Free Cycle training, Police & Other Updates

Free Cycle Training

Family cycling - get free cycle training

Through Safer Essex Roads Partnership, ECC is offering free cycle training until the end of March 2022.  They have courses available for Children, Adults (beginners to advanced) and even families. Sessions are led by qualified instructors and range from 45 minutes to 3 hours! 

If you are interested then you should register your interest here.

Other updates

Essex Police

Essex Police has recently published issue 15 of their local news update.  It is a decent read with much to interest, e.g. spiking, property closed due to anti-social behaviour and joint patrols with RMP.  There’s also a nice snippet on ‘Disruptor Teams’ who look into and tackle crimes such as anti-social behaviour within communities. It rounds off with an article on cycle security and contact information to help victims of domestic abuse.  You can read the whole update below.

Community Updates

This is a much slimmer document with more white space than words, however, items of interest are:

The Police Update in Full

Day 39 of Lockdown – the St Mary’s May edition

VE-Day 75th Anniversary Stamp

Clowns humour by Manny Francisco in ManilaDay 39 of Lockdown

Our day 39 update starts with St Mary’s May edition of their news which includes a message from Revd Mandy Elmes and details of how to access services online.  Other updates include:

St Mary’s Update

This update starts with a message from Revd. Mandy Elmes and also includes details of how to access Zoom services,  Continue reading “Day 39 of Lockdown – the St Mary’s May edition”

Coffee Morning – Keep the Bell Ringing

Coffee morning to Keep the Bells RingingCoffee Morning – Keep the Bell Ringing

The Friends of St Mary’s Old Church are holding a coffee morning to support their  “Keep the Bell Ringing” appeal.  Taking place on Saturday 18th February, in St Mary’s Church Hall, coffee, tea, squash & delicious cakes will be on offer from 10:30 until midday.

All are welcome, no charge will be made but Continue reading “Coffee Morning – Keep the Bell Ringing”

Mulled Wine to Keep the Bell Ringing

Buy some Xmas Cards with your Mulled Wine
Buy some Xmas Cards with your Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine to Keep the Bell Ringing

The Friends of St Mary’s invite you to join them for mulled wine, mince pies and refreshments at the Old Church.  Taking place between 12-2:30pm on Sunday 11th December the event is a social occasion to meet friends, chat and look at the decorated Christmas trees.   You could also become a member (or renew your membership) of the Friends of St Mary’s Old Church. All are welcome, no admission charge but donations gratefully received.  Any funds raised will go towards the urgently needed repairs discussed in a previous article on this site.

Christmas Cards

The friends are also selling packs of Christmas Cards featuring the Old Church in wintry scenes.  Costing £3.50 you can buy the cards from Scissorhands, the Pharmacy or directly from Teresa (241878) or Jane (240167).


Keep the Bell Ringing Appeal for St Mary’s

Heritage of St Mary's Old Church, West Bergholt
The classic view of St Mary’s Old Church – our local heritage

Keep the Bell Ringing

Friends of St Mary’s Old Church have launched the “Keep the Bell Ringing” appeal for £10,000 .

Why £10,000?

Our 1,000-year-old West Bergholt Old Church in Hall Road is now in need of serious care and attention to give it the chance to continue another 1,000 years.   Its roof is leaking in 2 places requiring repair of the valley gutter and dormer window, and the belfry needs work on its weather cladding.  The estimate of cost for this external work, by the Churches Conservation Trust which now cares for this redundant church, is an eye-watering £127,200.  The CCT secured grant funding for most of this sum, but we have to raise the funding shortfall of £10,000 locally.

How you can help

We need your help!  The plan is to erect scaffolding and do this specialist work next Spring, so we need to raise the funds quickly to make this happen.  To confirm the grant the donors need to see that we can raise our share of the money.

