Keeping Up To Date on COVID-19

Keeping Up To Date on COVID-19

If you want to keep up to date on COVID-19 with a local slant then it is worth tracking Essex County Council’s information page.  ECC update this daily with news specific to Essex but it also gives highlights of recent national government announcements.  Some of the biggest items addressed most recently are:

Appeal from Council Leader and Director of Public Health

Cllr David Finch and Dr Mike Gogarty express their dismay about the Continue reading “Keeping Up To Date on COVID-19”

Wild Flowers of Essex

Dr Chris Gibson talking to WB Gardeners

Dr Chris Gibson talking to WB GardenersWild Flowers of Essex

West Bergholt Gardeners recently enjoyed an interesting talk by Dr. Chris Gibson about “Wild Flowers of Essex”.  Chris drew on his 30+ year career as a nature conservationist, working to preserve Essex wildlife and landscapes.  The Gardeners learnt about the large areas of ancient woodland around the county (which includes Hillhouse Wood) and the flowers and plants which flourish there.

Threats to Wild Flowers

Continue reading “Wild Flowers of Essex”

County Maps of Essex – 1576 – 1805

Charlie Haylock

county maps of essexCounty Maps of Essex – 1576 – 1805

County Maps of Essex was the topic of discussion at the Local History Group’s last meeting on 12th September.  An audience of 40 members and visitors heard speaker Peter Walker introduce his specialist subject.  It soon became clear that our County was one of the most mapped counties in England. Peter started with one produced by Continue reading “County Maps of Essex – 1576 – 1805”

Cricket Colts Prepare for New Season

West Bergholt Cricket Club logoCricket Colts Prepare for New Season

West Bergholt Cricket Colts have active youth activities even before the main cricket season starts, they have provided the following update.

Indoor Training.

Colts training indoorsThe cricketing new year started off for us in March with our latest indoor cricket training sessions for our young cricketers (Colts) at Holmwood House school.  We held sessions for our Junior Colts who are those still at primary school and the Senior Colts who are at secondary school.

Over the course of the sessions, our Junior Colts were shown the basics of the game and got to try out their newly acquired skills through a range of fun mini-games. Our Senior colts also had some fun games to improve their techniques and improve their reaction times before finally padding up for batting and bowling practice.

We still have two more weeks of the indoor training to run in April getting the players ready for the outdoor season which will start on the 5th of May with Colts Registration and training at 10.30 a.m.

Colts with Essex County Team's Specsavers trophySpecsavers County Championship Cup.

Hearing of all the effort we had been putting into re-energising the Colts Section and cleaning up the Club House, Essex Cricket chose us as one of only 6 Clubs to visit on Nat West Club Force Day with the Specsavers County Championship Cup, of which Essex are the current holders.

Our youngsters (and some of our older volunteers too) enjoyed the opportunity to hold the cup and dream big.  The Essex representative also brought some positive news that after being unsuccessful in an earlier funding bid to provide a separate changing area for ladies and youths we are being considered for some alternate funding so fingers crossed we are successful in that!

Nat West Club Force.

On Saturday the 24th March we took part in the Club Force Initiative which brings volunteers and clubs all over the country together to get Cricket Grounds and Club Houses ready for the forthcoming season.  We were lucky to have 15 volunteers both adults and children come along and give us a hand to get the club ready.

All Stars Cricket youngstersECB All Stars Cricket.

March also brought the start of the registration process for All Stars Cricket, which is a training programme specially designed for 5- to 8-year-olds.  The programme provides eight weeks of training plus a bat, personalised shirt and backpack all for £40.

We are very lucky to have Mr Gareth Minter, P.E. Co-Ordinator from Heathlands Primary School, leading the programme for us.  At the time of writing, we already have 18 children booked onto our sessions which start on the 2nd June, so we are very much looking forward to welcoming these little cricketers to the club.  We welcomed 3 of the All Stars on Saturday when the County Championship Cup came to visit, they were very excited to have their first mini-game of cricket on the Club’s cricket pitch.


