Behind the Scenes - 2018/19

Keepers
The Keepers are highly visible on the Commons as they patrol on horseback.  As well as being able to provide information to the public, a major part of their role is to enforce the Commons' Byelaws and ensure that the Commons remain a safe place for all our visitors.

From April 2018 to March 2019, the Keepers have dealt with the following number of incidents:

Cyclists 314
Dogs 167
Golf 62
Rough Sleepers 35
BBQs  30
Litter 47
Parking 29
Miscellaneous 232
Total 916

Volunteering 

Although the Conservators have a duty to maintain the Commons as "open and unenclosed" and in a "natural state", as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) a certain amount of management is required to ensure the heath and acid grassland remains as it should.  Without intervention, the Commons would soon become a large area of woodland.  Equally as importantly, with the Commons being such a popular area for visitors, we must ensure it is kept as safe as possible.

With such a small team of staff, managing the conservation work on top of the day to day maintenance is challenging.  Over the last three years our Conservation and Engagement Officer has been slowly building up a team of volunteers that help out with various tasks.  Starting with the Saturday morning Scrub Bashers, who help clear scrub from the Heath, Peter now also has an "Estates Team" that help with jobs around the site, perhaps ditch maintenance, painting the stable yard, all things that again help ease the pressure on our Maintenance team.

But there are many other types of volunteering too.  From organised groups from local schools/organisations/companies that come along for a day of team building, to individuals out with a litter stick and a carrier bag; or our wildlife volunteers that help us record the Commons' wildlife and helping out at events.


April 2018 to March 2019:

It has been another very successful year for volunteering on the Commons with 3,740 volunteer hours
contributed.

In addition to the regular scrub bashing sessions, the new estate management volunteers
have become firmly established, supporting a range of work, including painting of the Stables Yard and
woodland management work. In the autumn of 2018, following concerns raised at the Annual Open
Meeting, a litter picking volunteer scheme was launched with the Commons divided into 22 separate
zones. Some 36 volunteers are now participating in regular litter picking sessions covering 12 of these
zones.

 
Formal Presentations
Conservators and staff are often asked to make presentations to organisations such as local Residents' Associations, or local history societies.

From April to June, the following presentations have been made: 

Conservators:

By:     Diane Neil Mills, Chairman
Date:  Monday 4th June 2018  
To:      Wimbledon Common West Residents' Association AGM
Subject: Introduction and overview of the Board's priorities.

Chief Executive:

None

Other staff:

By:      Peter Haldane, Conservation and Engagement Officer, 
Date:  15th May 2018
To:      Wimbledon Guild
About: Behind the Scenes with a Wimbledon Common Ranger

By:      Peter Haldane, Conservation and Engagement Officer, 
Date:  7th June 2018
To:      Wandsworth Heritage Walk & Talk (organised by Putney Society)
About: Putney Lower Common 

From July to September, the following presentations have been made: 

By:         Simon Lee, Chief Executive, 
Date:     22nd September 
To:         West Wimbledon Society 
About:   Wimbledon and Putney Commons

From October to December, the following presentation have been made:

By:         Simon Lee, Chief Executive, 
Date:      2nd October
To:         North West Residents' Association 
About:   Commons Update

By:         Conservators and Staff
Date:     3rd December  
To:         Open Meeting 
About:   General Open Meeting

From January to March 2019, the following presentation have been made:

By:         Simon Lee, Chief Executive, 
Date:      21st March
To:         East Hill Residents' Association 
About:   Commons Update

Walks/talks
As well as formal presentations, Conservators and staff are involved in a series of walks and talks organised on the Commons, some of which are private in that they have been requested by specific organisations or schools, or public walks led by the Commons' Senior Staff either as one-off events or as part of larger events.

April to June 2018:

22nd April - Bird song walk led by a volunteer from the Wildlife & Conservation Forum (Public)
30th April  - General informal walk for a small group of visitors led by staff, Peter Haldane (Private)
13th May  - Bird Walk led by volunteers from the Wildlife & Conservation Forum (Public)
23rd May  - Keepers Stable visit by pupils & teachers from a local school (Private)
7th June   - Keepers Stable yard visit by pupils and teachers from a local school (Private)
8th June   - Keepers Stable yard visit by pupils and teachers from a local school (Private)
23rd June - BioBlitz Dragonfly and Butterfly walk led by volunteers from the Wildlife & Conservation Forum                               (Public)
24th June - BioBlitz Bird Walk led by volunteers from the Wildlife & Conservation Forum (Public)
24th June - BioBlitz General Bird Walk led by Conservators, volunteers and staff (Public)

July to September

4th July    -  Summer Evening Walk with Commons' Management Team (Public)
5th August - Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk led by volunteers from the Wildlife Conservation Forum (Public)
23rd Sept  - Bird Walk led by volunteers from the Wildlife & Conservation Forum (Public)
26th Sept  - Keepers' Stable Yard visit by pupils and teachers from a local school (Private) 
28th Sept  - Walk on the Common for members of the Banstead University of the Third Age (Private)

October to December:

3rd October - Hedgehog Talk to children on Putney Lower Common (Private)
10th October - Walk with Commons' Management Team (Public)
14th October - Autumn Bird Walk
6th November - Meet and Greet by the Keepers and horses with a local school.
11th November - Winter Bird Walk

January to March 2019

12th February – Wimbledon Guild Talk provided by P. Haldane   (Private)
12th  March – Winter Talk at the London Scottish Golf Club (Public)
20th March – Spring walk on the Commons led by members of the Senior Leadership Team (Public)
26th March -  Walking for Health 2 hour spring walk (Public)
31st March – Spring Bird Walk led by a volunteer from the Wildlife & Conservation Forum


Walking for Health - 1st April 2018 to 31 March 2019

25 one hour Walking for Health events and four two hour seasonal walks led on the Commons as part of our ongoing involvement with the national Walking for Health programme. Some 90 different individuals took part in these events and the highest attendance for a single walk was on Tuesday 5 March 2019 when 34 walkers were involved.

Visitor Feedback
From time to time we carry out surveys on either specific issues, or general visitor surveys.  Such a survey is currently being carried out and you can participate in that here: Visitor Survey.

April to June

None

July to September

A Visitor Survey is currently being carried out and between during the period July to September, 390 online responses were received and 112 paper copies.  

October to December

Ongoing Visitor Survey as above

Donations
As a registered charity, Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators, are able to fund raise and accept donations, collecting Gift Aid where appropriate. in 2017 a successful fundraising campaign raised £55,000 to pay for the restoration of the Inner Windmill Road.  This year, we are fundraising to raise money for the creation of a Wildlife Garden in front of the Ranger's Office.  The Conservators also receive donations from local organisations, for example, the Wimbledon Village Stables raised in excess of £35,000 specifically to pay for horse ride restoration, and many other clubs using the Commons also make ad hoc donations.

Donations received between April and June 2018 are as follows:

Horserides - £11,407

Wildlife Garden Appeal - £49 (only launched towards the end of June)

Donations received between July and September 2018 are as follows:

Horserides - £355.75

Wildlife Garden Appeal - £2799.14

Car Parking - £2629.05

Donations received between October and December 2018 are as follows:

TBC

Donations received between January and March 2019 are as follows:

Horserides - £1,200

Wildlife Garden Appeal - £8,104.82

Car Parking - £2,629.05

 

Formal Complaints
The Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators recently set up a formal Complaints process to deal with complaints about conduct, standard of service, action or lack of action by WPCC.

Complaints received from April to June 2018:

None.

Complaints received from July to September:

None

Complaints received from October to December:

One