We do hope you and your loved ones are keeping well and have adjusted to circumstances in this unprecedented time.
The challenges have been great for all and significant changes have had to be made in all our personal and working lives. As we in the Parks team have adjusted to new and socially distanced ways of working we are keen to catch up with our Friends groups, when meetings are not feasible at this time, to say hello, ensure you are updated and emphasise we are still here for any concerns/queries you may have!
The Parks Client Team continue to carry out monthly Parks and Open Spaces inspections across the borough and report/highlight issues direct to Glendale. As well as daily contact we are receiving formal weekly updates from Glendale on all Parks matters. Whilst currently we are unable to attend meetings, the principles of being able to raise issues with Glendale/your representative from the Parks Team, of course, remains. We welcome communication by phone and email as normal and will endeavour to answer questions as promptly as possible
The following outlines what has been happening in recent weeks to keep our parks open and as safe and maintained as they can be, so that they continue to provide a much needed welcoming space for the health and well-being of our residents
From the initial lockdown in mid-March Glendale quickly mobilised and worked hard to keep staffing at good levels as well as adjust to safe working practices for their crews. This has ensured that overall general Grounds (Grass cutting/Weed Management) and Cleansing work has continued as best it can under the circumstances. Minor repairs to playgrounds/some infrastructure work, where supplies are available, have continued. Where there are supplier issues work will be re-scheduled as soon as materials are available again. Aside from Park Keepers, the majority of staff have been on mobile teams allowing flexibility in tackling priority work. In addition to this, overtime staffing has occurred over these recent weekends so that the Parks Patrols presence has been increased to offer a visible reassuring presence around Parks at this time.
In late March informative banners were hung at all main Parks entrances and paving stickers put in place instructing parks users on social distancing guidance.
Waffle fencing and Notices were put in place cordoning off Play areas, Ball Courts and Outdoor Exercise Equipment. Where possible some equipment, such as swings, were removed to deter usage. Incidences of vandalism/intrusion in these areas have occurred and where found these have been rectified.
As a safety priority key Glendale staff have been engaging, educating and advising parks users who have been using parks for purposes other than that currently approved e.g. gathering in groups/having picnics. The response from the vast majority has been positive and supportive. Where there have been particular hotspots of issues, such as young people breaking into and gathering in ball court/skate park areas, Glendale have been pro-actively reporting and working with the police where escalation was required.
Whilst we await updated government guidance next week we would still ask that if you still see any behaviour that you believe puts other park users at risk of contamination please report this via https://www.met.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/c19/tell-us-about-possible-breach-coronavirus-measures/ or call 101.
All reports can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 0208 318 3986.
In other news –
Green Flag Judging – Green Flag Judging is postponed and will be limited to desk-top assessments and mystery-shop judging, dependent on lifting of current restrictions.
Greening Fund – whilst the phasing of the project was progressing well prior to the lockdown there have since been supplier issues/changes in working patterns which have stalled the phasing of the work planned. Nevertheless, the following outlines what has been achieved and what work remains/is to be re-scheduled –
Phase 1 – 27 bins installed to date ; Forster Park (10), Manor Park(1), Fordham Park(3) and Eckington Gardens(8) Mayow park (1) Ladywell Fields (4).
To be installed Blythe Hill (4), Luxmore Garden (2) – bin bases are already in place ready for installation pending when restrictions are lifted. There was a delay in progressing this installation process due to the closure of Travis Perkins, hence no construction materials. However as they are now carrying out site deliveries orders have been placed and we are awaiting deliveries.
Phase 2 – May 13th 2020. 47 bins to be delivered. Delivery date was previously scheduled but had to be cancelled due to restrictions in place. Delivery will therefore take place next week.
Phase 3 – Was initially due May 2020. 35 bins scheduled to be delivered. This is the final phase but dates will be re-scheduled.
Phase 1. March 2020. 22 benches delivered and 5 installed at Baxters Fields prior to lockdown. Further installations delayed so as not to encourage prolonged bench usage at this time.
Phase 2. Expected delivery in May 2020. 22 benches to be delivered. This is yet to be confirmed due to subsequent delays.
Phase 1. March 2020 13 picnic benches delivered. 5 installed at Mayow Park, Baxter Fields (1), Luxmore Gardens (1) 6 left to be installed for this phase.
Phase : Expected delivery in May 2020 . 9 picnic tables to be delivered. Time for installation will be dependent on when the present restrictions are lifted. This may still be the case, pending confirmation.
Ongoing Project planning – Due to the present restrictions still in place we cannot be precise as to the timing of other Greening Fund items left to be installed but will keep respective groups informed as soon as this is clarified. In the meantime, where possible, contractors are continuing to install bases only for the bins/benches. A Risk Assessment/Method Statement will be requested for any construction related works (e.g. Outdoor Gym Equipment installation), which involves more than one person, to ensure current social distancing guidance is adhered to in our Parks and Open Spaces.
Lewisham Green Space Forum – we have collated all feedback from the last meeting (28th Jan) and would like to thank again all groups who attended. We will give full feedback in due course and have already found the responses very insightful and useful in guiding how we will aim to adapt and target approaches to future changes in the Parks Service.
As we are sure our Friends groups are only too aware, the current situation has highlighted to the wider public, more than ever, the great value of our Parks and Open Spaces for mental and physical well-being, particularly for the most vulnerable members of our community. We have received positive comments from the public, grateful to be able to exercise, enjoy outdoor space and interact with nature. Even if this is for very limited periods of time each day, that time spent out in the fresh air really matters.
We know that our dedicated user groups had activities planned for the Spring/Summer and how disappointing it has been to have to cancel these. We also know that very same commitment and passion will see us collectively work to find new ways to keep communities engaged in our parks and continue what you have done so well. We are grateful for your continued support and please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have.
In the meantime do keep safe and well.
Parks and Open Spaces Team