Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust – Entrepreneurs Challenge

Can You Take on the Entrepreneurs Challenge?

Are you a secret entrepreneur? Have you got what it takes to turn £500 into £5,000? Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) is looking for five secret entrepreneurs to take part in a brand new fundraising initiative; the Entrepreneurs Challenge sponsored by Medical Aviation Services.

The Charity will be investing £500 in five local entrepreneurs with the best and most creative fundraising ideas to turn that money into £5,000. From all the candidates that apply, ten will be shortlisted to pitch their idea in front of the EHAAT Guardians. The panel consists of Jane Gurney, CEO of Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, Simon Stevens, Director of Symbian Print and Fiona Colwell, Partner and Head of Civil Litigation Department at Paul Robinson Solicitors and John Higgs, Legal and Contract Specialist of Medical Aviation Services.

After a grilling by the EHAAT Guardians the top 4 candidates will be selected to receive the £500 investment and the 5th candidate will be chosen via a public vote. Videos of all 10 pitches will be broadcast on You Tube for the public to view and then vote for their favourite. The top five candidates then have 3 months to turn their £500 into £5,000 (or more!) with the support of a mentor.

Wendy Marcon-Knightley, Sponsorship & Events Manager at Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, said: “We are very excited about this brand new initiative and hope the high fliers of Essex & Hertfordshire will relish the opportunity to take on the challenge! We are really looking forward to seeing what inventive ideas people come up with! The Entrepreneurs Challenge would not be able to go ahead without our sponsors. A big thank you to headline sponsors Medical Aviation Services and our candidate sponsors Anglia Ruskin University, E Hobbs (Farms) Ltd, RP2 and James Hallam Insurance.”

If you think you have what it takes then register now to receive your application pack! Simply visit or email Deadline for applications is Friday 22nd May 2015.

Photograph: ‘The EHAAT Guardians’ L-R: Fiona Colwell, Simon Stevens and Jane Gurney

Fostering with Brighter Futures Foster Care

Welcome to our first Brighter Futures Foster Care blog of 2015.

Well, we began the New Year as we left 2014, with a national shortage of approximately 8,000 foster families. When we started Brighter Futures Foster Care some seven years ago, it was our shared vision to develop a child-centred service which would attract people who wanted to develop their commitment, parenting skills and love for children into a skilled and professional approach to parenting somebody else’s children.
I was reminded of why we wanted to run a service such as ours when at one of our three panto’s I met with some of the fantastic children and young people, their Foster Parents, families and family friends. A great time to share smiles and laughter, even if a bit of the action is ‘behind you’!
A few comments from young care leavers puts it all into perspective; such as:
‘If I cannot be with my own family, then I want the opportunity to experience family life, and be cared for by people who provide a nice place to live and are there for me, to listen to my problems and help me sort them out, just like my Foster Parents’
And also:
‘My Foster Parents gave me a little grasp of a different way of life…I was very lucky to live there’.
Foster Parents really do make a difference, even, as in your own family, it does not always feel so at the time.
We are lucky enough to be attracting some great new people to our experienced, wonderful Foster Parent workforce. We are about to launch our new training and support plan to give our Foster Parents the chance to develop their specialist skills.
We’re looking to recruit more Foster Parents across Essex, so it would be great to hear from you or anyone you know who may be interested in fostering. We can also arrange for a chat with one of our experienced Foster Parents, or alternatively we have some planned open days and events. Attending one of these will give you the chance to ask the questions face to face with staff and Foster Parents. Please do get in touch with us and we can let you know the dates and venues of these events nearest to you.
So, please this year, if you are not one of our great Foster Parents already, make 2015 the year that you explore the possibility of really making a lasting difference and think about fostering.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Foster Parent with Brighter Futures Foster Care, please get in touch; we’d love to hear from you. Our phone number is 01992 800 078, or you can email Our Facebook page can be found at

Mumsnet Essex visits The Shard for Halloween

Myself and two of my children were invited by Cadbury UK to visit The Shard in London for the Halloween event.

