Campus Stars: Grounds Team

August 12th, 2020

The Campus Stars campaign has been launched to showcase the colleagues still working on campus during the lockdown and highlight the crucial work they do.

A small number of Grounds Team staff have been working alongside the Grounds Management Team in a limited capacity during the pandemic. They have been covering all campuses and have been continuing management of the grounds and sports areas. This has involved managing waste and bin collection, maintaining ornamental areas of grassland, watering memorial trees, laying new turf at Lakeside and additional bin emptying and litter collection due to increased numbers of members of the public visiting the campuses. The team have also carried out sports pitch care and maintenance, reactive maintenance requests from the Helpdesk, road sweeping, urgent tree work and other matters relating to campus health and safety.

During lockdown, dedicated staff selected areas that would benefit from relaxed mowing to encourage a wide array of wild plant species to become established. The main entrances were prioritised for maintenance, along with the University Gardens and grass areas in halls of residence. Due to the pandemic, the award-winning bedding schemes around campus were put on hold and a decision was made to cancel all pre-arranged plant orders. In addition to this, the team had started growing plants before lockdown for the bedding schemes. Rather than these going to waste, they were used alongside stock normally held for graduation to put out a display at North entrance. As an unusual selection of plants were used, the design was very different to the usual colourful display. The design process proved challenging due to the limited quantities of stock and range of colour. Despite the challenges, the final work was impressive and the large amounts of green foliage and wide range of leaf textures received fantastic feedback from the public.

In June, the BBC visited Cripps Health Centre to cover the COVID-19 vaccine trials. This was arranged at short notice, and so at short notice the Grounds staff tidied up the area, cut the grass and maintained the borders in preparation for the filming that took place around the building and gardens.

The Grounds team have worked well together and remained adaptable in their approach, despite experiencing a strange and difficult work environment. They are now working hard to meet the challenges ahead and ensure that campus is ready for returning staff and students. The landscape may look a little different, but they hope everyone can still enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

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