Winstred Hundred Parish Council

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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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PC Agenda 12th January 2016

WINSTRED HUNDRED PARISH COUNCIL
Peldon   Great Wigborough   Little Wigborough   Salcott   Virley
Website: www.winstred100.org

A meeting of Winstred Hundred Parish Council will be held at Abbotts Hall Farm, Great Wigborough at 7.30pm on Tuesday 12th January 2016.

Apologies for absence:

Minutes of the last meeting

Zone Wardens Report

Borough and County Councillors

Public-Have Your Say

Declarations of Interest

Items for Discussion

 1    Precept/Grant 2016/2017

  • To consider  last year’s finances and our requirements for the next financial year
  • Decision required: Taking into account a further reduction of grants from CBC how much do we feel is necessary to carry out the same standard of services?

2    Playgrounds and Playing Fields

  • Reports on both play areas and fields
  • Any work completed or ongoing including Community Group work on Moss Hay
  • Decision required: Is there anything that needs immediate attention?

3    Bradwell – Local Community Liaison Council (LCLC) Meetings

  • Discuss the PC’s view on this topic for our representative (Bob) to take on board when  attending future meetings

4    Emails to the PC on a variety of random subjects

  • Discuss how we should deal with them
  • Decision required: Who, what and how will take anything further?

5    Planning Comments Process – final draft

6    Neighbourhood Watch – report

7    NALC Model Code – Media Policy

  • Discuss all wording and decide if this is appropriate for us
  •  Decision required: Do we adopt this in its entirety or with some alterations?

8    Actions and Reminders List – update including website information

Correspondence:

  • Environment Agency – Latest proposals for Virley Brook
  • ECC Highways – List of highways maintenance works on local roads
  • Natural England – Improvements to public access along Essex coast
  • EALC – New Audit Scheme – some clarification still to come

Planning Applications:

152799 Proposal: Erection of detached one and a half storey 4 bedroom dwelling with single storey utility room and garage, landscaping and access at Salcot Cottages, The Street, Salcott

Planning Decisions:

152363 Proposal: Insertion of windows and doors into existing garage structure, with alterations and ground floor extension to provide ancillary accommodation for dependent relatives – resubmission of application no. 15111 at Bucklands, Copt Hall Lane, Little Wigborough – Refused
152318 Proposal: Vehicle access to and from highway at The Bungalow, Mersea Road, Peldon – Approve conditional

Finances:

101863 R S Pullen – Clerk’s January salary£375.65
101864 David J Kingaby – website management£444.96
101865 David J Kingaby – urgent migration£270.90

The next meeting will be on Tues 9th February 2016 at 7.30pm at Peldon Village Hall

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PAWS December – Xmas at The Fox

Christmas at The Fox 1Christmas at The Fox 2 Christmas at The Fox 3

PAWS December – Xmas at The Fox

36 members arrived at The Fox on Mersea Island on Tuesday 8th December for the PAWS Christmas Meal.  Those who could not attend missed a treat!  There was lots of laughter and chat, with everyone enjoying the chance to relax and talk to other members.  The room was decorated for the occasion and the tables were very festive.  We had a quiz with lots of banter as to who had the correct answer, particularly as to how many points a snowflake has.  Everyone had a silly present from the lucky dip but the balloons proved to be a bit of a challenge with no one succeeding in blowing one up!  All agreed that we had a super evening.  Hope you enjoyed spending your Debenhams voucher! Jane.

Our next meeting is on the 12th January, 2016 (earlier than normal due to the pantomime) and our speaker will be Michael Benning & his topic “Barney’s Bobbies” – ‘Barney’ was Michael Benning’s  first Sergeant and the talk is an amusing and lighthearted look at the changes and differences in policing from the 1960s to the present day with some barely believable Sgt Barney ‘war stories’ and policing anecdotes.

Visitors are welcome at a cost of £5.00.  Details of all our meetings and speakers can be found on the diary of the home page of the Winstred 100 website.  If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring either of the following committee members: Alice Holmes 01206 735510 or Jane Anderson 01206 735505.

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Trees for Years 2016

Red Stem Dogwood, available in Trees for Years 2016

Red Stem Dogwood, on the 2016 list

Trees for Years 2016

Returning for it’s tenth year, Colchester Borough Council have 2016 free trees and fruit bushes to give away in its popular Trees for Years giveaway.  The free plants are available to Colchester Borough residents, community groups and parish councils. Residents can collect up to three plants per household and up to 15 per community group, school or parish council.

