at Lowewood Museum, High Street, Hoddesdon, Herts, EN11 8BH.

Museum open Wednesday to Friday (10am to 4pm) and Saturday (10am to 5pm).

Celebrate all that is good in our disabled community

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Equalities, Health, Local business, Media, Older people, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Supporting business, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your home

Paralympians Danny Crates and Anne Wafula Strike, marathon runner Chris Moon MBE, and 7/7 survivor Daniel Biddle will be helping to celebrate all that is good in our disabled community at a free event to mark the 20th anniversary of the International Day for People with Disabilities (IDPwD).

The theme for the event in Chelmsford on Saturday 1 December 2012 is removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all.

The events opening ceremony is hosted by Dave Monk of BBC Essex, with demonstrations of disabled sport, singers, musicians and dramatists, as well as exhibitions by photographers and artists taking place all day to provide something for everyone.

Epping Forest District Council are helping to sponsor the event, and will be taking part in the business showcase to provide information about our services for people with disabilities, and the opportunity for people with disabilities to work with us to improve our services through the Epping Forest Disability Forum.

This event is at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford Rivermead Campus, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1SQ from 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday 1 December. Free Park and Ride.

The Colchester community interest company Dancing Giraffe, in association with Chelmsford City Council and Anglia Ruskin University are hosting the event to raise awareness of the benefits of the integration of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life, and to continue the positive experience that is the Paralympics’ legacy.

International Day for People with Disabilities is a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to promote understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.

Deadline approaching for arts and sports awards

Written on . Posted in Arts, Health, Our activities, Out and about, Residents, Sports, Young people, Your area, Your community

Arts and Sports Awards 2013
Arts and Sports Awards 2013

Time is running out if you would like to apply for an arts or sports award, the closing date for applications is 1 December.

If you are 13 to 25 years of age and have a real talent in sports or the arts, Epping Forest District Council would like to invite you to apply for a financial award to support you in further developing your skills.

Awards range from £500 to £1,500 for the overall winners in each category and are presented on an annual basis.

To be considered for an award, you will need to demonstrate a very high level of talent by providing us with detailed and supporting information in your application.

If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to an interview in January at which this information will need to be evidenced.

Apply now

To be eligible for an award you must

  • Be aged 13 to 25 on the closing date for applications of 1 December 2012
  • Live in the Epping Forest district, or if at College or University return ‘home’ to Epping Forest district during the holidays
  • Demonstrate a high level of skill and have the potential to improve even further
  • Sports – you must be competing at county, regional or national level in a nationally-governed sport
  • Music – you must be at grade VIII if you are a jazz or classical musician, or receiving public or professional recognition for your work, if working in other genres
  • Visual and Performing Arts – you must be pursuing a course of study at a higher educational level and/or receiving public or professional recognition for your work

Download the Arts and Sports Awards application form

For more information call 01992 564561 or email

Cartoon club for children with disabilities and young people

Written on . Posted in Arts, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community

A new club for children with disabilities and young people is being launched by Epping Forest District Council and Waltham Abbey Town Council.

The first-ever Epping Forest Cartoon Club takes place on Friday 7 December 2012 from 4.15pm to 5.30pm at Waltham Abbey Town Hall, Highbridge Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1DE.

Epping Forest Cartoon Club is a great opportunity for children with disabilities and young people to experience the thrill of the cinema without the restrictions. A variety of short cartoons will be shown, which children and young people can enjoy in a safe, unstructured environment where they can move and be free.

There will also be a variety of mats and beanbags and other activities, such as arts and crafts turning the Town Hall into one giant living room for the children to relax and enjoy the show.

Refreshments will be available but why not bring a packed lunch and make an indoor picnic of the event?

There will be no time restrictions so parents and young people may come and go as they please.  For more information, please contact Fabrizio Ferrari on 01992 564567 or email