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Essex Council

Reports & updates from Essex County Council

Energy Switch, Funding & More

Energy Switch, Funding & More

Offers to help you join Energy Switch and Funding opportunities are just two 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.

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 www.essex.gov.uk/energyswitch for more information and to find out how to take part.

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

#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!

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.

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:

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.

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.

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ECC & CBC News Updates

Essex & Colchester News updates – July 2015

This is a summary of a number of recent announcements made by Essex & Colchester Councils during July 2015:

Listen to council meetings how and when you want

A new audio webcasting system is now in place streaming live from some of our council meetings and debates, available through our website and twitter feed, or you can choose to catch up later.

Links to the audio are from the ‘Your Council’ tab of essex.gov.uk with recordings available alongside meeting details and agendas. You can jump straight to a specific agenda item if that’s all you want to hear again.The Full Council meeting broadcast is planned for 14 July and committees of the council have also started to come online. Look out for tweets with links to the audio stream at the beginning of each meeting on the @ECC_DemSer twitter feed.

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Transparency on calls to ECC’s Contact Centre

Telephone calls to Essex County Council’s Contact Centre now start with a recorded message about call charges. This follows new legislation introduced by the communications regulator Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority for 084, 087,09 and 118 numbers, as part of the national UK Calling scheme.

Callers to the Contact Centre on all 0845 numbers are informed that calls cost 5p per minute plus the access charge from respective service providers.

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Road rollerEssex ahead on pothole repairs

The number of unrepaired potholes on county roads has fallen. In the three months leading to June 30, unrepaired potholes and carriageway defects on the county’s busiest roads have reduced by 70 and 75 per cent respectively, compared with the same period last year. According to Essex County Council figures, potholes and other carriageway defects were maintained at under 350, with 137 on the county’s busiest roads and 206 on main and key roads. Outstanding carriageway defects on local roads have also fallen over the same period, from 5,212 to 4,626, with 2,581 potholes repaired, continuing the positive trend seen over the previous three months. Since the same period last year, carriageway defects on local roads are down by 23 percent, from 6,001 to 4,626. To report a pothole or carriageway defect visit http://www.essexhighways.org/tell-us-pothole.aspx.

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Essex Outdoors children's activitiesHave a summer holiday to remember with Essex Outdoors

Essex Outdoors exciting 2015 summer holiday programme for 8-16 year olds has been released. Centres in Bradwell, Danbury, Harlow and Mersea will be running School Holiday Activity Days, which include up to four activities in one day, between 23 July and 28 August. Activities include aerial trekking, archery, bouldering, BMX, canoeing, caving, climbing, kayaking, low ropes, orienteering, zip wire and much, much more. Harlow is running additional climbing days as well as canoe and kayak days between 23 July and 28 August, with Bradwell also running a canoe day on 18 August. Activity days are the perfect way for children and young people to try the challenge and excitement of new activities. Activity days cost £30 per day or buy four days and get the fifth free. Dates, times and activities vary per centre so please check the website for full details or contact your nearest centre.

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Aiming High for Disabled Children – summer programme

Essex Outdoors will be running the ‘Aiming High for Disabled Children’ programme this summer. The programme offers a range of day and overnight activities for free to disabled children and young people who are aged 8 to 18, as well as their carer. The programme includes:

  • Activity days at Harlow from 24 July to 28 August
  • Activity days at Danbury on 28 and 30 July
  • Sailing/crabbing day at Bradwell on 25 July
  • One night break in either Bradwell or Danbury on 15 August.
  • Mersea Island Festival overnight (five nights from 23 August)
  • Mersea Island Festival day visits from 25 to 30 August

Please note participants must live within the administrative boundary of Essex County Council to qualify for free places. For eligibility as well as dates, times and activities per centre please check the website.

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Family fun at Bark in the Park

Bark in the parkJoin us at this special dog themed fun day for dogs and their owners on Sunday 9 August in Colchester’s Castle Park.

Bark in the Park will transform the open space in Colchester’s park into a dog and dog owner’s extravaganza.  This event, led by Colchester Borough Council’s Animal Control Team, will offer everything man’s best friend needs. There will be plenty to keep the whole family (and their dogs) amused throughout the day and visitors are assured of a great day out.  Owners will also have the chance to enter their pet pooches into the various dog show events that will take place during the day.

Dog Show Categories

  • Best Young Handler
  • Smiliest Staffy
  • Most Gorgeous Rescue
  • Handsomest Dog
  • Prettiest Bitch
  • Calmest Tail
  • Best Trick
  • Overall Best in Show

 There will be entertainment and demos, competitions and prizes, K9 Aqua Sports, dog agility, doggie trade stands and much more! Make sure you register online (for free) to enter one of the seven pet Dog Shows on the day!  Find out more here.

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Have you watched CBC’s latest video?

A brand new tourism video promoting Colchester has been created to showcase everything that the Borough has to offer! If you haven’t had a chance to watch it on their YouTube channel yet, then click the link:

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ECC Update 26Jun15

Latest News from Essex County Council

Burning questions

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service wants your views on how it keeps you safe in your home and community.

Residents are being urged to have their say in the future redesign of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS), through a 12 week consultation that starts today (Monday June 15) and ends on Sunday September 6.

The consultation process, the main element of the Fire Authority’s Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP), aims to address several key issues impacting on the fire service such as the declining number of call-outs and the need to increase the focus on preventing fires and emergencies from happening.

It will also look at major issues such as response times, and the ambitious target of having a working smoke alarm in every Essex home.

Have your say here.

If you’re happy and you know it

Baby and Toddler Rhymetime veteran volunteer Peter Cave is 91 and is living proof you are never too old to volunteer, Peter Cave has been volunteering at the Baby and Toddler Rhymetime session at Chelmsford Library since earlier in the year and intends to carry on his sterling singing and storytelling role after he turns 91 – why not get involved yourself?

Better service, same price

Frozen prices, more options and an improved Meals on Wheels service is coming your way.

Essex County Council (ECC) took a decision that will see prices for Meals on Wheels frozen and the service improved, following today’s Cabinet meeting.

As part of the decision, a one year extension has been agreed to the county’s existing Meals on Wheels service.

Get exploring!

Go on an adventure in one of our country parks and send us a picture from your trip to win free parking for six months!

Colchester Local Highways Panel funding

Colchester Local Highways Panel (LHP) is set to benefit from a £1million boost which will enable a variety of small highways schemes to get underway.  Essex County Council is allocating the funding to Colchester LHP for 2015/16.

Projects will include upgrading the public footpath near Wivenhoe railway station to provide disabled access, building a new wooden bus shelter on St Ives Road in Peldon and pedestrian crossing improvements on Plume Avenue in Prettygate.

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