Species available this year are:

  • Raspberry Canes.
  • Gooseberry Bush.
  • Acer campestre – Field Maple.
  • Betulapendula – Silver Birch.
  • Cornusalba ‘Siberica’ – Red Stem Dogwood.
  • Cornusstolonifera ‘Flaviramea’ – Yellow Stem Dogwood.
  • Blackcurrant Canes.
  • Forsythia x intermedia ‘Spectabilis’.
  • Prunuspadus – Bird Cherry.
  • Corylusavellana – Hazel Cob Nut.​

If you are unsure about which plants would be suitable for your garden, members of the Parks Department will be available to give advice on which plants would be suitable for different size gardens.  There will also be a useful pamphlet giving care guidelines, the following is for the 2015 event which has some of this years plants as well:

The 2016 bare root trees and fruit bushes will be available on a first come first served basis.

Trees must be planted on private property. Postcodes will be recorded to monitor the distribution.

The event takes place on Saturday 30 January, from 10am to 1pm, in the car park of Colchester Borough Council’s offices at Rowan House, in Sheepen Road, Colchester.

Trees for Years has previously been funded through sponsorship by OfficeIS, but CBC are looking for new sponsors for future years.

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R&B/Jazz Musical Delight

Jackie Rawe

Jackie Rawe

Crissy Lee, Jazz and R&B drummer

Crissy Lee

R&B/Jazz Musical Delight

If R&B or Jazz rocks your boat then you are in for a treat at the Peldon Village Hall on Friday 15th January 2016.

Organised by the Peldon Village Hall Management Committee, The Crissy Lee Quartet will be playing between 8-11pm with tickets available for just £10.  As well as Crissy Lee, who is widely acclaimed as being the UK and Europe’s finest female drummer, the evening will also feature Jackie Rawe, former Shakatak member, who has also supported stars such as Suzi Quatro, Sheena Easton & Imagination.  There will also be a licensed bar.

To book tickets, please call 01206 735510 or 735505 or email [email protected].  You are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.

 

 

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England Coast Path Comes to Winstred 100

England Coast Path - Salcott to Jaywick

England Coast Path – Salcott to Jaywick

England Coast Path Comes to Winstred Hundred

Natural England has recently started to look at how access to the Essex coast can be improved as part of the England Coast Path Project.   This project will create a new long-distance trail that, once completed, will allow people to walk around the whole of the English coast.  Once complete, the England Coast Path will bring significant benefits to the coastal economy, providing a vital lifeline for local businesses such as shops, hotels and pubs.

Work has recently started to extend the path along the Essex coast from Burnham-on-Crouch to Manningtree and the project team are now in the process of talking to those who may be affected by the stretch between Salcott and Jaywick which, it is hoped, could be open by the summer of 2018.  There will be opportunities to attend a number of drop-in sessions and anybody interested in the project is invited to attend any of these events:

Colne Estuary near Brightlingsea

Colne Estuary near Brightlingsea

  • East Mersea Village Hall, East Road, East Mersea, CO5 8TQ
    Wednesday 24/02/2016
    14:00 – 18:00
  • Fingringhoe Village Hall, South Green Rd, Fingringhoe, CO5 7BH
    Saturday 27/02/2016
    9.30 – 12:30
  • Peldon Village Hall, Church Road, Peldon, CO5 7PT
    Thursday 03/03/2016
    14:00 – 18:00
  • Tollesbury Community Centre, East Street, Tollesbury, CM9 8QD
    Tuesday 08/03/2016
    16:30 – 20:00
  • Mersea Centre, 38a High Street, West Mersea, CO5 8QA
    Friday 11/03/2016
    14:00 – 18:00

To find out more about the project check out the leaflet below or visit their website:

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Parish Safety Volunteers

Parish Safety VolunteerParish Safety Volunteers

Essex Police and Essex County Fire & Rescue Service are working together to help make a difference in local communities, helping people to live & feel safer.  They are launching a brand new volunteer scheme and are looking to recruit two Parish Safety Volunteers per Parish in Essex, tasked with arranging and conducting home safety visits.  These volunteers will deliver crucial fire and crime prevention advice, extensive knowledge of local support services and the ability to fit smoke detectors directly into the homes of those most in need.

