Chairman ‘shows off’ new museum

Written on . Posted in Arts, Chairman, Civic events, Media, Museum, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council

Our freshly redeveloped museum in Waltham Abbey was ‘shown off’ by Chairman Jeane Lea at the annual civic lunch on Thursday 1 September 2016.

Civic lunch - EFDMuseum

Epping Forest District Museum

Chairman Jeane Lea, a Waltham Abbey councillor, invited chairman and mayors from nearby councils in London and Essex to a guided tour by museum staff around the redeveloped Epping Forest District Museum. The museum was reopened in March 2016 after a 2 year long Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment.

The museum tells the story of the people and events that have shaped the Epping Forest district. You can see the remains of woolly mammoths as well as a wooden turkey, a favourite toy of a Victorian child, plus loads more.

Treated to a tour

Guests were treated to a guided tour of the new community rooms and exhibits and given a chance to see behind the scenes. They were shown the 6 new galleries, allowing for a much greater number of objects to be displayed than ever before.

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

Proud to live in Waltham Abbey

Chairman Jeane Lea said: ‘I love the new look and feel of the museum! Our museum is a wonderful asset for the whole district to enjoy. It makes me proud to say I live in Waltham Abbey.’

‘I was honoured to be given the chance to show my guests the fantastic improvements and changes that have taken place. I will definitely be visiting again in the near future.’

‘Thank you to all the museum staff, whose knowledge and hard work has made this such a lovely local museum. I would also like to thank all my guests who raised £265 for my charity, the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust based at North Weald Airfield.’

Visit the museum

Museum partnership receives grant

Written on . Posted in Arts, Business, Community, Councillors, Grants, Local business, Museum, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Our performance, Out and about, Performance, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Working with the council, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

Museum partnership secures major grant award from Arts Council England Resilience Fund

A heritage sustainability project entitled ‘No Borders’, which is being  led by Epping Forest District Council’s Museum, Heritage and Culture Service has been awarded £279,000 by Arts Council England, following a competitive bid to Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund.

EFD Museum reopening

 Epping Forest District Museum re-opening following it’s refurbishment in March 2016

National award

The award, which is part of Arts Council England’s strategic funding programme, has been designed to support museums to become more sustainable and resilient to the pressures many are currently facing. Nationally some 94 museums and organisations were awarded funding totalling £12.2 million.

Ground-breaking Partnership

The ‘No Borders’  project is a ground breaking local authority museums partnership, which includes Epping Forest Museum, Heritage and Culture Service, the Lowewood Museum in Broxbourne and Chelmsford City’s Museum Service, which are all popular museum services  with free entry for the public.

Developing sustainable services

The aim of the project is to support all three local authority areas to  develop sustainable, inspiring services for the future, drawing upon recommendations and ideas produced for Epping Forest District Museum, as part of an earlier piece of resilience work funded by Arts Council England.

Good news for residents

The funding is good news for local residents of all ages  as family activities are a key area of work and this project will enable the museums to develop new approaches to support funding for exhibitions, development projects and day to day activities, by bringing in professionals with expertise in fundraising and commercial operations including retail, catering, event services and venue hire, to undertake a number of transformational improvements across all these areas of work.

New charitable foundations

It is also planned for the museums to establish new, charitable Development Foundations to undertake fundraising in support of their work the museums, with the aim of bringing in funding not normally available to local authority museums and this will be established and guided by an experienced fundraiser.

A third strand of the project will be to undertake projects with groups and individuals who don’t currently access the museums’ services , to build audiences and encourage  people of all ages and abilities to get involved with the museum, as visitors, supporters, volunteers  and future curators.

In the Epping Forest District, the ‘No Borders’ project will build on the recent expansion and refurbishment of Epping Forest District Museum, which has recently reopened following a major Heritage Lottery Fund Award of £1.65m, which has enabled the museum to be fully accessible.


Museum, Heritage and Culture Manager, Tony O’Connor said: ‘’We are delighted to have secured this funding for this work at this exciting time in the museum services development. We are grateful for the support of Arts Council England in providing the opportunity to undertake this transformational project, which will improve the opportunities for residents and visitors to Epping Forest, Broxbourne and Chelmsford museums to engage in the rich heritage and cultural offer we all share.”

Exciting developments

Councillor Helen Kane, Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council’s Leisure and Community Services said: ”Achieving this funding will allow us to build on the exciting developments which have taken place at the Epping Forest District Museum and will ensure that our museum, heritage and culture service can continue to contribute to the health, wellbeing and economic development of the district in a sustainable way.”

She added: ”Ensuring the museum is sustainable and resilient in the long term will ensure the newly developed building continues to contribute to Waltham Abbey town, business and communities.’’

The ‘No Borders’ project will take place between October 2016 and March 2018

Pupils amaze at Big Dance performance

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

Pupils from Epping Forest district’s after-school dance clubs took part in the Big Dance Pledge on Friday 20 May 2016 at Chipping Ongar Primary School.

They joined thousands of dancers from all around the world who simultaneously performed to music created especially for the Big Dance by musician Nitin Sawhney, and dancer Akram Khan choreographing the dancing.

After-school dance clubs run by Epping Forest District Council are from

  • Chipping Ongar Primary School
  • Coopersale and Theydon Garnon Primary School
  • Ivy Chimneys Primary School
  • Moreton Primary School
  • Nazeing Primary School
  • Roydon Primary School

Dancers photos

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

A day to remember

Vanessa Gayton, Dance Engagement Officer at Epping Forest District Council said: “Today has been a fantastic experience for the children. I’m very proud of each and every single one of them, this really has been a day to remember.”

“The beauty of the dance pledge is that it is for everyone, with all types of people and levels of experience of dance in mind. It’s important to put dance on the map in the local community and to show how dance can bring people together.”


Want to get involved? Find out more on the Big Dance website.


Museum galleries spring to life

Written on . Posted in Arts, Community, Health, Media, Museum, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Supporting business, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Museum galleries sprang to life in an enchanting dance exploration called On the Move. Dancers performed to over 200 visitors at Epping Forest District Museum on 30 April 2016.

Museum dance residency

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

Students from the Waltham Abbey-based DNA Studios performed dance interpretations by Choreographer in Residence, Elysia Tebb. Dances were inspired by the themes in the temporary exhibitions gallery, On the Move.

The group performed this piece before dispersing around the museum where they performed their own individual pieces, offering a new and slightly different take on the interpretation of the galleries displays.

Reopening celebration

The performances were a celebration of Epping Forest District Museum’s reopening after it’s Heritage Lottery Funded refurbishment and expansion.

Innovative performance

Speaking about the project, Epping Forest District Council’s Dance Engagement Officer Vanessa Gayton said: “The On The Move Dance project finds both the Museum and DNA Performing Arts students experiencing a totally unique way of representation and performance.”

“This is an immersive experience for the young people involved as they interpret the history of the collections, working in unconventional settings and interacting closely with their audience.”

“The week-long residency has challenged their imaginations, spatial awareness, self-confidence and fitness levels, building towards what will, no doubt, be an innovative performance for our visitors to enjoy.”


New Horizon’s co-ordinator, Hettie, retires

Written on . Posted in Arts, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Civic events, Community, Epping, Health, Loughton, Museum, Older people, Ongar, Our activities, Our attractions, Our countryside, Out and about, Playschemes, Residents, Sports, Sports centres and pools, Waltham Abbey, Your area, Your community, Your council, Your environment, Your home

New Horizon’s Hettie Williamson has hung up her ‘days trips hat’, after 26 years of organising the Epping Forest District Council run ‘Stepping Out Club’ outings. Future day trips are to be run by Karen Murray, the District Council’s Older People’s Engagement Officer.

Julie Chandler (Assistant Director of Community Services and Safety), Hettie Williamson (Ex-coordinator of New Horizon’s outings) and Karen Murray (New coordinator for New Horizon’s outings)

Karen Murray said: “Hettie has done a fantastic job and we are sad she won’t be organising the trips any more, but she will hopefully be coming along on a few trips as a guest in future, that’s if she’s not too busy with all her other activities!”

Hettie joined the team as trip coordinator in November 1989 and since then she has dedicated her time and energy into making the club a success.

88 Years Young

At 88 years young, Hettie will continue to manage the District Council’s Bowls club at the David Lloyd Health and Fitness Club in Chigwell and organise her monthly tea dances. Hettie said: “I never looked back and in its heyday I was arranging up to 22 day trips a year. We have been like one big family and we have shared many happy memories together”.

Hettie is an ‘inspiration’

Julie Chandler, Assistant Director for Community Services and Safety said: “I’m delighted that Hettie has been part of the Council for so long. She has been an inspiration to many people and still is. On behalf of the Council, I’d like to thank Hettie for the commitment and energy that she’s given to the Stepping Out Club over the years.”

Popular day trips

New Horizons offers a range of sporting, social and leisure pursuits for the over 50s. They offer everything from badminton to yoga, dancing to petanque, bowls and the ever popular day trips. Trips are run throughout the year to stately homes, gardens, coasts, as well as other special events.

Day trips in 2016 include:

  • Friday 24th June – Oxford the “City of Dreaming Spires”, £41.85 per person
  • Monday 12th September – Royal London-with a visit to Buckingham Palace, £45.65 per person
  • Tuesday 22nd November – Christmas in Faversham & Canterbury with Choral Evensong at the Cathedral, £28.75 per person

Whether you are looking for a new interest or simply looking to enjoy the company of new friends, take a look at what is on offer this year.

For further details about the trips or Tea Dances or 01992 564222

All trips include coach and entry costs unless otherwise stated and local pick up points are available

Museum reopening a huge success

Written on . Posted in Arts, Chairman, Community, Councillors, Media, Museum, Older people, Our activities, Our attractions, Out and about, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Museum reopened it’s doors to the public on Saturday 19 March 2016 after a 2 year long Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment.

EFD Museum reopening

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

The bells of Waltham Abbey Church rang as reenactors from the 44th East Essex Regiment marched up Sun Street towards the museum to help the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Liz Webster cut the ribbon to officially reopen the museum.

Party atmosphere

A party atmosphere was enjoyed by all who came to celebrate the museum’s special day. They were treated to a jive dance demonstration and a morris dancing display by the Chingford Morris Men in Sun Street.

Over 750 people visited the museum, they enjoyed activities including decorating eggs in the new community space, and were given access to all the museum’s new galleries for the first time.

Welcome back

Museum staff were thrilled with the positive feedback they received. Comments include “Big improvement, proud to live in the Abbey” and “Welcome back! We’ve missed the museum and love the new look!

Museum on the Move

The museum team also celebrated the reopening of the museum by making a film showing what has been going on behind the scenes. The ‘Museum on the Move’ film also features as part of the museum’s first temporary exhibition all about transport through history.

Epping Forest District Museum reopens

Future events

This reopening sees a new start in the museum’s history with a fantastic programme of events and activities coming up in the next year. The museum’s annual Easter Egg Hunt will be back this year taking place on Saturday 26 March from 10am to 3pm. The public is invited to follow the trail around the museum and solve the puzzle to win their chocolate prize. The event is free and open to all.

Follow us

Keep up to date with the project and all of our current events through our social media channels.