Site News & Covid 19 Updates

Covid 19 - Updates

Covid - 19 Coronavirus Site Updates as at 13th May 2020

Our facebook page (North Bournemouth Allotment Society) is normally the most up to date way to stay in touch.   Please act responsibly - Keep Safe and be mindful that many of our neighbours are still at home all day and we ask that you comply fully with the information we have recently sent out on the use of power tools and open and closing our Main Gate.

The document below was issued by the National Allotment Society


Covid 19 Emergency Measures
March 31st, 2020 - Reviewed 13 October


What the NAS is doing to help members


The National Allotment Society is working to support plot-holders and associations so that they can continue to work their plots and manage sites in a safe and secure manner during the pandemic. We are all living through a crisis, the likes of which the country has not experienced since war time. The community spirit that exists on allotment sites is now vitally important. Please remember to look out for one another during these very difficult times.


Although there has been a significant drop in transmission and deaths from Covid 19, infections have begun to rise again and plot-holders need to follow the government guidelines that come in to force on the 14 October. This is a constantly changing situation and we will review this page on a regular basis.


Please remember to carry on using social distancing and taking hygiene precautions when visiting the site and touching communal surfaces. Plot-holders over 70 years of age, regardless of general health are particularly vulnerable. It may feel safe on an allotment site but there are still risks.


HANDS: FACE: SPACE and no more than 6 people to gather in a group.


IMPORTANT - The advice below needs to be read in conjunction with any Regional Guidance introduced by the government that further restricts activity in local areas.


NAS Q & A  On Allotments and Social Distancing


Protect yourself and your family


Covid -19 - The virus that causes COVID 19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.  Some droplets are too heavy to hang in the air and they quickly fall and contaminate floors and surfaces. Other smaller airborne particles can remain in the air for some time. You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of a person who has Convid-19- hence the 2m social distancing requirement, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.


Can I still work my allotment during the Covid19 lockdown?
Yes, allotments are a great way of both getting exercise and obtaining food during this crisis.


Can I visit the allotment with my family and friends?
Please check with your allotment authority (council or association) about visiting the plot with family and/or friends, access to the site will vary due to localised restrictions under regional lockdown rules.


How can I ensure my family’s and everyone else’s safety at the plot?


Do not attend the plot if you have coronavirus symptoms or a family member is self-isolating, this includes people who need to isolate after returning from holidays abroad.


Take a flask of hot water, soap and paper towels to the plot with you (cold water will work too).


Use hand sanitiser (should be 60% alcohol content) before entering the site and opening any gate locks.


Wash hands for at least 20 seconds after closing the lock, dry with a paper towel
The most effective part of hand washing is the drying using preferably paper towel to remove the layer of dead skin scales - on which virus and bacteria sit. Paper towel to compost heap.


DO NOT touch your face after using anything that has been touched by other people- use an elbow to work the push taps.


Wash your hands again for 20 seconds, dry with a paper towel before opening and closing the lock to leave the site - Use hand sanitiser after closing the lock.


Wash hands when you get home.


Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2 metres
If you take your children to the plot, ensure that they stay within its confines and do not run around on communal paths and spaces.


Do not share tools


Do not wash your hands in water troughs


I am self-isolating  and cannot go to the allotment and worried about losing my plot, what should I do?


Please make sure that you inform your Council Allotment Officer or Allotment Association that you are unable to visit the site, preferably in writing, so that they can make allowances for your situation.


What changes should Allotment Associations make to site management?

 
Pin up information about social distancing and hygiene on a notice board or the gate.


If you do wish to bring someone to assist with work on the plot, please ensure that that this is notified either to the Secretary or Site Manager so that they can authorise and are aware of who is on site.   It is essential that no un-authorised people are allowed onto the plots for the duration of this emergency. Careful consideration should be given to introducing anyone over 70, those with underlying illness or pregnant women.


Risk 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, equipment, taps, and gate locks. Click Here for further guidance and a link to the government advice around cleaning in non-healthcare settings.


Gatherings 


Community Activities can resume but reasonable steps must be taken to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance, taking in to consideration the  restriction tier for the area and including  the completion of a risk assessment. Group activities must be restricted to 6 or less members.


The government advises that you must continue to follow strict social distancing guidelines when you are with anyone not in your household or your support bubble. 


All communal facilities including toilets should remain closed. The Society's view is that most allotment association's do not have the capacity to fulfill the necessary requirements to safely open and clean site toilets or communal buildings.


Communal Water Points many sites will have communal taps and water troughs, the use of which could potentially spread the disease. The water supply itself is chlorinated https://www.wessexwater.co.uk/coronavirus. 


Toilets - the Society's view is that most allotment association's do not have the capacity to fulfill the necessary requirements to safely open and clean site toilets, especially as most are compost toilets with no running water and where bleach/disinfectant should not be introduced to the system. We would also question whether it is reasonable for an association to ask volunteers to carry out this risky activity. Public Toilets that are open are subject to regular (more than once a day) deep cleans by operatives in disposable PPE and are closely supervised.


AGMs are right at the heart of member democratic control in co-ops and community businesses. We also know that because of COVID-19 and social distancing, our members have faced a number of dilemmas regarding how and when to hold their AGMs.


The Government has confirmed that co-operative and community benefit societies, in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, are covered by legislation that provides businesses with greater flexibility in how and when they hold their Annual General Meetings (AGMs), or any other General Meetings (GMs) until the end of 2020.


Back in March the government announced it would be legislating to give companies greater flexibility in how they approach AGMs and GMs in 2020. Co-op UK worked with government to ensure legislation was extended to societies in a useful way.
The legislation gives societies legal certainty and comfort if they need to breach their rules, and usual good co-operative practice, by:


•    Holding their AGMs and GMs in ways that restrict in-person participation
•    Holding their AGMs and GMs with online participation
•    Delaying their AGMs and GMs


The legislation will initially provided this period of legal certainty and comfort up to the end of September 2020. Government has now confirmed that legislation has been extended to the end of December 2020, for societies in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and may be reviewed again. The legislation will also apply retrospectively from 26 March, so any AGMs and GMs societies held from that date onwards are covered.


Contact natsoc@nsalg.org.uk for further information and support.