If you’re interested, you’ll need to apply for interview and be required to undertake Essex Police vetting. You will receive comprehensive training from both Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police, a full uniform and all equipment required to carry out the role. To ensure volunteers are well supported, Parish Safety Volunteers from across the county will be invited to on-going training and networking opportunities throughout the year.

Scheme Information

1. What is the purpose of the Parish Safety Volunteer Scheme?

The purpose of this initiative is to make local communities safer, more resilient and better protected from fire and crime. It will do this by:

  • Reducing accidental dwelling fires in the parishes in which Parish Safety Volunteers operate.
  • Reducing burglaries in the parishes in which Parish Safety Volunteers operate.
  • Making people feel safer in the parishes in which Parish Safety Volunteers operate.

2. Why are Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service working together on this?

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service alongside Essex Police have a joint desire to increase community resilience and support the building of stronger communities in Essex.

2. What will Parish Safety Volunteers deliver in their Parishes?

Parish Safety Volunteers will be required to…

  • Conduct Parish Safety Visits and deliver Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service approved advice and support.
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of what support is already offered in the Parish and be able to signpost accordingly.
  • Be able to fit smoke detectors in the homes of local residents.
  • Participate in activities in order to generate Parish Safety Visits and promote awareness of the scheme in their Parish.

4. What else will Parish Safety Volunteers be expected to do whilst volunteering?

Parish Safety Volunteers will be expected to…

  • Liaise with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service in order to arrange visits and confirm volunteering availability.
  • Keep and maintain the Parish Safety Volunteer equipment provided by Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
  • Attend Parish Safety Volunteer group information, training, review and update sessions
  • Complete the paperwork required of Parish Safety Volunteers and return it within the agreed timeframe.
  • Adhere to the policies, expectations and procedures required by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police at all times.

5. How will Parish Safety Volunteers find individuals requiring a visit?

Referrals will be generated by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police, through the processes already used by the organisations to arrange home safety visits.

Referrals will also be generated by Parish Safety Volunteers themselves, as they will be promoting the service and already have some local knowledge of areas and individuals that would benefit from a PSV visit.

6. How will Parish Safety Volunteers interact with the Parish Council?

Parish Safety Volunteers will not require co-ordination or management from Parish Councils as Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will provide all support needed.

However, we will set up a direct line of communication between Parish Safety Volunteers and Parish Councils. This could mean that volunteers attend Parish Council Meetings to update on progress and activity. It could also mean a telephone or email update from volunteers. This will be a local arrangement tailored to the needs of the Parish Council in question and established when the scheme is introduced to the Parish.

7. How will Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police keep Parish Councils updated on the PSV Scheme?

ECFRS will send a bi-monthly progress update to all Parish Councils for whom the Parish Safety Co-ordinator holds contact details. This will be sent on approximately the final day of the month.

8. How will we know what impact the Parish Safety Volunteers have on their Parish?

The Parish Safety Volunteer Co-ordinator will carry out a robust evaluation of the PSV scheme. This will be completed in by October 2016.

9. Key Contact

Parish Safety Volunteer Co-ordinator: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service – Kieron Moir.

No: 01376 576237

Interested?

Please complete an application form, or get in touch using [email protected].

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PC Minutes 8th December 2015

WINSTRED HUNDRED PARISH COUNCIL

Peldon   Great Wigborough   Little Wigborough   Salcott   Virley

Website: www.winstred100.org

Draft minutes of the meeting of Winstred Hundred Parish Council held at Salcott Village Hall at 7.30pm on Tuesday 8th December 2015

Present: Liz Davidson, Jinny Gale, Lynne Simmons, Phil Gladwin, Netty Knill-Jones, Andrew Ellis and one member of the public

Apologies for absence: Bob Holmes, Nicky Ellis, John Walker, Robert Davidson, Kevin Bentley

Minutes of the last meeting were agreed by all and signed by the chairman

Zone Wardens Report: None received

Borough Councillor: Both pot holes and the dipped road either side of the bridge in Mill Lane will be looked into.  All missing road signs will be followed up yet again.

Public-Have Your Say: None

Declarations of Interest: None

Items for Discussion

1.   Neighbourhood Watch:  Having received a small interest the people concerned will be given the information from the representative who attended our meeting to follow up further if they so wish.

2.   Playgrounds and Playing Fields:  The Community Group has carried out some really excellent clearance work on Moss Hay and will be coming again to finish. Peldon Village Hall is needed for these workers and a charge at normal rate will follow.  The footpath is looking much better as a result and refurbishment is thought not be necessary for the time being. Costing for the renewal of Salcott playground fencing is still being investigated.

3.   Salcott Flooding:  Following much correspondence and a meeting with the Environment Agency they have effectively said there is no problem.  Clearing the creek is the responsibility of neighbouring landowners who must inform the Environment Agency before carrying out any such works. The Parish Council has written to Colchester Borough Council requesting that they take into account our thoughts and concerns on this matter when constructing the new Local Plan. Having brought this to the attention of all appropriate bodies the Parish Council has explored all avenues on this matter and feels that it is unable to do any more at this time.

4.   Total Transport Project/FutureGov:  The Parish Council had previously organized a shopping bus for residents who do not have their own means of transport but this was not sufficiently used. Fortunately some people are frequently helped out by kind hearted neighbours. A scheme providing tokens for taxis for people unable to get to doctors’ appointments etc. used to be available and will be looked into to see if it or something similar is still on-going.

5.   Bus Timetable Changes/Transportation Meeting Representative:  Although the bus timetable alterations and lack of reasonable notification were considered extremely inconvenient for some people the bus companies can and do change them periodically as they feel fit in order to make connections with other routes. Transportation Meetings will continue to be attended by our representative where concerns can be aired.

6.   Transparency Code for Smaller Authorities:  Requirements for the Transparency Code were discussed and some aspects of this are already in place and others will be addressed shortly including that any correspondence, planning notifications or invoices that arrive after the agenda has been published and displayed will not be included until the following month. Also we are waiting for Essex Association of Local Councils to produce their model template for Data Protection.  

7.   Actions and Reminders List – updated and including that the website has suffered problems that are currently being addressed.

Planning Decisions:

152170Proposal: Living room and bedroom extension at Fourways Farm, Barnhall Road, Salcott
Refused
152121Proposal: Outline application for a proposed 3 bedroom dwelling at site adjacent Peartree Cottage, Rose Lane, Salcott – Approve conditional
152149Proposal: Erection of single dwelling and garage at Green Farm, The Street, Salcott – Approve conditional
152302Proposal: Variation of Condition 2 of Planning Permission 150866 in order to add drawing nos. 563-4 and 563-5 and omit drawing nos. GHP/HP/15/01 and GHP/HP/15/02 at Hosplant Ltd. Unit 1 – Approve conditional

Finances:

101855Business Services at CAS Ltd. – Insurance£1,102.31
101856R S Pullen – December salary£375.65
101857Society of Local Council Clerks – annual subs£69.87
101858Peldon PCC – mag entries£250.00
101859Tollesbury PCC – mag entries£70.00
101860Mr B Gooding – play insp£30.00
101861T Simmons – play insp£30.00
101862R Davidson & Son – Moss Hay grass cuts x 8£432.00

The next meeting will be on Tues 12th January 2016 at 7.30pm at Abbotts Hall Farm, Great Wigborough

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Crime Prevention Update

essex-policeNovember 2015 Crime Prevention Update

Quite a few bits of advice from Essex Police this month so a handy link list to find what might interest you:

ChristFather-Christmasmas Tips

With the Christmas holiday season almost upon us, now is a good time to remind ourselves to take steps to make sure our Christmas isn’t spoiled by criminals.

It creates opportunities for criminals.   The hustle and bustle of town centres as we rush around, the value of the goods we buy as presents and store in our homes until the big day. We might also be more trusting and generous at Christmas when requests for charity are made, giving the unscrupulous a chance to collect for their own causes.

So what can we do?

The advice below is often common sense, but you might overlook it in your haste to get everything ready.

Out Shopping

When the shops are crowded, the pickpocket has more chance to steal from you. If you can’t arrange to shop during less busy times, make sure you stay alert and be extra careful with your wallet or purse. When carrying  many bags, you will be too busy trying to hold on to these to be aware of anyone stealing from you. You could try to make smaller shopping trips rather than do it all at once and carry too much. Have your purse/wallet close to your body and don’t carry too much cash. The same applies to travelling on crowded buses or trains. If you travel by car, make sure you park in a well- lit area, lock all doors and windows and do not leave presents in view. Try not to return to your car to leave purchases in the boot before continuing with your shopping trip as thieves may well watch car parks for just such a chance. Arrange to collect heavy items from stores when you have finished all of your shopping.   Always keep your chequebook and cheque card separately and never keep a note of your pin number with any of your credit or debit cards.

