Holiday Fraud & Other News

Starting with Holiday Fraud, this news roundup also addresses:

Holiday Fraud Warning

Holiday fraud - image of sunhat, sunglasses, camera & book

As we look forward to the possibility of holidays again, you are warned about risks of holiday fraud.  Action Fraud and ABTA, The Travel Association, are reminding the public to think twice before handing over their money and personal information when booking holidays this year.

What is holiday fraud?

Holiday fraud can vary from fake accommodation listings that don’t actually exist, to “too good to be true” offers with flights being particularly targeted. Criminals can approach you over the phone, via text, email and social media, offering incredibly cheap deals to tempt you into booking a holiday with them. In reality, the holiday you’ve booked, or parts of it, doesn’t exist at all.

Before you buy

  • Do your research — make sure you’ve read plenty of reviews and have checked that the company is an ABTA member.
  • Pay Safe — use a credit card where possible and avoid paying into bank accounts.
  • If it looks too good to be true, it usually is!

Colchester Climate Emergency Survey

Colchester BC

The Borough Council declared a climate emergency in July 2019, making a clear commitment to reduce emissions and the environmental impact of its operations.

They have now launched a survey to learn about how you currently hear about the Council’s work on environmental issues. This survey aims to explore this and gives you the chance to give your opinions and comments on how you would prefer to hear about the Council’s work on the Climate Emergency. The survey should only take you a few minutes to complete. This is the first stage of engagement they will be doing with residents to understand views on the Council’s work to tackle the climate emergency.

You can find out more about the council’s work on sustainability at:


The survey will open for responses on Monday 8 March at 12pm and close on Monday 5 April 2021 at midnight.

Parent(s) of Teens?

Keyword map of teenage factors considered

“Thank you for all your
help. I feel a different
person and value my
relationship with my
teenager on a different
level now. I can’t thank
you enough for being
there for me. I would
highly recommend this
group to anyone.”

A parent’s testimonial
The Ministry of Parenting

STOP is an effective parenting course for parents and/or carers of young people aged 10 – 16. It is a 10-week step-by-step programme that runs for 2 hours per week.  The course covers a range of topics including:

  • how to make changes in behaviours,
  • teen development and the brain,
  • problem solving skills with teens,
  • setting limits,
  • and so much more.

This will give parents a greater understanding of their young person and strategies to help manage situations which often occur during the ‘teens’.

Venue is to be confirmed, however our aim is for Central Colchester area on Monday night’s 18.30 – 20.30.  Starting 10th May 2021, restrictions permitting.

This course has been sponsored by Essex County Council, which means we can offer places free of charge (normally £720 per parent).

Domestic Abuse During Lockdown

Next Chapter, Essex Youth Service and the Young Essex Assembly have combined to provide the following information and resources:

  • 14 women were killed due to domestic abuse in the first 3 weeks of lockdown
  • 120% was the increase in calls to Refuge’s doemstic abuse helpline, &
  • 67 requests were made to Next Chapter for safe accommodation in April

How to Help a Friend Experiencing Domestic Abuse

Safe word—have a safe word with your friend so if they need help quickly, they can drop that word into conversation and you’ll know they need your help.

Acknowledge it’s not their fault and try to validate their experience—don’t say something like ‘I can’t believe that’s happened’ or act like their abuse is not real or serious enough. Express sympathy by saying ‘I’m sorry to hear that’

Find help—ask your friend how you can help/how they would like you to help them. Offer the use of an address or phone number if they need it.  Keep the lines of communication open with that person.

Encourage them to talk—encourage them to report their abuse and seek help.

Resources Available

  • Bright Sky—this is an app disguised as a weather app on your phone but contains lots of resources and information to help victims get the aid they need.
  • 55—if you’re in trouble but can’t speak, dial 999 then press 55 once the operator has asked what your emergency is and the emergency services will know that you are unable to speak and they will use your phone GPS to find and help you.
  • Next Chapter—visit their website where you can contact them by online chat, email or text.
  • Boots—there are safe spaces in Boots pharmacies where victims can contact domestic abuse services for advice and support.

Mental Health

Lockdown had a major impact on the UK’s mental health, including increased rates of suicidal thoughts, according to new research.

The study, led by the University of Glasgow, examined the effects of Covid-19 during the height of the pandemic.

Certain groups are said to be particularly at risk, including young people and women.

BBC Article October 2020

The Essex Youth Service reassures you that you are not alone if you:

  • need information about mental health help,
  • feel mental health issues aren’t detected early enough.

The following organisations are here to help:

National CharitiesLocal Charities
Kooth – kooth.comYES (Colchester & Tendring)
Childline – Intervention Services (Colchester)
Beat Eating Disorders – East (LGBT+, Colchester)
Young Minds – talk (Tendring) –
Samaritans –

Or, there are self-help options with a range of Apps to support you such as:

  • Mindshift – A free app designed to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety.
  • Moodgym – An online cognitive behaviour therapy program for depression and anxiety.
  • Smiling Mind – A meditation program developed by psychologists and educators to help bring mindfulness into your life.

… and many more that you can access from the CAMHS website here.

Protect Your Dog & Garden Furniture From Being Stolen

Dog Chipping

As if holiday fraud wasn’t enough, the local Neighbourhood Watch has reported that the past year has seen a significant rise in theft of both dogs and garden furniture!  Obviously dogs give great pleasure and provide company so can be very distressing for both the owner and pet if stolen.  The criminals can then sell on to an unsuspecting customer who are themselves seeking company often unknowing it has been at somebody else’s expense.

There is a current shortage of garden furniture at retailers, probably due to increased demand, following recent reviews to COVID restrictions. Recent crime reports show a sudden increase in the theft of garden furniture across Essex districts. There could be a connection so please do your utmost to protect the contents of your garden at the very least until all restrictions are lifted.

To find out more about what you can do to protect your dog the following two page article might help you:

Census first-timer – not sure what to do? There’s help

Great Notley Parish Council is hosting a Zoom event which they are opening to residents of Braintree, Uttlesford or Colchester.  Details are:

A virtual event for you to learn more about the census, get help with the questionnaire and have your questions answered.

Wednesday 24th March 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 883 7379 0282

Passcode: 978521

National Day of Reflection – March 23rd

National Day of Reflection - Marie Curie symbol

The Marie Curie charity are organising this event on the anniversary of the 1st Lockdown.  It will provide the opportunity to:

  • reflect on our collective loss,
  • support those who’ve been bereaved, and
  • hope for a brighter future .

There will be a minute’s silence at 12.00noon you are encouraged to help create a nationwide “beacon of remembrance” on your doorsteps by beaming phones, candles, and torches into the night sky at 20:00.

If you follow the link above you will find how you can get involved n other ways as well; in the meantime, a brief video to find out why it matters:

CBC Covid-19 Update

Version 18 of the Colchester Borough Council’s COVID-19 Community Response Pack is now online here.  It includes further updates such as returning to education, support for students and long term effects of COVID-19.

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