At this time of year let’s spend a moment thinking about the work that our volunteer Site Reps do all year round!
The Site Rep on the cities allotment sites is, as the name suggests, the plot holder’s representative. They are your Representative! Site Reps play a crucial part in managing the allotments service; they are essentially providing a degree of self management to the service. Some people seem to think that the Site Rep is actually representing the Council, but it’s actually the other way round. They are there to represent plot holders views and issues to the Council, as well as to help the Council in the management of the site. They are effectively the bridge between the two. It can be a rewarding job, but can also be quite a complex position to be in.
On the one hand you are representing the plot holders but on the other you are making sure those same plot holders are keeping to the rules and managing their plots sufficiently. It helps to remember that Site Reps are representing all of the plot holders on a site. Problems like spreading weed seeds, people hogging taps in summer or antisocial fires can be a problem for many other plot holders. So really, Site Reps are representing the interests of the plot holders as a whole.
Up until recently, the Site Reps were appointed by the Council Allotments Officer, but during the Allotment Strategy process it was decided that seeing as they were there to represent plot holders they should all actually be elected by their plot holders. This is something the BHAF committee strongly supports. We recently had to run the election process on two sites for the first time but it’s proved to be quite a complex undertaking and we have encountered some issues in administering the process.
If you are interested, you can read a statement about that on our website here.
The Site Rep role seems to have gotten a reputation for being a somewhat punitive role, but that is not what it is supposed to be. The best Site Reps are helpful and encouraging to their plot holders and have a big part to play in creating a friendly community on sites. It’s a role that requires good people skills as, in the main that is what they do; they work with and help the people they represent.
So please join us in saying thank you to all our Site Reps and wishing them and you all a very Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for next year’s growing season!