Camborne Town Council’s Amenities Technicians
By Jonny, Amenities Technician
“I’m sorry, who are you? And what is you do exactly?”
Are just two questions that we are met with on a weekly, if not daily basis as an Amenities Technicians. You yourself, may have seen us around the parish cutting the grass in the parks and green spaces, maintaining the footpaths and verges (that we manage for Cornwall Council), planting, weeding, litter picking, these are some of the ‘highly visible’ jobs we do, but in general no two days are the same and it can be hard to articulate exactly what it is that we do without reeling off a large list of jobs that give little insight as to what those jobs entail. In this piece I will try and give the reader a better understanding.
Amenity (a desirable or useful feature or facility of a building or place.)
Technician (a person skilled in a technique relevant to their trade.)
We are a group of five like minded individuals that have come together to form an effective and motivated team, but of course we have not always been ‘Amtechs’ for the town council. We have come from all walks of life and been brought together, not just to maintain but improve the future vision for the residents of our community, hence the Town Council’s motto, KEMENETH KYNSA- COMMUNITY FIRST.
You maybe surprised to know that one of our teammates has a degree in conservation, ecology and bio diversity and is our lead ecologist, another is a martial arts instructor as well as being the lead horticulturist, another having owned businesses, from plant machinery to cut flowers and is our lead on excavation and groundworks, our supervisor having been the town councils longest standing team member can often be found expanding on is knowledge during his lunch break by reading up on wild flowers and nature and is of course our team lead, and then there’s me.
There are many jobs that we do on a weekly basis that aren’t in our job descriptions or routine works programs that would have us fall into category’s that include but aren’t limited to; fabricator, carpenter, procurement, researcher, deliveries and removals and there even jobs that aren’t ours to do, that we will do for the greater good of the precept payer.
We have two main works programs that we change slightly due to the four seasons.
A ‘winter works program’ which includes the autumn and a ‘summer works program’ including the build up from spring seasons preparations.
Our main jobs entail but are again not limited to;
- Cutting grass In our 7 green spaces fields and parks some of which have multiple fields, we also conduct a visual inspection of these areas every week, reporting fly tips and antisocial behaviour, this takes up a large amount of time.
- Grass cutting of roadside verges Throughout the Parish, including the clearing of litter.
- Maintaining and cutting footpaths and bridal ways Of which the town council manages over 24miles, most of which are cut twice a year, almost doubling that figure. This includes the reporting of fly tips and clearing of litter. Dog fouling remains a huge issue for our team as people throw their poo bags into the hedges and are hit with strimmers and brush cutters leaving them vulnerable to a host of diseases when the poo bags explode and splatter in their faces, and this happens a lot! This job requires hedge cutting, brush cutting, branch management and tree inspections often making it a time-consuming job.
- Routine litter picking Of all green spaces and play areas.
- Vandalism We report, repair and replace more than we should around the parish and are in a constant battle against vandalism, we also respond to smashed glass in play areas on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, however there are some members of the public who take such pride in their areas that they will help and in some cases like Troon will clear it before we get there.
- Play equipment inspections We inspect all parish owned play equipment every week in keeping with the governing body ROSPA, maintaining it when needed within the parameters of our trained technicians.
- Inspections of the town fountain Done in the morning on a daily basis and is carried out with a visual inspection of the planters and square area. Clearing and cleaning the fountain when foamed.
- Planting From thinking up planting schemes to procurement and then to planting, the gardens team are at the heat of trying to improve the green spaces for the Parish, but it doesn’t stop there, constant weeding, replenishment of soil nutrients and clearing is an almost full time job in itself and takes time to give the park users what they deserve from their precept. We look forward to improving on the three years we have had the parks so far, but plant theft is a blight that takes away from everyone at Camborne Park but will not stop us from trying.
- Upkeep of War memorials From planting, weeding, pressure washing and in our passing the straitening up of laid respects. We take great pride in the upkeep of Camborne’s War memorials.
- Public notices Iit is also our job to place out public notices and Town Council agenda’s in all of the parishes notice boards, of which there are 9 through the parish.
- Rebuilding of Cornish hedges We also take a hands on approach to repairing Cornish hedges in our green spaces like the one at Beacon.
- Autumn leaves and Green waste clearance Every year we clear around 3+ tones of autumn leaves from Camborne park, this is a time consuming process. We also cut back plants, shrubs, bushes, trees, clear dead matter from flower beds, weeds and clear hedge cutting from designated areas. This is taken and recycled into compost.
- Ecology hub We plant trees every year to replace the ones we have lost to house building, disease, and over maturity (trees that are reaching the end of the time). We bring on wild flower margins for pollinators and cultivate nature corridors for small mammals in our green spaces to increase the diversity and encourage more nature into our parish.
- Pressure washing We clean all our street furniture every year including pressure washing the town square, fountain and granite work that the town council owns or manages.
- Refurbishment of street furniture We refurbish our benches every year, from washing, sanding and restaining our fixed benches in the street, to stripping, sanding, hand painting ends and revarnishing our park benches, street benches and picnic benches. We even order the wood and machine it in-house when they need to be completely overhauled.
- Refurbishment of street bins and notice boards We rub back and hand paint the street bins on our assets register as well as take down and do the same for our Town Council notice boards.
- Watering of the floral display every summer We start at 0600 every morning in the summer to make sure the floral displays around the town are watered and that we cause minimum disruption to the traffic on the high street. This takes an entire day to do and means that we are down to half manning for all other activities during the floral display season.
- Lantern Parade and community events We set up and put out all of the signage for the Lantern Parade every year as well as loan out, drop and collect Town Council owned cones and signage to other community events around the year in conjunction with BID Camborne and other community groups.
- Improvements Although not in our job description, and with no guidance, the team is dedicated to improving our areas, this can be a slow process and be drawn out over many weeks or months as we try to maintain all other works as well. However once established they tend to reduce to a maintenance program after the initial work is completed.
- Participation in Cornwall Council and other Government schemes We often take part in initiatives and schemes rolled out across the country to tackle issues like littering, dog fouling, fly tipping and vandalism.
- Maintaining the Passmore Edwards Building In regards to the maintenance schedule.
- Compliance inspections of safety equipment and registers For Town Council owned buildings. Fire alarms, extinguishers, fire doors etc…
- Servicing of equipment Monitor, review, carry out general maintenance and cleaning of amenity tools, machinery, vehicles, stores and supplies and request the purchase of replacement or additional items as required.
- Public facing We are on hand to answer questions from the community as best we can, in a positive, clear and concise manner.
I hope this gives the reader a better understanding of the jobs we carry out in our ‘routine works’ as Amenities technicians.
We work all year round, come rain or shine, always ready for a fast ball and strive to do it with a smile on our faces and a spring in our step. As a resident of Camborne myself I try hard to make sure the work I do is of the highest nature so when I go to the green spaces with my children we can enjoy it.