Consultation on Essex Police, Fire & Rescue

Police & Crime Commissioner

Police & Crime CommissionerThe Future of Essex Police, Fire & Rescue?

The people of Essex are being urged to have their say in the potential change in the way Essex Police and Essex County Fire & Rescue Service is governed.  To have your say respond to the consultation that ends on Wednesday 10th May.

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 enables police and crime commissioners to become the fire and rescue authority where a strong local case is made. The Government has also created a statutory duty to collaborate.

Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst said: Continue reading “Consultation on Essex Police, Fire & Rescue”

Passenger Transport Survey

Passenger Transport Survey poster

Passenger Transport Survey posterPassenger Transport Survey

Essex County Council is a major funder of local passenger transport services including:

  • providing transport for over 20,000 children to travel to mainstream and special need schools each day.
  • providing transport for children in care, older people and people with learning disabilities and physical or sensory impairments.
  • supporting around 15% of local bus services in the County including many evening, rural and Sunday buses that are socially necessary but loss-making and so need funding support.

Continue reading “Passenger Transport Survey”

Families Included

Families IncludedEssex Challenge launches with a Families Included Prize

Essex County Council are launching a new initiative called Essex Challenge Prize on 12th May. The Families Included Prize is the first in a series of Challenge Prizes.  Challenge Prizes are a tried and tested method of generating a broader range of original ideas to solve difficult problems.  Over the next few years ECC intend to run a series of prizes to address the diverse issues facing Essex.  Along the way they will offer a range of support to nurture and develop the ideas of individuals, communities and organisations, as well as awarding a prize for the winning solution.

We are looking for great ideas, projects and solutions from Essex that involve local families with young children in opportunities that enrich their lives.  Ideas can relate to any aspect of life including personal and social experiences.  They can look to address the problem across Essex or focus on a local community.  All we ask is that solutions come from people or organisations in Essex and will make a positive difference to Essex families.

Entry will be open between 12 May and 14 July 2016.  After this a team of assessors and judges will choose the most promising ideas to go forward to receive further support to test and progress their solution.  The winner will receive a prize of £10,000 to help them take this forward.  We don’t know what the winning idea will look like.  It might be a product, a service or a clever bit of tech.  It could be completely new or an adapted way of doing things.

To find out more:

  • Visit the website at to find out more about Challenge Prizes and why ECC want to address social isolation impacting Essex families.
  • Be a champion!  ECC want to get as many people across Essex as possible to put on their thinking caps and want to reach beyond the usual suspects.  Please tell people about this exciting project and share, share and share again the website address on your social media account.
  • If you have any questions please email [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].

Funding, Energy Switch & More

Funding, Energy Switch & More

Funding is just one of many subjects in the numerous news updates Essex County & Colchester Borough Councils issue every week, the following are extracts that might be of particular interest.

Funding available for community projects

Colchester’s Big Choice funding application process is now open! Bid for a share of £200,000 to fund new or existing community projects in Colchester. Finalists will be entered into a public vote at the end of February 2016 to decide on the winners.

If you have a project that could be eligible CBC needs to know more about it. Not all applications will go through to the final vote but in order to qualify CBC needs to know who you are, what you do and how your idea will benefit the residents of Colchester Borough.

Completing this online application form will guide you through the information CBC needs so please complete it carefully and take note of the deadlines as CBC has to stick to them. The online application form needs to be completed and received by CBC by 12 noon on the 15th January 2016.   Click here to find out more

Save hundreds in the Essex Energy Switch

An energy-saving initiative which has already saved Essex residents almost £1 million has reopened for new applications. Register now for the Essex Energy Switch to potentially save hundreds of pounds on your energy bills.

Registration is open till 1 February 2016. After this, energy providers will bid against one another in an auction with the winning bidder being the company offering the lowest price to all applicants. Following last year’s Switch, residents saved approximately £263 per household.

Anyone who pays for energy is eligible to take part. Signing up takes just a few minutes online. Visit for more information and to find out how to take part.