We will ring-fence all donations to this appeal, you could help us in the following ways:

  • Firstly make a donation either:
    • by cheque to the ‘Friends of St Mary’s Old Church” sent to our Treasurer: Rhys Lloyd, 4 Coopers Crescent, West Bergholt, CO6 3SJ.
    • by electronic transfer online to a/c no. 65515734, Sort Code 09-92-99. Please indicate who the donation is coming from.
    • through to the “ St. Mary’s Old Church West Bergholt” appeal.
  • Next, consider coming to the events we are planning this autumn:
    • Table Top Sale: Saturday 19th November at the Orpen Hall, 10am-2pm at the Orpen Hall.  We will be serving Light lunches and refreshments.  Call Gill Poole on 240512 to book a sale table.  Entrance 50p.
    • Mulled Wine and Mince Pies in the Old Church – Sunday 11th December from 12.00 – 2.30pm. Come and admire the Christmas trees decorated by various village groups, and meet friends and neighbours.  This is a free event but donations will be gratefully received, and memberships (just £5), renewed.
  • Buy our Christmas cards of the Old Church:
    • at our events,
    • the local shops, or
    • from Teresa on 241878 or Jane on 240167. 6 cards for £3.50.
  • Become a Friend of St Mary’s Old Church or renew your membership (just £5). Phone Rhys or Carrie or visit the church for details.
  • Make your friends aware of our Appeal; also that the Old Church is open to visitors from 10am – 4pm every day.
  • Hold a fundraising events or help us with one of ours. To offer help, please contact Jane or Carrie.

Inside St Mary'sInternal works as well

While this external repair work is undertaken we will also carry out urgently needed plastering work and decoration inside the church. This will be funded by the very generous legacy of Mrs Yvonne Henderson which was left specifically for this purpose.

Thank you for reading this appeal.  We hope you will be able to help us preserve our lovely ancient church for future generations and keep it available for the use of our village.   Please be as generous as you can.

Celebrate Christmas with us

Start your Christmas celebrations this year by coming to the 2016 Candlelight Carol Service at the Old Church on 18th December at 2.30pm.



Sport Relief Grants

Sport Relief via Essex Community FoundationSport Relief Community Cash grant

Apply now for a Sport Relief Community Cash grant

Sport Relief Community Cash to North Essex and Suffolk comes via Comic Relief. The Fund is now available, with Essex Community Foundation working with Comic Relief to get the cash to the groups that need it most.

Cash grants of £500 to £1,000 are available to small grassroots community organisations in North Essex (Colchester, north Braintree and Tendring) that are doing great work to help local people living tough lives. It is not only sporting projects or organisations that can apply, but groups across the whole of the community.

Applications for Sport Relief Community Cash need to be submitted by Monday 15th February 2016. Interested groups should click here for the grant criteria and guidance on how to apply.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Grants Team on 01245 356016 or [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] should you have any questions.

Essex Community Foundation are:

an independent charitable trust improving the quality of life of people in our community by investing and distributing funds on behalf of a wide range of donors.  Since 1996 our donors have invested £26 million of charitable funding directly into Essex, Southend and Thurrock making it a great place to live, work, learn and grow.

Further information about the Fund is also available at

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.

Neighbourhood Plan Funding

Neighbourhood-Planning-FundingNeighbourhood Plan Funding

The Neighbourhood Plan Group have been successful in their application for funding for their project which is great news for the village.  The following was the letter received confirming this success:

On behalf of The Department for Communities and Local Government, I would like to congratulate you and your organisation for being selected as one of the recipients of a Supporting Communities in Neighbourhood Planning grant.

You have been awarded a grant of £3,390 and the first installment of your grant (£3,051) has been approved for payment. Please ensure that you have read the Terms & Conditions of your grant thoroughly to ensure you are clear on the requirements of the grant, including the reporting required to release the final installment. Guidance on how to complete the grant monitoring forms is attached below.

Please accept our warm congratulations on the success of your application. We look forward to working with you on this important project.

With best wishes,

Alice Wilcock

Director, Partnerships & Innovation

Since this project is a key project for the future of the village the funding is a critical success so well done to the team behind it!

A welcome rejection

The Parish Council recently submitted an application to Essex County Council’s Community Initiatives Fund for £1,000 towards the John Lampon Hall noise reduction panels. The request, as submitted, was rejected although, on the bright side, only because they felt it was too low and so awarded us with £2,000 instead!

Well done to Andrew and Val for compiling what was obviously an excellent submission.

This material has been developed for the West Bergholt Village Website at