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.

Drink Driving & other Xmas crimes?

Police Drink Driving poster

Drink Driving

Adam Pipe, the Casualty Reduction Manager at Essex Police is asking all Speedwatch groups, and other community-minded folks, for any  support they can give to the Xmas drink driving campaign.  Such support is always much appreciated and could help save lives. He says:

We always look to the support of the community in providing us with intelligence relating to possible known drink drivers within your communities and this information can be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

As always you can stay in touch with our daily operations via following my Twitter page @EPAdamPipe.

As their poster cautions – drink-driving can have devastating consequences, don’t take the chance, make sure you arrange your lift home in advance.

Seasonal Fraud On-line

Criminals are always present in our lives and Christmas is no exception.    The City of London Police recently issued a document detailing 12 top seasonal frauds being conducted on-line and how to protect yourself from them:

  1. Shopping On-line?  Beware bogus shopping sites – some may have nothing to deliver, others are shifting counterfeit goods;
  2. Auction Sites are safe aren’t they? Only if used in the safest way and using trusted sellers.
  3. Email links and attachments?  Click them at your peril
  4. Booking a holiday?  If the price seems too good to be true it probably is.
  5. E-card or e-virus?  Many e-cards are safe – but not all are!
  6. Social network special gifts & offers?  Often just trying to capture personal data with nothing to offer at all.
  7. It’s good to give to charity isn’t it?  Of course it is – but make sure it is a legitimate on-line donation.
  8. Paying on-line for presents and services?  Safe only as long as you take precautions.
  9. Transfer the money now to secure your purchase?  Despite the financial institution involved, the ‘seller’ might be running a scam.
  10. Voucher codes are good news?  Possibly, but open to fraud as criminals spread ‘ransomware’ viruses.
  11. Must-see event and cheap tickets?  They might only be cheap because they don’t exist.
  12. Paying with your mobile?  Highly convenient but subject to hacking if not careful.

Read more about how you can protect yourself in 12 Online Frauds of Christmas.

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