Sustainable Grounds mAintenance
This is a list of everything we do at the moment aside from the standard maintenance work, that is a given e.g. grass cutting, hedge trimming, herbicide control, etc.etc. It puts down on paper the stuff we do and what Clapton Park estate is becoming well known for.
So the list that follows is all about improving and using the green space for wildlife and most importantly for the people that live there.
Here’s what we do now:
0. Key grounds fundamentals
0.0 People come first, through ongoing sensitive resident consultation provide grounds people love and want, with the wildlife carefully integrated
0.1 Use seasonal plants, so the grounds bring ever-changing interest throughout the year
0.2 Mix showy colourful plants with delicate native flowers, for a strong display and invertebrate supporting habitat
0.3 Use food plants to engage, interest and feed both people and wildlife
0.4 Use native trees and plants wherever there's a good option, for wildlife benefits
0.5 Provide growing opportunities for residents, and encourage and support their involvement
0.6 Pursue ongoing grounds development opportunities wherever possible throughout the estate
0.7 Publicise and promote the estate green spaces
1. Working with residents - chatting
1.1 Always make time to chat to residents while working on the estate. It’s the best and most important part of the contract!
1.2 Use these chats to change the green space to suit the residents that live there
1.3 New: Observation - sometimes its clear from resident actions what they'd like, eg signs of wanting to grow in an area or use it recreationally, try to adapt the space for that purpose.
1.4 Happy to also feedback any other non green space issues to the housing office, drain blocked, residents thoughts
1.5 Learn from these informal meets to tailor future funding and promotional work
1.6 Attend regular meets with the TMO board
1.7 Inform and liaise with the TMO board with bi-monthly meet and monthly newsletter
1.8 Encourage and attempt to set up a resident growing volunteer group. Some residents will passionately want to get involved. This can be a rewarding and valuable source of maintenance assistance.
1.9 Set up and run a greenday each year to promote the estate and get the community out into the estate and sharing ideas
2. Design and landscaping
2.1 To stimulate ever positively evolving grounds; new design and planting ideas are encouraged, in discussion with the TMO or resident group. Smaller pilot tests are useful to demonstrate the change, and guage resident opinion, before spreading widely.
2.2 Re-landscaping by external specialists; the grounds maintenance team should be closely involved with design discussions to give their knowledge of the site and resident preferences, and ensure they can maintain it so the project is long-term sustainable.
2.3 New: Phasing in changes over time can be helpful, so residents get have the chance to get used to and understand the benefits, and aren't put off by a sudden change
3. External funding for the estate
3.1 This unique maintenance style makes funding easier to get. It is important for funders to know their projects will be maintained for the future and that there will still be a community involvement
3.2 Helping with fund raising, including sourcing links to suitable funders
3.3 Helping with form filling, text and images.
3.4 Working with the TMO to secure larger funding opportunities
4. Helping residents build new gardens/growing spaces.
4.1 Devote time, energy and expertise to help build new gardens and growing spaces
4.2 Using GM vans/lorries to delivery materials and tools to make the funding stretch further
4.3 Making sure the future maintenance of the new space is relevant and appropriate to residents needs
4.4 Always look to find underused green space to site new food growing and/or community gardens.
4.5 Devote time and budget money to help food growers with advice, compost, seeds, plants and water.
4.6 Maintain the area around the food growing to make sure non food growers are happy and the space looks good.
4.7 Try to widen the food growing into cooking and other community events
4.8 Help with the setting up and running of the allotment waiting lists and growers agreement.
4.9 Work to hand the above over to housing office/resident group
5. Promoting the Estate, creating good publicity
5.1 Using social media to promote and publicise the green space and events
5.2 Helping set up and run ‘green days’ on the estate.
5.3 Using talks and conferences to spread the ideas and work of the Clapton Park Estate
5.4 Sharing ideas with other estates to spread the word. Welcome other interested groups to the estate and show them around the estate and meet the residents and TMO.
5.5 Creating good links with the media (local paper,radio, tv ) and use the green space to pull in interest and articles about the work and residents.
5.6 Fixing relevant signage around the estate to explain the ideas and inform residents.
5.7 Using the through routes and bus stops to get the message out to non-residents who travel through the estate
5.8 Give away seed mixes used on the estate to residents and other visitors to encourage their use and of course promote the estate
5.9 Join and work with local groups including the Local biodiversity action group, using this to also promote the estate more widely.
6.0 Improving the biodiversity/food growing on the estate.
6.1 Use fruit trees, fruit bushes and native trees and shrubs as the default planting. Ensuring some public food for this and future generations
6.2 Try and use Heritage and or local varieties of fruit.
6.3 Add information boards with the new planting especially to inform residents the food is for all to use.
6.4 Plant herb beds open for all to use based on varieties residents prefer. Mint and Thyme being 2 in particular
6.5 Work to add planting based on the local Biodiversity action plan, where appropriate
6.6 Reduce herbicide use by using high nectar/pollen annuals along railing edges and other spaces traditionally sprayed
6.7 All planting to have wildlife/nectar food plant value without loosing the aesthetic. A mix of native/non native works well.
6.8 Add other habitat including bee hotels and log stacks/piles. Try to use waste from tree work on the estate for this.
6.9 Get creative with the grass cutting; choose lawn areas to leave and flower. These have to be chosen carefully and cut when they start to look untidy to keep an aesthetic.
6.10 Work to create areas of native wild flowers and try to manage with a light touch. Again this needs to be very carefully chosen with the help of residents.
6.11 Monitor and highlight and sighting of bird/moth/bee that might be of interest and record these for future reference to evidence some of this work.
6.12 Use coppicing techniques to reduce the constant ‘trimming' of shrubs. This helps to reduce disturbance to wildlife, fuel use and allow larger shrub/tree species to be use in smaller spaces.
7. Other strategies
7.1 Reduce dog fouling using good quality maintenance/info boards and wider resident use. Example - planting spaced fruit trees on unused grass sections can be transformative.
7.2 Herbicide / weedkilling contract: use the control of the weedkilling contract to avoid the conflict of herbicide use on wild flowers and help reduce the use of herbicide
7.3 Grow lawn bulbs for colour and to introduce meadow areas
7.4 Mow paths and border strips in meadow areas to demonstrate they're cared for
7.5 Reduce the need for weeding by growing plants in beds which fill it and over grow any weeds
7.6 Setup onsite composting sites. Done carefully these can save time, money and delivery air pollution compared with offsite disposal
7.7 New: Grow climbers where possible to soften the built infrastructure