Following the latest Government statement on easing of health restrictions from 4th July 2020, Urban Green and the National Allotments Society (NAS) have issued updated statements regarding the ongoing situation. The overall strategy is to provide maximum safety regulations specifically for allotments which are different from open spaces, such as parks and other venues. The following guidelines are the ones which allotments across the city are being asked to follow until further notice.
Gatherings of More than 6 people are Strictly Prohibited and this includes meetings, even if social distancing can be maintained. It is Illegal to do so and anyone found to be doing so will be in breach of their tenancy.
UGN also recommend that all communal areas remain closed. Here on Moorside, we have opted that the toilets remain open for essential hand washing but anyone using the facilities must do so in line with the accepted personal health guidelines. Likewise the Moorside Shop only remains open because of a remote ‘click and collect’ service to ensure social distancing. Risk assessments have been and will continue to be carried out in these areas to ensure we are working within acceptable guidelines. Your committee is also aware of the need to undertake risk assessments and take appropriate action to reduce hazards around any areas of the site that could cause contagion e.g. communal water troughs, taps, and gate locks.
Maximum Numbers on a Plot
Family members are now permitted to visit if they live in the same household but must go directly to the plot by the most direct route and must remain on their own plot. However, there is an overall limit of 6 people on any plot at any given time, which includes the named plot holders, whether they are one or two in number (excluding children). If there are two plot holders then family members visiting must be limited to 4, or less than 4, depending upon the size of the plot. For instance if tenants have only a half plot, this maximum is limited to 4 in total including the plotholder(s) due to the close proximity of plots alongside them. This rule applies to all other paragraphs in this statement.
If there are more than 6 people living in the same household, they must split their visits so that never more than 6, including the plot holders, are on the plot at any given time, again adjusting for site and plot size.
Children must be kept within the individual plot and not allowed to run about around the site.
Plot Holders having Helpers from Outside
It is essential that no un-authorised person/s are allowed onto the site for the duration of the emergency.
If any one wishes to have a helper who is not a plot holder they will need to contact the Chair or Secretary before bringing the person on site, giving the person’s name and telephone number, particularly for contact tracing reasons. Careful consideration should be made if anyone over the age of 70 or with underlying health problems is allowed to come on site. This also applies to pregnant women.
Reducing Risk of Cross-contamination
Everyone should use hand sanitisers and/gloves when coming through the gates. Also take into account when turning taps on and off. We have already stressed that tools must not be shared. Hand washing or using sanitisers remain the most effective ways of avoiding contamination.
Social Distancing is still extremely important. When arriving or leaving please consider other people and keep your distance. Government advice still advocates the 2 metre distance with 1 metre being advisable only with extra precautions such as using a face covering.
If you have questions please contact the Chairman or Secretary in the first instance.
It is only with all your help that we can keep our allotments safe – and open to our gardeners -which we have managed so far on Moorside. Other sites across the City are still enforcing much more stringent rules, so your co-operation in keeping yourself, your families and fellow gardeners safe in what may be a long period of uncertainty, is most appreciated.
Susan Pownall Sue Johnson
SJ 29 June 2020
Visiting Newcastle's allotments
- From 13 May allotment holders can tend to their sites as much as they want, subject to any specific guidance from individual Allotment Associations. Please continue to respect social distancing guidelines by keeping two metres apart from people outside your household.
- Do also remember to carry out regular hand washing or sanitising, especially after touching shared surfaces.
- The National Allotment Society has some helpful guidance available on its website.
- You can also read government’s updated guidance on outdoor activities here.
I am sure you will be pleased to read the official announcement from Urban Green Newcastle which I have posted on our notice boards and on the website today, informing us that our City-wide allotments are to remain open. However, it is imperative we observe the official safety guidelines during this worldwide health crisis. I have set out below some pointers on how you can do that safely while enjoying your Moorside garden, benefiting yourselves and neighbours and also ensuring our allotments remain open.
Keep hand sanitizer in your shed and wash your hands regularly
Use hand sanitizer or disposable gloves when opening and closing gate locks
Observe “Social Distancing” with each other - 2-3 metres minimum. If you sneeze, cough or blow your nose, do so into a tissue and dispose of it carefully.
Do not allow children to play outside your own plots i.e in the lanes or communal areas.
Minimise the contact with each other for example no handshakes and no sharing tools.
Do not wash your hands in the water troughs. The water is now switched on and the toilets are open with both toilet paper and handwash available, although it is recommended you supply your own just in case we run out. When using the toilets, please make sure you leave them in a clean state. Volunteers are cleaning the toilets regularly but individual cleanliness is appreciated.
Stay away as much as possible from vulnerable persons such as the elderly (officially those over 70), pregnant women and those persons with underlying health conditions. If you display any symptoms of coronavirus stay at home and self-isolate for at least 14 days or until symptoms have passed.
It is essential that no un-authorised people are allowed onto the allotments and your plots during this emergency. If you wish to bring someone to work on the plot, please ensure you inform a Committee member whose details feature on the notice boards.
Stay well and stay safe.
Chairman, Moorside Allotments Association
24th March 2020.
Urban Green Newcastle is writing to all its stakeholders and partners with an update regarding the impact of coronavirus, or COVID-19, on its parks and allotments.
All 33 of our parks are open for exercise only and our allotment sites, likewise, are open for plot holders if they need to tend their plots. This can be done alone or with members of your immediate household. Gatherings of more than two people are not permitted (excluding people you live with).
To protect the health and wellbeing of our park users, and those most vulnerable to the risk of infection, all playgrounds, cafes, shops and public facilities within our parks are closed. Pets’ Corner in Jesmond Dene is also closed to the public.
We know these very local parks and open spaces are important to our residents and communities at a time when we are all being asked to spend more time at home.
We are asking everyone to use our spaces safely and responsibly. We ask all park users to follow the latest advice from Public Health England on social distancing, and to help prevent the spread of infection by catching and disposing of coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and carrying out regular hand washing and sanitising. It's important for us all to act responsibly, and be considerate of others at this time.
We are also being clear that anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should absolutely stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days. Under no circumstances should they visit our parks or any other public spaces.
If any further guidance regarding self-isolation or social distancing is released that affects the use of public parks or allotments, we will provide updates to users via our website, www.urbangreennewcastle.org, and social media channels.
To ensure our parks and allotments remain open for public use, essential maintenance work will continue, although this is at a significantly reduced level. We have a small number of staff and contractors working in the parks over the coming weeks to deliver essential improvements only. Some maintenance is being done on certain sites, and emptying of bins will continue. Grass cutting will temporarily cease. Please be assured our parks and allotments will remain safe for use by our local communities.
Many of our events due to take place over the coming weeks have been cancelled, and some of the larger events postponed until later in the year. You can find details of any changes to our events programme on our website and through social media channels.
Finally, as you will appreciate, it is also important to safeguard our staff and volunteers that work in the parks. We have initiated plans which will see more of our staff work in a more flexible way to ensure their safety. Likewise, we have postponed all volunteering sessions and asked our groups of volunteer supporters to stand down until later in the year.
We know that the need for exercise and fresh air will be important to our communities in the coming weeks, and we will continue to try and provide open access to open spaces and nature where possible.
We will closely monitor the government’s advice to ensure we are sharing the latest guidance with park users and staff. Please continue to visit our website and social media platforms for updates.
Thank you for your ongoing support at this very difficult time and do please take care.
Chief Executive Officer
Urban Green Newcastle