Our visit was Thursday 30th October.

My daughters spotted the building before me and I was meant to be looking for it. I should have just looked up towards the sky.


Entering the building, you are met by friendly, helpful staff who direct you where to go.

Lift 1 takes you to floor 33 in a very short time. Lift 2 takes you to floor 68 equally as fast as the first lift. (6 metres a second). The rides are smooth and you feel very safe. However be prepared for some disorientation and possible ear blocking as you leave the second lift.

Floor 68 has a viewing platform and you can really see for miles. Iconic sights such as the London Eye are easy to spot. We also managed to view the amazing poppies at The Tower of London.



We then took the stairs to level 72. Our first view on this level was of the huge Cadbury’s Halloween Spider Web which took up almost one side of the Shard. The children on the level seemed to be quite interested in the web.


This level is slightly open roofed and was a little breezy when we visited. Whilst I would have liked to have looked around the platform my daughters were actually quite scared because of this so we had to go back down to level 68.

After a while we went back down in the two lifts (again not so good for the ears). The exit is through the Gift Shop which is to be expected. Again the staff were very helpful.

I would recommend a visit to The Shard. The numbers are limited so you are not rushed and can view for as long as you wish. I found the children visiting at the same time as us were interested although I am not sure how long the attention span of a younger child would last for.

The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street, London SE1 9SG.

Recycle for Count the Kicks


Six of Essex’s residents are collecting other peoples’ rubbish and helping to turn it into much needed for funds for UK Pregnancy Charity Count the Kicks.

Count the Kicks runs a recycling scheme across the UK collecting baby wipe packets, baby food pouches, Tassimo coffee pods, sweet biscuit wrappers, used stamps, cleaning product waste, printer ink cartridges, clothes and shoes. The recycled goods are turned into funds which go back to the charity.

Count The Kicks is one of the UK’s leading pregnancy charities which aims to drastically reduce the number of families that experience the tragedy of still birth in the UK which currently stands at 17 babies every day. By educating expectant mums on the importance of monitoring their baby’s movements, the charity aim to help to cut this number by at least a third and help expectant mothers have more healthy pregnancies.

Tracy, from Harlow said:
“We are volunteer recyclers for Count the Kicks, so we collect recycling regionally within the Essex area. Count the Kicks has recycling volunteers across the country and we really want to raise awareness of our scheme and encourage people to donate these items to us which would otherwise go to landfill, so that they can be recycled and the money can go to such a good cause.”

Just one packet of empty wet wipes could fund one leaflet with information for an expectant mother.

If you would like further information on Count The Kicks, there is a wealth of information on their website and Facebook pages: or

The six Essex collectors are as follows, please contact them direct if you would like more information:

Tracy covering Harlow –

Sally covering Colchester –

Becca covering Braintree –

Emily covering Basildon –

Sarah covering Canvey Island –

Kelly covering Leigh on Sea –

The Pride of Essex Awards 2014

Pride of Essex Awards


The Pride of Essex Awards recognises and rewards the achievements and the courage of adults and children who overcome adversity and who make a difference to the lives of others and to the community.

If you know a child or adult who has overcome adversity or just given their best for the community, or a group which has made an outstanding achievement, you can nominate them for an award by going to the Pride of Essex Awards website

There are four categories. Each category will have four highly commended as well as an award winner. All will receive acknowledgements and rewards.

The Directa Ultimate Award and the Susie Cornell Award recognise and reward adults and children who have overcome adversity. The Blue Strawberry Unsung Hero Award recognises and rewards exceptional care in the community.  The SL Caravans Community Champion Award recognises outstanding community achievement and fundraising.

The awards are now open to receive nominations which can be made either online or by post to  ‘P.O.E ‘ , c/o Directa UK Ltd, Cold Norton, Essex CM3 6UA.