How to avoid a cold (caller) this winter

Free “No Cold Caller” stickers are now available at Essex libraries to help vulnerable people protect themselves from rogue traders.

#InstaEssex – Capturing the culture of Essex

What best describes Essex culture to you? Is it some of our buildings and architecture; our artwork and theatres; local street and contemporary social culture; or perhaps there’s an iconic image you think sums up the county? Whatever it is, the #InstaEssex campaign wants to capture it with a photography competition that’s open to both amateur and professional photographers.

15 winning images will be displayed at London Liverpool Street station and at branch line stations across Essex. From these winners the top three will be awarded cash prizes of £1,000 (first prize), £500 (second prize) and £250 (third prize).

If you’re stuck for inspiration why not take a look at the Explore Culture website.  Or if you’d like to brush up on your photography skills, why not take part in one of the #InstaEssex workshops.

If you don’t fancy submitting a photo but still want to share your thoughts, you can join the discussions on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #Instaessex.  The competition is open until Mon 15 February 2016 so there’s plenty of time to get snapping!

Boost Your Online Skills

If you were fortunate enough to receive a new smartphone, tablet or PC at Christmas and you’d like help to get online, then why not brush up your IT skills for free at CBC’s digital bazaar events and online drop-in sessions beginning this month and running throughout 2016.

At CBC’s digital bazaar events and online drop in sessions, you are encouraged to bring your own device where you will receive professional help with setting it up.

Computers are available at all of the events and staff are there to support and teach you and undertake tasks such as setting up email addresses. You will also have the opportunity to meet some of CBC’s dedicated multi-skilled Zone Teams who have in-depth knowledge of local areas.

One to One Support

CBC also offer one-to-one support at any of the library hubs across Colchester. To book a free one hour session please complete CBC’s online form or call 01206 282222.

Local Health Matters Meetings

Taking place twice a month in various parts of the North East Essex area, these meetings are free to attend without prior booking and give you an opportunity to discuss matters of concern or interest to you regarding Local Health matters.  The minutes of the recent meeting in Colchester will give you an idea of what they are about:

Winter’s on its way

The unseasonal mild spell is coming to an end. Are you ready for wintry conditions on the roads? Keep up to date with road conditions via Essex County Council’s website or Twitter accounts.

Visit ECC’s winter travel web page for useful information about salt bins, salting (gritting) routes and links to other winter-related advice about school closures, flooding alerts and health. Follow @Essex_Travel and @EssexGritters for all the latest winter road updates from Essex County Council on Twitter. ECC does not manage the A12, A120, M11 and M25. Visit the Highways Agency website for information about these roads.

At midday every day during winter a weather report comes in to Essex County Council and the decision is made whether to send gritters out onto the Essex roads.  Essex County Council has 59 gritters which grit 2,500 miles of roads in the county using a mixture of salt and brine. Find out how the gritting service works in a feature which appeared in the East Anglian Daily Times this week.

Remember to always drive to the weather conditions to keep safe on the roads this winter.

Hillhouse Wood 21st AGM

21st AGM of the Friends of Hillhouse Wood

It’s now twenty one years since the Friends was formed and, since then, they have worked closely with this piece of ancient woodland and the Woodland Trust.  The 21st AGM of the Friends of Hillhouse Wood will be held on Wednesday 9th December in the Orpen Hall, Lexden Road, starting at 7:30pm.

We are happy for anyone to attend our AGM so, even if you are not a member, just turn up.  The only thing you won’t be able to do is vote!  As well as an illustrated talk you’ll hear about what’s been going on in the wood over the last year.  This includes the various public events as well as the achievements of the working parties.

Following the formal business there will be an illustrated talk by Darren Tansley, Water for Wildlife Officer for Essex Wildlife Trust, on the subject of “The Mammals of Essex”.

Otter in Essex a subject of the talk at the friends' 21st AGM
“Mammals of Essex” is the subject of the talk being given at the Friends AGM

Any enquiries for more information to M.R. Pluck, Honorary Secretary, on 01206 514173.


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