HBUF consists of approximately 19 acres of publicly accessible mixed use land, owned by Swindon Borough Council. Within this are a diverse range of areas including:

  • Semi-mature woodland
  • Picnic area
  • Closely-mown area
  • Orchard
  • New woodland plantations
  • Wildflower and biodiversity rich areas

Aims and Objectives

Any defects/H&S issues should be reported to the Trustees at the earliest opportunity and remedial action taken as appropriate.

In outlining this new business plan it is proposed to define the key objectives under generic headlines of:

  1. Routine Maintenance and Inspections
  2. Visitor Experience
  3. Site Management
  4. Biodiversity
  5. Volunteer and Community Engagement
  6. Income Generation
  7. Learning and Development
  8. Environmental Control

Each of these will be described briefly below, followed by proposed actions in the Appendix.

1.  Routine Maintenance and Inspections

A key function of the HBUF Team is to monitor, report and action any defects, faults or issues which compromise safety of persons on the site, integrity of buildings or other features, and any issues which may adversely affect fauna and flora.

Routine Maintenance Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Annual checks Workspace maintenance Equipment maintenance Keep on-site advertising up-to-date Monitor site for H&S issues Complete checks and associated paperwork Maintain work spaces in a clean and tidy manner Maintain all equipment in good order Remove/replace advertising banners and out-of-date items in Notice Boards Carry out necessary checks following inclement weather (e.g. tree/branches, snow/ice, flooding, etc.)

2.  Visitor Experience

In dealing with difficult situations the HBUF Team should try to calm the situation, and should not put themselves in personal danger. Should they not be able to resolve this additional back-up should be sought from colleagues in the first instance, and this may then need to be escalated to a police response.

During any public events, the HBUF Team may need to perform occasional duties such as event management, First Aid, lost persons, animals re-uniting, and dealing with wildlife concerns raised by visitors. Persons doing this should ensure they have the correct training where required, follow the set out procedures where appropriate and report incidents accordingly.

Visitor Experience Litter and dog-fouling Enforce signage
  Use of site Develop additional interest for visitors
  Maintenance of facilities Undertake regular repair and replacement programme
  Signage and general appearance Ensure all signage is correct and up to date Replace missing signage
  Personal contact Actively promote HBUF Manage own time with public All HBUF members to seek to acquire First Aid training
  Educational Sessions Integrate with external organisations
  Events Provide event overview support

3.  Site Management

Key to the safety, success and future of HBUF is the general woodland/site management; the needs of all users must be balanced with the environmental, educational and financial pressures on the site. Key reference is the Business Management Plan (2019-29) which outlines many areas, and the Tree and Woodland Management Plan (separate document).

Woodland & site management Plan and replant succession trees Select and buy in suitable specimens for succession growth Implement ‘Towards 10,000 Trees’ project
  Manage existing trees Identify hazards and deal with priority concerns Follow up annual inspections Formative prune and maintain younger trees Initiate 10-year pollarding/coppicing cycle
  Manage brambles Carry out planned control of brambles
  Understand rationale for planted areas Learn background to site evolution and establish forward plan, linking to the wider area
  Grassland maintenance Manage grassland in accordance with management plan Fill in ruts and potholes in Picnic Field
  Upkeep of paths Ensure all paths are fit for purpose, where possible making them accessible for users with pushchairs and those in wheelchairs

4.  Biodiversity

The rich and varied biodiversity of the site is of paramount importance when considering any enhancements, alterations or additions to the site environments. Every effort must be made to protect existing beneficial species, whilst providing defence against detrimental species. The HBUF Team have a responsibility for protection of the natural environment, as well as education of users of the site.

Where possible an environmentally friendly approach should be taken and pro-active measures taken to encourage further development of fauna and flora within the site.

