Communication with our community has been overdue primarily as a consequence of the rapidly changing circumstances caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
For safety reasons, the Parish Council offices have been closed to the visiting public and other facilities in the park have been shut. However, despite this, the work of the Parish Council has continued.
The staff have adapted to the changing circumstances, often working extra hours than normal. They have been working from home AND on a rota basis in the Parish Office, responding to numerous phone calls and emails, dealing with contractors and continuing with the ongoing administrative and practical tasks that are still required. Risk assessments have had to be done and strict cleaning of the office by staff takes place to keep everyone safe under the Covid regime.
Due to the pandemic, the Clerk and his staff have had to digest and apply the ever changing and often confusing guidance being sent out by the Government in order to try and keep the community safe. This applies particularly to the areas of the Park, the Burial Ground and the Allotments which are owned and managed by the Parish Council.
As soon as contractors were allowed to get back to work, the progress on the new play areas in Adastra Park was overseen by the Clerk. Progressing the play areas has been a priority of the Council with the aim being to have the new play equipment in use for the summer holidays. We know eager youngsters find it hard to wait, but given the challenges faced, we are pleased that the delay has been minimal. You might notice that some parts of the equipment have already had to be taped off due to new Covid-19 safety guidance. This will be a temporary measure.
The Groundsperson has kept working throughout, maintaining the park and emptying bins which have been overflowing mainly due to more picnicking. Nevertheless, it has been a joy to see so many people of all ages having picnics, meeting up, and enjoying the Garden of Remembrance, and the skate park.
With some relaxation on the rules for leisure activities the social club, tennis club, bowls club, as well as football, cricket and stoolball clubs have all been communicating with office staff about reopening or starting their activities. Each club has liaised with staff to ensure that adequate safety measures are put in place and that risk assessments are provided before restarting.
Finally, Council meetings have still taken place via virtual Zoom meetings so that Councillors continue to receive reports and updates and to make decisions, whilst keeping an overview of finances and staff resources.
We hope that the community, whilst enjoying the park and any facilities, continues to stay safe, keeping social distance even in the open air, taking on board any safety notices, taking their litter home if the bins are full, and dog owners responsibly ensuring no dog waste is left to spoil others’ enjoyment of the park and the pavements of Hassocks.
As you are already aware, things could change rapidly again if our health is seen as at greater risk in the future. We will try to keep you informed of any changes via our website www.hassocks-pc.gov.uk, Facebook, Twitter and notices in the Parish office window and the Rotunda in the village.
Chair of Policy, Resources and Communications
3 August 2020
Grounds and Environment Committee