Day 100 of (flexible) Lockdown – the ‘Ton-up’ edition

100Day 100 of (flexible) Lockdown

On Day 100 of lockdown Colchester Borough Council looks at launching a Garden Club.  Meanwhile not to be outdone, Essex are launching:

… and we end with a bit of fun

Another news short – Colchester Zoo will be opening indoor & play areas from Saturday 4th July.

Brown wheelie binNew Garden Waste Options

Proposals for a new options-based garden waste service are being published by Colchester Borough Council.  Councillors will consider the report at meetings next week.

Launching Garden Club

The report sets out plans to launch a Garden Club in October this year.  It will begin a subscription service for garden waste with fortnightly collections until the end of March 2021 . There will be an introductory offer price of £25 for each brown wheelie bin and membership to the Garden Club services. Subscription would be open to residents that currently receive a kerbside collection for garden waste.

Options to Choose From

The new proposals will give Colchester residents a choice of multiple options. Residents could:

  • ‘Opt in’ to the new garden waste collection service (Garden Club).
  • Join Garden Club with a neighbour.
  • Compost at home with a subsidised composter provided.
  • Be part of setting up a Community Composting Scheme.
  • Take waste to the Household Waste Recycling Centres.

The first full-year Garden Club scheme would begin in April 2021 and run for a calendar year (until March 2022). Collections would remain as fortnightly and the renewal charge for the 12-month scheme would be £50, meaning membership remains at less than £1 a week. New Garden Club members would also benefit from the ‘early bird’ offer of a half-price set-up cost in April 2021, at £12.50 (normally £25) and concession rates would be available.

One 240-litre Wheelie Bin

To ensure Garden Club collections are efficient and reduce musculoskeletal injuries suffered by staff collecting the waste, the subscription would be for one 240-litre brown wheelie bin. Residents can add additional bins to their subscription, if required. Where using wheelie bins is not physically possible due to the street or property, compostable or reusable sacks will be provided.

As part of their Garden Club membership, residents would also be able to take advantage of a seasonal newsletter, talks from specialists and special offers on gardening-related services and products.

Free collection for real Christmas trees during January would continue to take place from all households, continuing the strong partnership with St Helena Hospice.

As the report makes clear, if approved, the choice-based system would help support the council’s finances post Covid-19 and enable it to help maintain key services.

Two-thirds of local authorities across the country now provide a similar subscription service, including Tendring and Maldon councils, which charge residents £50 and £46 respectively, both with a £25 initial set up cost. Most councils also use wheelie bins for their ease-of-use for residents and staff, helping with health and safety, as well as cleanliness on our streets.

Art WeekEvery Family Matters this Children’s Art Week

It can be difficult for some children and young people to share how they’re feeling and with the ongoing pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic – something they will have never experienced before – they may not be able to find the right words to let you know something is wrong.

Children’s Art Week will take place online over the next three weeks and we’re encouraging you to take some time out to get creative with your child. Art activities can provide the perfect opportunity for you to bond together and allow children and young people to express themselves without needing to use words.

Positive Impact

There is more and more evidence to suggest that engaging in creative activities can have a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing, giving us a safe space and time to make sense of things and resolve any complicated feelings we might have. The best thing is, there is no right or wrong way to do it; children have complete freedom to do anything that feels natural to them.

We’ve put together some activity sheets that will help you get started and give your child the space to express how they’re feeling, in whatever way they choose. Sitting and being creative together is also a great way of connecting and may help your child to start a conversation that it would be difficult for them to have otherwise.

Share it Online

We’d love to see your finished pictures throughout Children’s Art Week; you can share your artwork with us over on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

For more information and organisations that can help you help your family during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our Staying Well Children and Families page.

Family cyclingEssex publish new COVID-19 Recovery Transport Plan

Transport, infrastructure and connectivity are critical to recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Essex County Council’s new COVID-19 Recovery Transport Plan describes the council’s ambition to drive continued, positive changes to transportation and travel in Essex.

Using funding from the Department of Transport, Essex pedestrians and cyclists are now starting to reap the benefits of the ‘Safer, Greener, Healthier’ investment helping residents move safely around Essex.

Working with local councils and other organisations, Essex County Council has been introducing improvements and expansion to the current cycling and walking urban environment, changing parts of the road network and extending safe, accessible areas in towns.

To support this, ECC have now developed a Covid-19 transport recovery plan that will:

  • Enable people to move safely around the county again, while adhering to social distancing guidelines
  • Support business in Essex to re-start trading and assist ongoing economic recovery
  • Encourage a sustainable safer, greener, healthier approach to travel in the county

As residents emerge from lockdown with more and more businesses open and increasing numbers of people returning to work, Essex Highways wants to ensure the health and safety of all residents, prevent further infection, encourage healthier travel choices and help tackle the climate emergency and air quality challenges we all face.

Recent Changes in Colchester Town Centre

Over the next few months the plan will:

  • Enhance safe routes for pedestrians and people who cycle
  • Reduce speed limits to 20 mph in agreed locations
  • Improve existing pedestrian and cycle routes
  • Encourage local residents to consider more active and healthier travel choices in preference to personal motor transport, where possible

Longer Term

A second phase of funding will focus on longer-term transport upgrades and will address increasing active travel. Opportunities under consideration include:

  • Sustainable transport to/from schools, using ‘school streets’ measures
  • New Park and Ride sites
  • Trialling e-scooters when legal and provision of more electric car charging points
  • Publicising ECC’s cycling and walking strategy
  • Establishment of Rapid Transit routes in Essex, initially associated with Garden Communities.

These longer-term schemes will make cycling, walking and public transport more accessible and safer by increasing road space for non-motor transport.

The initiatives support ECC’s long-term aim to bring about a permanent shift to more active and sustainable travel.

The full plan document and a shorter Executive Summary are available online at

Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution.  It aims for cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. Will you be part of #plasticfreejuly by choosing to refuse single-use plastics?

It’s competition time! To celebrate #PlasticFreeJuly, LoveEssex are giving away a plastic-free picnic hamper to one lucky winner that has signed the Essex Plastic Pledge. If you haven’t already signed the pledge, follow this link.

Doing the Ton

Most will know that ‘doing the ton’ (100mph) is the aspiration for many motorcyclists in particular.  Given that, here’s some motorcycling music; the first a bikers favourite and the second an (amusing) Arlo Guthrie classic:

The extended version with explanation of the significance of the pickle: