Your Essex - August edition

Trouble viewing? View this email in your browser.

brightly coloured beach huts overlooking the beach

Family fun in Essex this summer

School Holiday Activity Days are back!

teenage girl paddling in a kayak on a lake with a group of friends

There is still time to book an Essex Outdoors’ School Holiday Activity Day!

With a twist on the usual offer, Activity Days are tailored to make them safe and socially distanced. We'll have limited numbers in each group, we'll be supplying packed lunches and children will be asked to wash their hands frequently. The Activity Days still promise to be packed full of outdoor fun!

We're holding activities in Harlow, Danbury and Mersea and they're suitable for 8 to 16 year olds. Activities include archery, bush craft, kayaking and orienteering.

To find out more and book a place on an Activity Day, visit the Essex Outdoors website.

Learn with ACL Essex

ACL summer activity programme

Keep the children busy and get them ready for the return to school with the last three weeks of ACL Essex's free summer activities.

Each week has a new theme, features a challenge on a Monday and has a wide range of activities every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

  • 17 August: Loving Literacy Week
  • 24 August: Mindfulness and Wellbeing Week
  • 31 August: Managing Change

Find out more about the summer activity programme for the whole family on the ACL Essex website.

Explore more of Essex's Country Parks

We're challenging you to explore Essex's Country Parks this summer. Tick off activities and challenges at one park each week over the summer holidays and you'll be in with the chance of winning an Essex Explorers goody bag.

Will you take on the challenge? Visit the Explore Essex website to find out how to enter the Summer Challenge 2020.

young family with the gruffalo at thorndon country park

Silly Squad: The Summer Reading Challenge 2020

silly squad summer reading challenge logo

© Laura Ellen Anderson 2020

This year the Summer Reading Challenge is Silly Squad, a celebration of funny books, happiness and laughter.

Your child can set their own reading goals and unlock digital rewards, activities and videos as they read more. They can also play games, puzzles and quizzes to stay entertained all summer long.

You can borrow books from your local library or our free Essex e-library offers a wide variety of e-books, e-audio, and e-comics.

Join the challenge now on the Summer Reading Challenge website.

Active Essex holiday clubs to support working parents

children running in a race on a school field

There is still time to sign your child up for an Active Essex holiday club if you need help with childcare this summer.

Active Essex has partnered with major organisations around the county to support working parents and children who would normally receive free school meals. Each club will run for 5 days per week for at least four hours per day and provide a range of sport and physical activities, along with a healthy packed lunch. All activity clubs will follow government guidelines to keep children safe.

Book a holiday club for your child on the Active Essex website.

Back to school

Rethink your travel to school

Stop. Swap. GO! has launched a new information service to help you avoid gridlock on the roads when school returns.

Getting to school has helpful maps so you can find routes to walk, cycle or scoot to school and heavy traffic zones to avoid. So head on over to the Stop. Swap. GO! website to find out how you can keep moving and stay safe on the school run.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest information on getting to school.

teenagers cycling

Get ready for starting school with TLC

You might already be thinking how you can prepare your four-year-old for the start of their school journey in September.

Our Early Years team has got you covered with lots of lovely tips and ideas to help you get your child ready to start reception. Teachers, parents and early years professionals give advice on approaching the start of school. It's not about making sure your child can read or write but instead giving them the confidence and independence to be happy at school.

They also share ideas to build learning into everyday experiences such as shopping, days out or playing at home.

Visit the TLC (Talk, Listen and Cuddle) Facebook page and website to find tips, support and guidance for children starting reception in September.

Go green

Get involved with our efforts to tackle climate change and protect the local environment.

Take the Essex Plastic Pledge

Can you help protect our local environment by reducing your plastic waste this summer? More than 10,000 people have already taken the Essex Plastic Pledge but we know there's still more we can do. 

soda stream set

When you take the Essex Plastic Pledge, you'll get tips and tricks on how to cut down on single-use plastics as you enjoy summer with friends and family. If you're hosting a barbecue or a socially distanced garden party, our guidance will help make sure you're being kind to the environment.

We're also giving one lucky person who's taken the Pledge before 31 August a plastic-free SodaStream drinks set complete with four bottles, two flavoured syrups, bamboo cups and metal straws. This prize alone can save up to 1,282 single-use plastic bottles from our planet over four years!

60 Day Challenge is live!

Stop Swap Go logo

Stop. Swap. GO! has launched a challenge to encourage more walking and cycling across Essex. As the summer sets in there’s plenty of opportunity to get out and about in Essex in a healthy, more sustainable way.

Visit the website and register for the challenge where you have 60 mini tasks to complete through a downloadable app. There are weekly prizes to be won for those that take part and a grand prize of a bike and walking and cycling gear to the value of £1,000! 

Get involved on the website and follow the social pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for up to date tips.

Keep up with the Essex Forest Initiative

Back in October, we committed to planting 375,000 trees across the county over the next five years.

The first trees were planted at Great Notley Country Park by a group of community members before the planting season ended. We'll be planning more tree planting events soon, which everyone around Essex is welcome to join.

Follow the Essex Forest Initiative facebook page to join a community planting, learn more about the environment, and keep up with the Initiative's progress.

Strengthening our communities

The strength of Essex is its people. Here are a few ways you can help spread a caring spirit in your community.

Feeling lucky? Play the Essex Lottery and support good causes

A kitten being rehabilitated at the Pussycat Lodge Trust

The Essex Lottery is a weekly online lottery which supports local causes in Essex. Tickets are only £1 per week and 60p from every £1 ticket goes to local good causes. That’s double the amount of many national lotteries!

You can win free tickets as well as £25, £250, £2,000 or even a £25,000 jackpot. On top of this, you can choose to support a cause that means something to you.

Your ticket money makes a huge difference to charities like the Pussycat Lodge Trust. They rehabilitate cats and kittens like Arriet (pictured), who was handed in to an emergency vet in May with a broken leg, kidney failure and anaemia. 

Help fund a good cause close to your heart by taking part. Who will you support by playing the Essex Lottery?

Share your home and make a difference to a young person’s life

You can help to transform the life of a young person aged 16-18 by sharing your home and guiding them on their journey to independence.

When NHS worker Deborah's (pictured) two children grew up and moved out, she decided to provide supported lodgings.

“A lightbulb went off in my head when I heard about supported lodgings as it seemed like the perfect solution. I could continue to work full-time but still have a house full of love. I would be making a difference to the lives of young people who just needed a helping hand.”

Read Deborah’s story on our website.


You don't need any qualifications to provide supported lodgings, and you can have any work or marital status. We carefully match young people to your family and offer local training and 24/7 support. You'll also receive £250 per week, per young person.

Find out more about supported lodgings on our website or attend one of the virtual events; 25 August at 1pm or 27 August at 1pm. Alternatively, you can give our friendly team a call on 0800 801 530.

Back to business

Guidance for travelling to work safely

As people return to work around Essex, many are looking for the safest way to get to work, as well as more sustainable and active travel options.

The Sustainable Travel Planning Team has put together Smarter Travel for Essex: guidance on travelling to work post COVID-19. It sets out our advice for travelling to work and ways businesses and employees can stay safe while helping to get the economy moving again. It also offers links to transport operators' guidance in Essex.

Updates to our services

Please visit the coronavirus section on our website for the latest news and information about our services such as:

  • libraries
  • births, deaths and ceremonies
  • adult social care and health
  • schools and learning