Volunteering in Parks

Covid-19TrainingVolunteering DatabasePark Group Pledge

See also: Volunteering in Parks on BCC website >>

Volunteering and Covid-19

Updated 20th July 2021

Volunteer led group activities can now take place without restrictions on numbers.

Information from Bristol City Council:

All remaining restrictions relating to Covid-19 are lifted, but this does not mean the pandemic has ended.  Park volunteer groups must continue to integrate Covid-19 precautions into their risk assessments.  Good hygiene, maintaining ventilation or being outside, and avoiding close contact with people you don’t normally meet continue to be the best ways to stay safe and reduce spread within the community.

Individuals need to decide what level of risk they are willing to take, and many people will want to continue with precautions such as social distancing and using face coverings.  Volunteers must not be put under pressure to attend or participate in ways which they are not personally comfortable.

In line with government guidance for Step 4 of the Roadmap Covid-19 Response: Summer 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), expectations for volunteer groups are as follows:

Activities and Work Parties

  • Groups working outdoors are no longer required to social distance, but individuals may wish to maintain distance from others outside their household.
  • Small indoor areas such as tool stores still pose an increase risk and numbers sharing the space should be kept to a minimum.  We strongly recommend continuing one at a time practices where possible. Face coverings may be appropriate at individuals’ discretion.
  • Continue to wash or sanitise hands regularly, and clean tools before and after use and when passing from one volunteer to another.
  • Please do not share drinking vessels (cups/bottles/etc) outside your household.
  • We strongly recommend volunteers do not bring food to share, unless in sealed individual portions.  Hand washing before and after touching food or eating is particularly important.
  • Volunteers should not attend sessions if they are feeling unwell, or have been advised to self-isolate, and work party leaders should feel confident sending someone home if they feel it appropriate.
  • Work should still be planned to keep all major paths and access points clear such that other uses can socially distance if they wish.
  • Public open spaces may become busy, particularly during school holidays.  Groups should plan their work for quieter times and be willing to move or stop if the area becomes crowded.

Anyone supporting parks by volunteering must ensure their actions complement the site management plans (if in place) and adhere to Park Byelaws.

Group activities require a trained leader in order to be covered by the Council’s insurance.

Group Volunteering Protocol for Social Distancing

Covid-19 Risk Assessment for Community Volunteering


Friends groups can continue to plan small gatherings (e.g. simple community picnic, dawn chorus walk) but must consult with us when planning to ensure there are methods in place to record attendees and reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. We expect high usage of parks and green spaces over the summer and do not want to restrict ad hoc usage for those not attending events.

Individual Volunteering

The individual volunteering protocol below is designed to support individuals to undertake volunteering activities such as litter picking, weeding, pruning, and species monitoring/recording.

Individual Volunteering Protocol for Social Distancing

Health and Safety Training

Face to face training sessions have now resumed.

Apply for Health & Safety Training >>

Courses Currently Available >>

Request online Training >>

Many Park Group members want to improve their park by carrying out tasks such as adding planting schemes or cutting back bramble or scrub to improve sites for wildlife.

Bristol Parks encourages these efforts but needs to ensure that they are carried out safely both for those taking part and for other park users. Bristol Parks will provide training to groups and once this has been undertaken volunteers carrying out agreed tasks will be covered by Bristol City Council’s insurance.

The training means that volunteers leading guided walks have insurance cover.

Training is for 5 to 8 people on each course and Bristol Parks will put on courses as required (including for specific groups in their own areas). If you would like to attend a course please use the link at the top of this page.

Online training is also available and can be requested at any time. We follow the online version up with an in-person site visit to sign off your training

The Health & Safety Pack and forms that you will use once you have add your training can be downloaded from the Council’s website here.

Volunteering Database

As part of Bristol Parks’ move toward being more volunteer positive and celebrating the efforts of volunteers, they have set up a volunteer database where groups and individuals can sign up to and record volunteer hours.

It is important that volunteering time spent working in parks is recorded, so that everyone can see the benefits that volunteers bring.

You can sign up here:

• Step 1 – Head to http://bttr.im/hkgin and fill in the application form

• Create an account with username (email address) and password

• Make sure you use the contact details you wish us to use when contacting you about volunteering

This will give you access to all the volunteer opportunities across Bristol Parks as they carefully relaunch after Covid, as well as giving you the flexibility to record any hours you put in outside of formal group sessions.

Download the Volunteering Database ‘How To’ Guide (pdf)

Group Pledge & Charter

Bristol City Council Parks Service recognises the positive value of ‘Park Groups’ to our parks and their users. This value is at its greatest when both parties are committed to a constructive, cooperative working relationship.

This pledge is to capture the positive intention of both parties and help ensure the management and development of parks & green spaces is supported by both parties in order to do the best for the local community. It is not intended as a legal document or contract.

Groups may wish to sign the ‘Pledge’ and may find it useful in that it gives a degree of official status and sets out what both they and Bristol parks Service can expect. There is no requirement for groups to sign.

Alongside the pledge there is a ‘Bristol Parks Volunteering Charter’ that sets out how the Parks Service works with volunteers.

Parks Group Pledge (Updated June 2020)

Bristol Parks Volunteering Charter (Updated June 2020)

Bristol City Council Volunteering Policy