I have some excellent news!!! This afternoon I was notified by the Executive Director of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) that volunteering activities in Kings Park can resume, with a staggered approach, from June 6. The staggered approach has been deemed necessary, both as a precaution and to allow for BGPA employees to prepare for and coordinate the influx of volunteers. All volunteers will be notified early next week as to exactly when and under what conditions they can return to the Park.
In the last 2-3 weeks, in anticipation of an impending return to work in the very near future, we have provided BGPA with a COVID Volunteer Safety Plan and a Return to Work Plan for each of the various groups of Friends volunteers. We have developed specific instructions (regarding physical distancing, hygiene guidelines, and so on) for the different groups (growing friends, bushland and garden carers, orchid carers, office volunteers, Wanju Marr carers, fixing friends, climate watch friends, staff) – instructions appropriate to the particular environment in which they work and the particular tasks they perform. We have also organized different start dates for the various groups. As mentioned, BGPA has informed us that there must be a staggered return to work, with different groups returning to the Park at different times, on different dates, spread over 2-3 weeks after the start date of June 6. These instructions and start dates are being fine-tuned and, as mentioned above, you will be provided with this information early next week
The financial impact of the coronavirus on the Friends has been mitigated by the receipt of Commonwealth Government funds. Besides the JobKeeper subsidy that we have been receiving for our two employees (worth $39,000 over 6 months), we’ve recently been notified that our application for funds under the Business Cash Flow Boost scheme has been successful. This has boosted our financial position by a further $20,000. If our application to Lotterywest for financial assistance under their Event Cancellation Relief scheme is successful, we should come out of this crisis without any adverse financial impact.
Finances aside, this crisis has been an existential threat to the Friends of Kings Park. We are all looking forward to getting back into the Park over the remainder of this month and doing what the Friends of Kings Park do – growing native plants, looking after the bushland and gardens and so on. Preliminary indications are that almost all our volunteers are looking forward to returning to the Park as soon as they are able to.
I look forward to renewing acquaintances with you all in the very near future.
5 June 2020