If you need to use an ATM (cash machine), try to use one which is either inside a bank or store, or one that is in a well-lit area, away from nooks and crannies.  Be aware of who and what is close by, if the ATM looks as though it has been tampered with, do not use it (and report it to the Bank or store a.s.a.p.).   Never use an ATM if someone is using a mobile phone behind you, or close by. (They could be tapping your pin number into their phone memory).  It is often a safer option to use a supermarket, shop or store that offers cash-back.

At Home

Having bought all those wonderful presents, don’t make it easy for someone to steal from your home. Keep them out of sight until last thing on Christmas Eve and if you ‘hide’ or store larger items such as bicycles in the shed or outbuildings, make sure they are very secure. Now is a good time to check that you know what you have both normally (TV, Video etc) and with the extra presents you have bought. You may well find you need to check your insurance to make sure you are covered for the value of goods in your home. Take the frame numbers of new cycles and the serial numbers of new electrical equipment for future reference. Remember, empty boxes left outside advertise that you have new goods inside – dispose of packaging carefully.

If you go out for the eveningmake it look like someone is at home by turning on lamps or house lights and, the radio. Don’t leave curtains open so people can see your decorations, potential thieves can also see in. Be extra careful about locking doors and windows. As a fire precaution, don’t leave ‘Christmas lights’ on in the house whilst you are out.

If you go away for the holiday period – use an automatic timer for lights and ask a trusted neighbour to watch your home. Don’t forget to cancel newspapers and milk if you have them delivered and either redirect your mail through the Post Office or have your neighbour take mail into the house – unopened Christmas cards and mail, are a sure sign that a house is empty.

Strangers at the door – genuine delivery personnel, usually have uniforms and liveried vehicles and should not need to come into your home. Charity collectors will have identification and will not be offended if you ask to see it. If you are not sure but want to make a donation, ask whether these can be made in other ways, perhaps through a bank.

Out on the town

  • With office parties and general Christmas celebrations, pubs, restaurants and other venues are often crowded.
  • Don’t leave bags over the back of your chair and keep wallets and purses close to your body to make it more difficult for the pickpocket.
  • Busy places make it easier for the sneak thief, so be alert at all times.
  • Make prior arrangements as to how you will get home, perhaps nominating a ‘Designated Driver.’
  • Avoid any potential disturbances on the street. Stay with friends if you can.
  • Avoid the temptation to take a minicab on the street even if you are having difficulty getting a cab – it is illegal for minicabs to take passengers who have not pre-booked.

Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be back. Don’t drink too much – you could become a target for thieves.

Fire-KillsFire Kills

  • Never place candles near your Christmas tree or materials that can catch light easily.
  • Check your Christmas tree lights carry the British Safety Standard sign.
  • Test the batteries in your smoke alarm every week. Never remove them.
  • Make sure cigarettes are put out properly.
  • Make sure your family and visitors know how to escape in an emergency.
  • Most fires start in the kitchen. Avoid leaving a cooker unattended.
  • Never overload electrical sockets. Always switch Christmas lights off and unplug them before you go to bed.
  • Keep candles, lighters and matches out of children’s reach. Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Decorations can burn easily – so don’t attach them to lights or heaters.
  • Store fireworks safely:   Never go back to a lit firework and keep a bucket of water nearby.
  • Take care around open fireplaces as clothes may catch fire.
  • Take time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours this Christmas as they are at greater risk from fire.


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Car Thefts

We all do it, walk away from the car and with our back turned to the car press the button on the key to lock it, never thinking that it may not lock. Yet a simple thing like looking at the car as you press that button to get the confirmation of it locking with lights flashing, or just pulling the handle to check it is locked can prevent a lot of thefts of or from motor vehicles. Why does it not always lock, it could be fault, battery running low, user error or some individual with device to block your signal nearby. In any case Lock it, Check it and we can prevent some crimes.

