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The Hive – Home of the Community Spaces Network

South Gloucestershire Community Spaces Network

Welcome to The Hive, our Community Spaces network that support residents who volunteer to care for our public open spaces.

The formation of friends and conservation groups, made up of like-minded people has meant that our community spaces are well looked after. The spaces currently managed by our community groups vary in size and character and include play areas, pocket parks, formal parks, nature reserves and woodlands.

We appreciate the commitment made by residents.

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Monitoring and review

Through The Hive we hope to support volunteers.

One of the ways we do this is by monitoring and reviewing what they do.

We collect feedback and data on the number of hours they work, where they work and any concerns that come up on a regular basis.

If you are a volunteer, you need to record this information.

Record your volunteering

We will continue to review and update processes based on Government guidance and amend our protocol and risk assessments if necessary.

Covid-19 and volunteering

From Monday 19 July 2021 the remaining restrictions relating to Covid-19 in England are lifting, but this does not mean the pandemic has ended. Open space volunteer groups must continue to integrate sensible Covid-19 precautions into their risk assessments.

Good hygiene, maintaining ventilation or being outside, and avoiding close contact with people you don’t normally meet are the best ways to stay safe and reduce spread within the community.

Individuals need to decide what level of risk they are willing to take, and many people will want to continue with precautions such as social distancing and using face coverings. Volunteers must not be put under pressure to attend or participate in ways which they are not personally comfortable.

The situation is constantly changing, and whilst we hope there will not be a need to restrict activities again, there are no guarantees. Group activity leads will need to remain aware of the situation regarding Covid-19 as part of the risk assessment process, and check for any updates we may send out as needed. To avoid disappointment we strongly suggest groups plan activities which COULD be completed under social distancing if necessary for the immediately foreseeable future.

Download generic Covid-19 risk assessment for volunteers

We will continue to review and update processes based on government guidance and amend our procedures if necessary.

In line with government guidance for Step 4 of the roadmap, expectations for volunteer groups are as follows:

  • groups working outdoors are no longer required to social distance, but individuals may wish to maintain distance from others outside their household
  • small indoor areas such as tool stores still pose an increase risk and numbers sharing the space should be kept to a minimum. We strongly recommend continuing one at a time practices where possible. Face coverings may be appropriate at individuals’ discretion
  • continue to wash or sanitise hands regularly, and clean tools before and after use and when passing from one volunteer to another
  • do not share cups, bottles, cutlery etc. with people outside your household
  • we strongly recommend volunteers do not bring food to share, unless in sealed individual portions. Hand washing before and after touching food or eating is particularly important
  • volunteers should not attend sessions if they are feeling unwell, or have been advised to self-isolate, and work party leaders should feel confident sending someone home if they feel it appropriate
  • work should still be planned to keep all major paths and access points clear such that other uses can social distance if they wish
  • public open spaces may become busy, particularly during school holidays.  Groups should plan their work for quieter times and be willing to move or stop if the area becomes crowded
  • restrictions on the types of activities groups can do, which were put in place to avoid any ambulance call outs are now lifted. Groups can now undertake any activities listed in their volunteer agreements subject to appropriate training etc.

Events

Friends groups can continue to plan small events, but we will maintain the maximum of 30 people total (including volunteers and participants of all ages) throughout the summer holidays. This is because there is likely to be lots of visitors to our parks and green spaces over the summer and do not want to restrict space for people not attending events. This will be reviewed in September based on the public safety situation at that time.

You will need to manage event bookings to ensure that only the booked numbers attend. This can be done free (for free events) using online booking such as Eventbrite or Ticketsource.

General requirements for event planning, permission, and notification are:

  • all event communication must go to CommunitySpaces@southglos.gov.uk not to individual officers
  • guided walks or wildlife surveys with under 30 participants, which are observation-only do not require permission, but must be notified 15 working days (3 full weeks) in advance so that we are aware. Please include expected numbers and detailed location/route if possible
  • other organised events, including picnics, group activities, trail markers, interactive walks (such as foraging or wild art) and any larger events require permission which must be requested at least 15 working days (3 full weeks) in advance. We recommend letting us know earlier to allow for all details to be agreed before you advertise the event
  • events organised for the public other than guided walks and surveys require public liability insurance either held by the group or by an external activity leader if they have been brought in for the event

Volunteering events which are advertised for the public to join the Friends Group in a regular low-risk activities would not normally need notification or permission, but you must ensure a Volunteer Information Form is completed on the day and kept with the other volunteer details, even if they do not intend to come again.

Collection of waste

Contact waste.management@southglos.gov.uk before any activity which requires waste collection to discuss what is currently available, and where bags should be left for collection. Ensure any waste can be removed on the day of your volunteering activity before starting. You must use the coloured bags provided by the Waste Team to distinguish your litter from fly tipping.

Training opportunities

We will be resuming training as soon as possible with First Aid and safety courses prioritised for groups which need refreshers or additional trained volunteers. Other courses are being planned and you can contact us to express interest in principle at GreenSpace.Volunteering@southglos.gov.uk.

Free training courses usually available include:

  • First Aid (3 and 6 hour courses)
  • project leadership course including risk assessments and safe use of hand tools
  • water safety course for those working near or in water
  • operating and maintenance of brushcutters and strimmers
  • operating rechargeable electric power tools
  • working at height for those installing and maintaining bird boxes

Site specific courses may be available for your group such as coppicing, scything and orchard skills.  Conservation and ecology courses will also be available later in the year to learn more about habitat management, improving biodiversity and wildlife monitoring and surveying.

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