Minister Michael Gove said: “I think it’s perfectly sensible for people to go to an allotment. It’s in the very nature of allotments that there’s a safe distance between people who are working on an individual allotment.”
From 18th April 2020, Oxford City Council have banned bonfires on allotments for the duration of the Covid-19 emergency. It’s to avoid smoke causing problems for people with breathing difficulties, so includes fire pits, incinerators and lit BBQs (gas ones are OK).
1. Communication and staying up to date – We do not want to bombard members with emails. We aim to maintain periodic updates, and will also email any major changes but otherwise the website is the best source of up-to-date information.
Do not come on site if you or someone in your household are exhibiting symptoms. As ever, you are not allowed on other people’s plots or plot paths without their permission. In addition, we are temporarily banning access to communal areas, such as the Green and orchards.
You may not use the tracks etc for running or other exercise.
Bear in mind that others may be infected without symptoms: high risk areas are where we all touch, such as communal wheelbarrows, and especially, the gate. So protect yourself and others by using gloves and/or hand sanitiser.
Observe distancing – keep at least two metres away. You are responsible for making sure that anyone you bring onto the site is aware and complies.
3.Vehicular access and parking please minimise driving to the site and only park in one of the legitimate parking spaces. If you drive frequently and do not have mobility problems, you should park in the Walton Well Road car park to give others fair access to the few on-site spaces.
4. The Green and all communal areas are out of bounds, apart from if you need to cross them to get to your plot.
5. Working parties – monthly working parties are suspended for the next three months (April, May, June). We hope to be able to resume in July, we’ll see.
We had thought to offer one-off WP tasks to keep the site going, and count towards members’ WP commitment, but now consider this too risky.
6.Contractors on site There are a number of external contractors that we rely on to keep the site going – grass cutters, tree specialists etc, and, despite ‘DIY’ WP work, it is likely we will fall behind with plot clearance and covering, so need to bring in external contractors to help. Ours is a complex site, and difficult to be sure where you are even with a map in hand. So please, please, please, if your plot doesn’t have a number, put something up that makes it clear. Otherwise there is a good chance that those unfamiliar with the site will go onto the wrong plot – yours, or a neighbour’s – and cause damage.
7. The shop We are suspending regular Sunday opening, but you can still contact Sarah for one-off purchases – see Site & Facilities->Trading shop for details.
8. Audit – Our Audit lead, Tia, will continue to keep an eye on plots and let members know where action is needed to comply with Association rules. We have carried out a reduced Spring audit in May. We do understand that members may be unable to keep plots up to their usual standard because of illness. As ever, please keep us informed of extenuating circumstances.
9. Mutual help – Thank-you to those who have already volunteered to help others who may struggle to keep up their watering etc, because of Covid-19. Please let firstname.lastname@example.org know if you want to add your name to the list, or if you find yourself needing a helping hand because of Covid-19. Note that this will involve sharing your name and email address with others, that any arrangements you come to will be on a private and goodwill basis, and the Committee/Association takes no responsibility for work done wrong, damage caused etc.
10. Skip and Bonfires– the Committee will do its best to keep on top of skip, and other site maintenance activities. As of 18th April, we are no longer allowed to have bonfires anywhere on the site, either on plots or communally. Please keep materials for burning on your plot until the ban is ended.
11. New members – we are starting to re-open membership which had been suspended because Committee members who do the site tours are in ‘at risk’ groups and need to minimise exposure. We are starting by addressing the waiting list via 1:1 tours.
12. Committee meetings – we are suspending face-to-face Committee meetings for the next few months, subject to review. We should be able to cover most business by email and phone calls, or socially-distanced conversation on the site. So please continue to contact us about permissions and anything else, but bear in mind the ‘service’ may not be quite as slick as usual!
This advice is in line with Government rules about Covid-19 and Covid-19 advice from the National Allotment Society.
A monthly newsletter is sent to all members, and a copy is printed and put on the noticeboard by the gate.