If you have cars of different values, where possible park the higher value car in your garage. When parking a car on your driveway ensure it is well lit and park the lower value car in front of the higher value car, as the thieves are more likely to target high value cars and will be deterred if they can’t easily drive such a car away from the scene. Locked gates and collapsible posts on the driveway will also deter the thief.  With high value cars consider the fitting of a tracking system.

As cars become more and more advanced and rely more and more on computers to manage their systems our thieves become more technical too. To cater for both the technical and less technical thief use the locking system on your vehicle and look to the good old fashioned “Krook Lock”, steering wheel, or pedal lock to supplement it, it has a great visual deterrent.

Lastly before you turn in for the night check that all doors, ground floor windows and easily accessible windows are closed and locked. PVCu doors – don’t forget that the door is not fully locked until you have lifted the inside handle and turned the key. If you have an intruder alarm and can do so activate the downstairs zone. To stop the burglar getting to the vulnerable windows and doors to the rear ensure that side gates are closed and locked.

Please also ensure that you put your car keys somewhere safe and out of sight, when you return home. Put your car keys in a drawer (preferably one that is noisy to open) or some other secure place, but don’t take them up to the bedroom with you.

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Car Park Thefts

There is an increase in items being stolen from cars in car parks at this time of year whilst drivers are distracted loading purchases into their vehicles.

When you have finished your shopping please:

  • If you are on your own or need to leave your vehicle, perhaps to return a trolley, lock your car and  try to keep it in sight.
  • Do not leave handbags, laptops or mobile phones on the seat at any time even when loading your boot or just returning your trolley. Keep your car door locked when travelling slowly through car parks, in traffic queues or at traffic lights.
  • Keep high value items covered or in your boot out of sight. Boxes of cigarettes are particularly desirable due to their high value and ease of resale.
  • Remove all high value items from your vehicle immediately when you get to your destination.
  • Please always be aware of who is around you and keep safe.

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Top ten online safety tips.

Watch your back

Whenever you’re about to post something online, pause and just imagine someone in authority, someone you respect, reading that post or looking at that photo.  If that feels uncomfortable, don’t do it.

Got a nickname?

Think about using a nickname instead of your real name if you’re signing up to a microblogging site like Twitter.

Consider setting up a separate, personal email account to use with social media sites, rather than using your work, or even your main personal email. Remember, only connect to people you know.

Check your settings

Use the privacy and security settings on social media sites so that only friends and family can see your pages.

Then speak to friends and family and encourage them to tighten their privacy settings too as they could affect you.

Even if your account is locked as private, personal information you have shared with others could still be accessed through their pages.

Mother’s maiden name

Don’t use your mother’s real maiden name as a password or as a bank security answer.  It doesn’t really matter whether you use the real one so make up a name that only you know.  Just make sure you remember it.

Guard personal information

Don’t post any personal information – your address, email address or mobile number – publicly online. Just one piece of personal information could be used by a complete stranger to find out even more. If you want to include your birthday in your profile it’s safer not to actually display it publicly – providing your full date of birth makes you more vulnerable to identity fraud.

Photos and videos

Be careful about which photos and videos you share on social media sites – avoid photos of your home, work, school or places you’re associated with.  Remember, once you’ve put a picture of yourself online, other people may be able to see it and download it – it may not just be yours anymore.

Check what’s needed

Don’t give out information online simply because it’s asked for – think whether whoever is asking for it, really needs it. When you’re filling in forms online, for example to register with a website or sign up for a newsletter, always provide the minimum information possible.

Direct message if you can

It’s almost always possible to send a direct message or private message on social media platforms. If you’re having a personal chat, this is the best option to go for – unless you don’t mind sharing your conversation with millions of other users. Alternatively, send an email from a private account.

Delete old accounts

If you’ve stopped using a social media site or forum, then close your account down. There’s no point in leaving personal information out there unnecessarily.

Get anti-virus software

Make sure you have anti-virus software installed on your computer and be careful what you download or install on your computer.