Biodiversity Wildlife habitats Manage habitats across the whole site Develop new habitat areas for specific species Encourage rarer species and key species for the site Manage invasive species
  Wildflower areas Manage existing wildflower areas Develop new areas Increase floral diversity by seed/plug introduction Manage invasive species
  Surveys and monitoring Encourage informal surveys Carry out regular formal surveys of biodiversity Work with external organisations and groups with relevant expertise Bio-blitz

5.  Volunteer and Community Engagement

The benefits of an urban site are the potentially increased opportunity for local volunteering, together with scope for corporate volunteering from local (e.g. Nationwide) and multinational businesses (e.g. Npower, Honda). Volunteering provides individuals with purpose and can improve maintenance of all aspects of the site. Management of volunteers must be done so that all legal obligations, including risk assessments, are complied with, individuals feel valued and respected, work is meaningful and any issues are addressed quickly.

Volunteer and Community Engagement Promote work with volunteers Actively promote volunteering Encourage volunteers through training Engage new volunteers Appreciate existing volunteers Develop mentor volunteers to lead groups Engage with local businesses for corporate volunteering
  Work with schools Promote our activities within schools Encourage schools to site Develop interest for schools

6.  Income Generation

Financial constraints and income targets mean this area will become increasingly important to the future success of HBUF. The current focus of income generation has been through membership and grants. Additional revenue streams need to be identified if HBUF is to become sustainable.

Income generation Increase existing income streams Investigate long-term grants Increase membership
  Develop new lines Investigate retail opportunities Consider alternative uses of resources e.g. selling wood
  Provide specialist workshops/activities Develop new workshops with added value e.g. scything course, painting, photography, hedgerow laying Work with external providers Fundraising days, festivals, fetes

7.  Learning and Development

All members of the HBUF Team are encouraged to consider their own personal development as part of the Team. Some training is available online or by colleagues . Additional training may be available from external agencies/organisations, and members wishing to undertake any professional development should discuss this with the Trustees  to seek approval if they want any or all of the cost covered, if and when funds become available.

Staff/Volunteer Development Improve skills base Undertake appropriate training Have a staff training plan with regular skills audit and gap analysis to ensure the team have the required skills
Community Development   Initiate and establish internships Investigate employment of conservation worker Establish on-site information centre in optimum position
Establish Records/Archives   Keep photographic records Take aerial photographs winter and summer

8.  Environmental Control

As part of an on-going programme to improve environmental responsibility further attempts should be made to reduce wastage, reduce emissions and energy consumption, re-use materials and increase recycling. Minimising use of chemical products and other materials impacting on the environment are also key.

Environmental Control Create green policy Improve existing recycling levels Minimise use of unsustainable products or chemicals For Trustees to delegate and approve HBUF Team Minimise chemical use.

Appendix – HBUF Team Routine Tasks

Visitor Experience Provide high levels of visitor care Clear litter and monitor dog-fouling Improve appearance (re-paint, etc) signage boards for visitors and re-instate any missing sections/covers. Support Events HBUF Team/Volunteers HBUF Team/Volunteers HBUF Team/Volunteers HBUF Team/Volunteers
Woodland Management   Monthly Feature Inspections Weekly vehicle checks (in addition to usage checks) Maintain up-to-date risk assessments, logs, etc Carry out annual tree surveys/inspections on trees General site maintenance (e.g. strimming, pruning, path maintenance) Mowing/strimming  and tree maintenance of new plantations HBUF Team HBUF Team HBUF Team Arboricultural expert HBUF Team/Volunteers HBUF Team/Volunteers
Biodiversity Regular ash dieback Inspections Visual observations of notable species Deal with invasive species HBUF Team HBUF Team/ Volunteers/ General Public HBUF Team/ Volunteers
Engage with community Run volunteer groups Participate in external events Engage with local schools HBUF Team/Volunteers HBUF Team/Volunteers HBUF Team/Volunteers
Staff/Volunteer Development Maintain professional qualifications and undertake required updates e.g. chainsaw Identify further training from internal and external sources HBUF Team/Volunteers HBUF Team/Volunteers