Our membership is hugely diverse and operates across multiple sports and sectors – and we’re listening to concerns from professionals and volunteers working in multiple environments, and across sectors. We strongly advise that all those working in the grounds industry monitor the government’s latest guidance, and frequently check the website for your relevant body. We continue discussions with Governing Bodies and the Dept for Culture Media & Sport regarding what the Covid-19 situation means for our members. Ultimately, our primary concern is protecting the safety and wellbeing of anyone and everyone across the turf care sector.
These pages share information to help you make your own informed decisions for your own personal working and volunteering situation. The situation and government guidance is changing daily so we will continuely update this information.
22 April 2020
Continuing to support our members during the Covid-19 outbreak, a statement from Geoff Webb, CEO at Grounds Management Association (GMA)
Over the course of the month, Grounds Management Association has continued to network with sports bodies and government to provide the latest guidance for the sector. Our primary focus always remains the safety, as well as the physical and mental wellbeing of anyone and everyone working in the industry.
Each working situation and environment during this challenging time is a case-by-case scenario. We have been able to get clarity from government that, for those where working from home is not possible – the case for much of those in our industry, then it is possible to resume work. However, this can only happen if you feel well and that it deemed safe (by your employer) for you to do so. It’s important to note that maintaining natural and artificial pitches should only be considered if it is essential, safe and does not conflict with current Government guidance. No one should be put at risk by carrying out any grounds maintenance work.
Government advice is changing rapidly, and we urge staff and employers to monitor the latest guidance daily. If you have any questions, contact your employer or sports body who can provide the most relevant information for your work and sector. We have produced a set of ‘safe working’ top tips for employers, relevant specifically to our sector.
We applaud the incredible key workers across the nation, as well as the those working hard to maintain the sports surfaces and green spaces that will return to being used and loved once safe to do so. We must continue to work together responsibly to play our part in slowing down the spread of Covid-19.
Our industry is crucial for sports and recreational activities, which provide positive physical and mental health benefits for many across the country. As a result, we hope that the role of grounds staff will be recognised and respected even more so going forwards.
Grounds Management Association (GMA) has also issued top tips to encourage best practice, for employers and managers in the grounds care industry.
1. Monitor official guidance daily
With the situation evolving daily, it’s worth keeping up-to-date with latest Government guidance online and the daily press statements to inform your decisions as an employer. If you’re self-employed, use the guidance to assess how you will personally work on the site.
2. Communicate regularly
With social-distancing taking place, it’s important to keep workers updated on the actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace. Ensure you have everyone’s up-to-date contact details, as well as any emergency contact details.
3. Provide clear, specific working guidelines
Those in vulnerable groups will require additional details on working guidelines for their personal situation, and if they are deemed extremely vulnerable they should be shieldedand supported to stay at home. Create a safe-working plan that outlines the do’s and don’ts based on your specific working environment. For example, this may include asking only one employee to use a room or facility at a time and providing signs in the relevant areas.
4. Maintain excellent hygiene standards
It’s important to have strict standards and make sure there are suitable facilities for everyone to wash hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water. Provide alcohol-based sanitiser for hands and to wipe down machinery. Provide tissues for staff to use, which must be disposed of afterwards.
5. Encourage responsible working at all times
Look out for others and those working around you. Make sure managers and colleagues know the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and are clear on your process. For example, reporting the sickness, the support available, and what do to if someone at the workplace becomes unwell. Keep a safe distance apart at all times.
For and on behalf of GMA
Grounds Management Association
All GMA day courses and bespoke courses are postponed until 31 July 2020. We will release further communications when this changes. Our online qualifications continue as normal.
In the meantime we are working hard to transfer many of our face to face courses to become online. Already you can do Level 1 courses online here. If you have a bit of extra time on your hands why not get in touch with us so that we know to notify you as soon as our Level 2 and Level 3 courses are also available on-line. Email learning@thegma,org or call our Learning Team 01908 552982.
The answer is yes. The GMA is a not-for-profit organistion. All the work we do is to support and improve the grounds management sector - at all levels, across many sports. Any surplus revenue we make is invested straight back into grounds management. As our membership promise declares we are comitted to 'Serving you through the seasons' to help our members to fulfil your passion to 'make sport possible'.
The financial contributions of our members are vital to our work. They enable us to support the whole sector, including non members, making representation to Government on your behalf, creating support resources for Covid-19 like these web pages and giving practical help.
We are continuing to invite members to review their membership and welcome new members to join us to support the cause. We will of course be considerate to any financial difficulties. Many of our benefits like The Groundsman Magazine will continue to be produced and we are devloping more new online resources and events.
These are challenging times for us all. First and foremost, everyone at SALTEX hopes that you, your colleagues, businesses, and your families are keeping safe and well. Recognising the challenges in front of us, we wish to assure you that planning for SALTEX 2020 continues to be in full swing.
After recent consultation with our strategic partners we are hopeful that the situation we face today will have passed and that SALTEX will take place on 4 and 5 November. We understand though that this is an evolving situation. Recent exhibitions at the NEC that were scheduled to take place this March and April have already promoted the fact that they have rescheduled for October and November this year. This provides us with added confidence to continue preparations for SALTEX 2020.
SALTEX has faced many challenges in its 74-year history and everyone associated with the exhibition – organisers, exhibitors, visitors – the groundscare industry, has always shown resilience. It is this strength and unity that defines this fantastic industry.
We are ever mindful of the government advice and guidance. We live in hope that after this period of darkness, SALTEX and the groundscare industry will be a shining light as we plan for a brighter future and return to better days ahead.
SALTEX 2020 will be a great opportunity for the industry to come together, to re-unite and to look ahead to the future. It is our hope that we can all gather as one and that SALTEX’s 75th anniversary will be the most vibrant and celebrated event in its long history.
In the meantime, we have already taken the necessary measures to ensure that our team can continue the work required to deliver SALTEX this November, while at the same time planning for every eventuality.
Of course, it is necessary to adapt to the uncertainty we are all experiencing, as government advice can change at any time. We are committed to keeping you up to date every step of the way.
Please take care of yourselves and loved ones and remember to offer extra support to those most vulnerable. Try and maintain a positive outlook and we look forward to brighter days ahead – because they will come.
If you have any questions, please email in the first instance:
Matthew Knight – firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Neale – email@example.com
Luke Perry – firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Executive Officer
The Grounds Management Association