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Safe internet shopping

Taken from GetSafeOnline.org
  • Ensure that any online retailer unfamiliar to you is reputable by researching them. Establish a physical address and telephone contact details. Remember that the best way to find a reputable retailer is via recommendation from a trusted source.
  • Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection than with other methods in terms of fraud, guarantees and non-delivery.
  • Double check all details of your purchase before confirming payment.
  • Do not reply to unsolicited emails from companies you don’t recognise.
  • Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in three ways:
    • There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
    • The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
    • If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.
  • Some websites will redirect you to a third-party payment service (such as WorldPay). Ensure that these sites are secure before you make your payment.
  • Do not pay for goods when using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection.
  • Safeguard and remember the password you have chosen for the extra verification services used on some websites, such as Verified by Visa.
  • When making a payment to an individual, never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts.
  • Check sellers’ privacy policy and returns policy.
  • Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.
  • Keep receipts.
  • Check credit card and bank statements carefully after shopping to ensure that the correct amount has been debited and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.
  • Where possible, check that the price listed by the retailer on your browser is the same as that quoted on other people’s browsers, to ensure you are not being monitored and overcharged.

The Risks

  • Fraud resulting from making payments over unsecured web pages.
  • Fraud resulting from making payments using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection.
  • Bogus online stores/shops – fake websites and email offers for goods and services that do not exist.
  • Buying fake goods intentionally or unintentionally – finding they are of inferior quality and also possibly funding more serious crimes in the process.
  • Losing your money when you make direct bank payments, only to find that the goods are inferior, or do not exist at all.
  • Receiving goods or services which do not match the advertiser’s description.
  • Being offered tailored prices based on information gathered by the retailer about your online shopping habits and websites visited.

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Christmas Events Around Essex

Christmas Events Around Essex

As well as activities around the local parish local there are many other Christmas events around Essex, the following are a small selection:

Xmas_Market_06Christmas at the Castle

As a seasonal treat, Colchester Castle will be opening its doors for FREE on Wednesday 9 December from 3pm. Come and soak up the Christmas atmosphere with Christmas carols, entertainment and an opportunity to meet Santa (£3.50 with gift). Capture the atmosphere with a professional festive photograph set in our specially decorated Christmas chapel.

All Aboard the Santa Special

Father Christmas waiting on the platform for his special train

12, 13, 19, 22, 20, 23 and 24 December. Epping Ongar Railway, departing from North Weald.

Mince pies, mulled wine, music and magician; juice and treats for the children as Santa makes his way through the carriages with his elves, handing out gifts to all good boys and girls.

Departures from North Weald are at 09:45, 11:25, 13:05, 14:45* & 16:25* (*excluding 24 December). Buses will depart from Epping Underground and locations in Ongar approximately 50 minutes earlier, so as to conveniently connect with these trains.

Our vintage buses will collect you from Epping or Ongar (if requested when booking) and will transport you to North Weald station, where our Santa Special trains will start. Here, adults will receive a complimentary mince pie and a glass of mulled wine, whilst children receive a juice drink and chocolate bar.

Once aboard the train, let the steam engine take the pressure; Santa will make his way through the carriages, accompanied by his elves, and hand out a gift to all the good boys and girls.  There will be live music to add to the atmosphere, and a magician to entertain the children whilst they await their journey. Maybe there will even be time for a photograph with Santa at one of the stations…

Tickets are now on sale; standard prices for adults & children have been frozen at £16 & £13 respectively, but we have a slight increase in price on our busier days for adults.  Full website details are at http://eorailway.co.uk/events/santa-specials/.

If you are interested in one of our compartments, please click here. Our compartments offer you an exclusive space away from the other passengers, where Santa will visit and present gifts by name! Limited compartments sizes are available for 6 or 8 people, and are priced at £130 & £150 respectively.

Late Night Shopping & More in Colchester

Late night shopping in Colchester is back every Wednesday in December. You can snap up all those special gifts and must-have essentials with Colchester’s fantastic mix of  big name stores and independent retailers. Plus, you can park for FREE after 3pm (at selected car parks).

Other great winter attractions in Colchester include the Winter Wonderland and Ice Rink, new this year, located in Castle Park.  You are advised to pre-book via the event’s website.

Barleylands XmasJingle All The Way at Barleylands

Every day in December to 24th December – spend a day exploring the Farm Park and joining in Christmas activities including the brand new Giant Christmas Snow Globe that you can go inside to have a picture taken.

Father Christmas will be making a one hour appearance twice a day, meeting and greeting in the Festive Barn. There’s also Christmas Crafts, Snowy Owl flying displays and free hot chocolate! Open until 1pm on Christmas Eve.

To find out more or to book your visit go to their website at http://www.barleylands.co.uk/calendar.html.

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