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Coronavirus: latest information on our response, updates on our services and what support is available

The Hive – Home of the Community Spaces Network

Our Community Spaces network The Hive was created to help and support local residents who volunteer to care for our public open spaces.

The formation of friends and conservation groups, made up of like-minded people, has ensured our community spaces are well looked after. The spaces that are 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 and through The Hive we hope to support these volunteers.

Covid-19 and volunteering

We are really grateful to those who dedicate their time to look after our parks and green spaces.

Following recent changes to Government guidance as lockdown restrictions are eased, the council is now in a position to support those who wish to spend their time outdoors undertaking activities to help maintain and improve parks with members of their household, or one other person who must remain at least two metres away at all times. We can now support groups (including those members who are over 70) as well as individuals.

Individual volunteers can now carry out these low risk activities:

  • litter picking
  • light pruning and vegetation clearance
  • weeding
  • planting and watering trees
  • monitoring and surveying wildlife

Please adhere to your group’s lone working policy if you are going out by yourself.

New protocol and risk assessment

A new Covid-19 protocol and risk assessment for individual and group volunteers is now available and should be used in conjunction with your regular risk assessments when undertaking the activities listed above.

The documents provide guidance to help reduce any risks associated with volunteering on our opens spaces during this time including:

  • Individual volunteers should wash their hands before and after undertaking any activity in a park or green space with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available and hand washing technique to be adopted as directed by NHS.
  • Wear gardening gloves to minimise the risk of touching any contaminated surfaces. Wash them after use.
  • Individual volunteers should not commence volunteer activities when the park or green space is busy – follow the Government guidelines, if you can’t use the park or green space without adhering to social distancing, come back at another time.
  • Individual volunteers must not promote the time and place you intend to undertake any activities individually as this may cause gatherings of people which goes against the social distancing guidelines.
  • All tools and equipment should be disinfected when you start and finish using them, especially on handles / main contact areas.
  • When working alone please ensure you have a fully charged mobile phone (beware of black spots) and inform your family or friend of your plan (work location, time expected home etc).
  • Avoid working in confined spaces to minimise transmission of the virus.
  • Maintain high visibility by working in open areas where you can clearly be seen by other users.

Download our group and individual risk assessment and protocols.

Council support available to you

We can provide PPE resources such as hand sanitiser, disinfectant sprays for tools, and gloves. Please let us know your requirements by contacting and we will arrange delivery to you.

The Community Spaces Place Improvements Team is available at all times to offer advice and guidance.

For collection of waste, contact providing two days notice prior to any activity to ensure any waste collected can be removed on the day of your volunteering activity. Please consider where you leave bags to ensure collection vehicles can stop / park safely when removing waste.

Monitoring and review

Please record your hours and location worked so we can monitor how well the system is working. We will contact volunteers to collect feedback data covering the number of hours worked, locations and any issues or concerns recorded on a regular basis (at least monthly).

We will continue to review and update process based on Government guidance provided and amend out protocol and risk assessments as appropriate.

Training opportunities

We offer support by arranging free training courses including:

  • 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

There are also opportunities to attend conservation courses to learn more about habitat management including coppicing and wildlife monitoring and surveying.

Please note all training courses are currently suspended as a result of Covid-19. Courses will re-commence when guidance alllows.

Support for groups including training events are promoted through our monthly Community Spaces e-newsletter. You can subscribe to our mailing list below which opens a new browser window.

Sign up for our e-newsletter


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