For further information contact awards chairman Dave Dennison on  01621 828882 or email

The Essex Baby Show, 23rd November 2014.


The Essex Baby Show is Essex’s leading pregnancy and parenting event, attracting thousands of visitors across Essex.

A unique family-friendly shopping and advice experience, the show features thousands of products and over 75 brands and the opportunity to hear from and meet some of the UK’s top parenting experts.

From pushchairs to nursery ideas, maternity fashion to healthcare, our experts are on hand to help you make the right choice for your growing family.

Essex Baby Show highlights for 2014 include:

⦁ FREE workshops from Wonder Weeks and Birthing 4 Blokes
⦁ Beautiful Baby Photo Competition sponsored by Fisher Price
⦁ Massive Prize Draw sponsored by Mothercare
⦁ Expert Information and Advice from a wide range of parenting and pregnancy experts
⦁ Superb Shopping with lots of exclusive show offers

** 40% off advanced tickets **

Book Now  at
and quote EMEBS14

For more details:

We look forward to seeing you at the Biggest and Brightest Baby Show in Essex!



Countdown to the 15th Essex Air Ambulance Motorcycle Run & Harwich Family Festival

This Sunday, 7th September is the 15th annual Essex Air Ambulance Motorcycle Run & Harwich Family Festival sponsored by Woodland Group and Jack Lilley Motorcycles. Everything is now in place for the Charity’s biggest annual event with some fantastic new entertainment in store!

This year, for the very first time The Imps, Britain’s largest motorcycle display team will be performing at Dunton. With the youngest member of the team just 5 years old, The Imps really are unique and deliver a highly disciplined spectacular show with complex cross-overs and visually stunning pyramids. On Sunday, they will be giving two special half hour performances at 9:15am and 10:45 am and with a new layout at Dunton this year the crowds will be able to see much more than ever before!

Bikers are asked to ride safely on the day and pay attention to the new road layout on the approach to Dunton. Participants will leave Ford Dunton Technical Centre from 11am and make their way to historic Harwich following a route approved by Essex Police down the A127 to the A130 and on to the A12 and finally the A120. Bikers will be greeted by local dignitaries and VIP’s including the Mayor of Harwich and event sponsors as they cross the finish line which will be marked by a specially branded Ford Tourneo Custom courtesy of Ford Motor Company.

All motorcyclists that have pre-registered to take part in the event will be entered into a prize draw to win £2,000 worth of motorcycle kit sponsored by Devitt Insurance. Plus for the very first time there is a runner’s up prize of Iconic Lewis Leathers Triumph Jacket worth £700 donated by Jack Lilley Motorcycles. Those who have pre-registered should keep the special number on their pre-paid sticker and be at the Harwich Family Festival to hear the prize draw live on stage.

Online pre-registration is now closed but the Essex Air Ambulance Team will be at Great Bentley on Wednesday evening at the weekly biker meet for any last minute registrations. Bikers are still free to turn up on the day and pay at the gate..

As well as the star pre-reg and runner up prizes up for grabs there will also be a chance to bid for some fantastic ‘money can’t buy’ items in a live auction on the stage at Harwich including some amazing Motorcycle Run goodies signed by Moto GP riders such as Valentino Rossi and Scott Redding. Plus, a one-off and unique green Motorcycle Run t-shirt and helmet signed by World Superbikes World champion Tom Sykes.

Follow us on Facebook and take part in our ‘Where’s Wendy’ competition to win more goodies signed by Moto GP riders. In the lead up to the event ‘Wendy’ the Ford Tourneo Custom will be at various locations across the county to promote the Motorcycle Run. Every day a photo of ‘Wendy’ will be posted up on the Essex Air Ambulance Facebook page and supporters are invited to guess where the vehicle is from the photo and to submit their answer by commenting on the page. All correct answers throughout the competition will be put into a draw and a winner will be selected at random.