In this unprecedented time of uncertainty regarding public health and safety we need to consider the implications to the work of the Thames Landscape Strategy and its commitments to volunteer events, grants and other projects planned for 2020.
At this current time the government has banned public gatherings and asks everyone work from home if at all possible; we have taken the decision to close the TLS office and work from home. We have also, along with our partners and community group friends, postponed or cancelled all up-coming meetings and gatherings for the immediate future (we will be monitoring the situation to see when we can start delivering events again and in the meantime will continue to produce a calendar for the autumn and winter)
Below is our policy for the current situation which will continue to evolve as the government rolls out its advice:
Thames Landscape Strategy Board Meetings
Executive Review Board, Officers Steering Committee, Community Advisory Group meetings are suspended in terms of face-to-face – information sharing and discussion with and between partners will continue via email, phone and video conferencing.
The Thames Landscape Strategy is a member of several partnership and strategic groups that meet throughout the year. Currently the policy for staff of many of our partner organisations is to attend external meetings remotely (email, skype etc). Several of our calendared partnership meetings have already changed to online conferencing so work on projects and planning will still be taking place.
Thames Landscape Strategy Events
We have taken the difficult decision to cancel the Thames Landscape Strategy Annual Meeting in April. This event is an important aspect of the Strategy’s calendar as it provides an opportunity for networking and updating all our friends and partners on our Action Plan. However – the advice from the government about large indoor gatherings has meant that we need to postpone at this time. In terms of TLS commitment, it is expected that we carry out at least one of these events a year and currently the anticipation is that we will be able to reschedule in the autumn. The venue and guest speakers have also agreed to this approach.
Other Upcoming Events the TLS are Scheduled to Attend
The Richmond May Fair has been postponed until the autumn. We will continue to monitor the situation regarding public and community events we were scheduled to attend in the Spring and Summer.
Thames Tide Fest in the autumn – we will continue to follow the advice and decisions of the organisers nearer the time as to whether this festival will take place or in what capacity.
Projects and Volunteering
The Thames Landscape Strategy has many commitments to volunteering and projects planned throughout this year. At this current time, group gatherings and non-essential works are cancelled. As such we have indefinitely suspended our volunteer programme. This of course leaves us in a difficult situation regarding funding and project delivery. Once the situation changes and we are in a better position to know what is possible, hopefully we will be able to re-arrange volunteer events for later in the year. We are in constant contact with the boroughs to determine what issues will need to be address once the lock down is lifted and we are spending this time working with partners and community groups on Recovery Plans.
The TLS office is closed – the team are working hard from home on continuing the work of conserving the Arcadian Thames and are available on email and mobile phone (the office phone and post is not able to be checked at this time)
Advice for Users and Local Residents of the TLS Area
Whilst it we are all still able to enjoy our local greenspaces for once a day exercise we would ask everyone to be mindful of social distancing and not to travel by car to your places of exercise or we could loose access to them entirely.
As everyone (including greenspace maintenance contractors) is limited to essential work it is very important that we also help take care of our spaces ourselves – don’t drop litter, pick up after your dog, keep dogs on leads in parks to protect wildlife and to reduce interaction with other people. With the reduction in services there is a risk of increased fly tipping, please be mindful of what you are throwing away, please also be careful what you flush down your loo to reduce the risk of blockages and pollution events (no wet wipes, cotton buds, kitchen towel, sanitary products etc).
Spend time in your garden, compost your garden waste rather than throw it away as many boroughs have reduced this collection service, and it is better for wildlife.
Finally – take care of yourselves, and see you on the other side.
THAMES LANDSCAPE STRATEGY TEAM