Nottingham Green Guardians

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An Interview with Hilary, Greenspace Development Officer

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Today we have been talking to Hilary, the Greenspace Development Officer covering Sherwood, Mapperley, Wollaton West, Lenton and Wollaton West, Dales and Nottingham Arboretum.

How long have you been a Greenspace Development Officer (GDO) at Nottingham City Council?

I’ve been working as a GDO in autumn 2021, it’s been about 15 months.

What does an average day look like for you?

Oh, well there is no average day for a Greenspace Development Officer. My time is split between managing parks and allotments. The allotment work involves handling lettings, tenancies, inspections and invoicing so the day to day work fluctuates throughout the year. Park development work is more complex and varies from the day to day of keeping the parks ticking over through immediate problem solving and urgent repairs, to planning long term investments and/or developments against budgets. There is a great variety with this job, my days can include running volunteer sessions, damage control and problem solving, handling public consultations, auditing, meeting contractors to deliver projects and applying for external funding bids.

What is your favourite thing about working in parks and open spaces?

Being able to get outside at least once a day is my favourite part of this job, what’s even better is that I get to be within one of our amazing open spaces too. Every day is very different to the last so there’s also no worry of getting bored or having a slow week!

Do you have a favourite park that you look after?

This is a tough one, I am biased towards Woodthorpe because our office is based here so I get the joy of seeing it daily and appreciating the seasonal changes. There’s also the bonus of all the cute dogs that run up to our window. I look after Highfields Park and Nottingham Arboretum too and love the heritage and history they both have. When you get to know any green space well you find something special about it.

Biggest challenge so far?                                

The diversity of the job is probably the greatest challenge. We have to keep a lot of plates spinning simultaneously to manage projects going across the whole city, which is difficult when the fluid nature of the job means an issue can appear in your inbox one morning and change up your whole week plan.

What are you looking forward to most for the coming year?

Spring and the warmer weather! I spend a lot of time outside and I can only wear so many layers without looking like the Michelin man. In all seriousness though, over the summer months we can increase our volunteer participation and I can spend more time on public sessions in the better weather and… there are plenty of ice cream vans to ‘audit’ whilst I am in parks 😊

Hilary, Greenspace Development Officer enjoying the autumnal colours

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