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An update from Urban Green Newcastle CEO, James Cross, on the use of parks and allotments during the COVID-19 pandemic

Walbottle & Throckley Dene
Walbottle & Throckley Dene

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on Sunday 10 May, in which he outlined government’s first careful steps to modify lockdown guidance, we have updated our official guidance on visiting Newcastle’s parks and allotments during the coronavirus pandemic (please see below).

Since lockdown was introduced, we’ve all been reminded how important our shared green spaces are, and I’d like to thank everyone that has helped us keep our parks and allotments open by following government’s guidance.

I’d also like to thank Urban Green Newcastle’s small team of staff, who have worked extremely hard - putting themselves at risk - to keep our parks and allotments open and accessible for everyone.

Having access to nature, wildlife and green spaces can dramatically improve both our physical and mental wellbeing. The new guidelines introduced by government mean we have the opportunity to spend more time in our parks and allotments, but it’s important we continue to do so safely and responsibly.

Please make yourself familiar with the new guidance below so we can all continue to enjoy our city’s green spaces.

Kind regards

James Cross
Urban Green Newcastle

Visiting Newcastle’s parks:

  • As of 13 May, people can exercise in our parks as much as they want, and spend time relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. Please continue to keep two metres apart from people outside your household.
  • We are beginning a trial reopening of our tennis courts with clear guidance on how to use them safely. Notices have been placed at the entrance of each court that reinforce the need for social distancing and make it clear only members of the same household, and two individuals from different households carrying out social distancing, can use the courts. We are also adding additional guidance from the Lawn Tennis Association on the use of equipment and how to stay safe on court.

    We will closely monitor the use of tennis courts and if we feel they are not being used in a way that ensures the health and wellbeing of players, park users, and Urban Green Newcastle staff, they will be closed. Please help us keep our tennis courts open by following the official guidance provided on site.

  • After conducting a range of safety and public health assessments, we have taken the decision to keep all basketball courts and mixed use games areas closed to the public. We understand this will be disappointing news to many but our absolute priority at this time is to ensure the health and wellbeing of park users. Government has advised these sites can open, but only if they can be used safely. Once we’re confident these areas pose no risk people’s safety, they will begin to reopen. Playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor gym equipment also remain closed. Further updates will be provided in the coming weeks.

  • Friends and family members can now meet up – one on one – in our parks, but please carry out social distancing.

  • We are currently reviewing how we can safely reintroduce volunteering and activities, while maintaining social distancing, and will be in touch with all our fantastic groups separately.

  • Our car parks remain open for people that need to drive to access green spaces.

  • You can read government’s updated guidance on visiting public spaces here.

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.

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