Posted on: June 6th 2024   •    Posted in: Community, Tenants

Grounds maintenance – meet team one

In March, we caught up with Kevin, James and Jasmine as they worked on the Howard Estate in Bury St Edmunds. Jasmine’s team covers part of Bury St Edmunds, Beck Row, Brandon, Flempton, Fornham, Mildenhall, Red Lodge, Risby and West Row.

The team meet at their depot in Ridley Road, Bury St Edmunds between 7:30 and 8 am. As the lead hand, Jasmine looks at the jobs on our system and sees the order in which they are allocated. The team then work together to make sure the trailer has everything it needs for the day’s jobs.

When on site, they’ll take a ‘before’ picture, work through their list of jobs and take another photo once they’ve finished.

Here is a little bit more about them:

Jasmine, grounds maintenance lead hand: Jasmine started her career at Havebury as a ranger in our Neighbourhood & Estates team. When this opportunity came up, she grabbed it with both hands.

“We have a great team mentality, and I learn so much from Kevin because he has worked in the industry for 20 years. James is so hands on and really brings his own innovative thoughts to the team. We all have such different backgrounds, but we get on really well, which makes the job so much more enjoyable.”

Kevin is one of our grounds maintenance operatives: He has 20 years of horticultural experience and a wealth of knowledge. Over his career, has worked for other housing associations and councils.

Grounds maintenance operatives are used to being out in all conditions, but when asked, Kevin said:

“Autumn is my favourite season, as the madness of summer is over, but there is still so much to do; it just feels calmer”. Kevin said he had received some lovely comments while out and about: “Those compliments really give you job satisfaction.”

James is another one of our grounds maintenance operatives – James previously worked for himself in the building trade. He is used to getting hands on with whatever task he is doing; although this is his first job of this kind, he has a great can-do attitude and is keen to learn more. He says he really enjoys the role:

“I get up in the morning, and I look forward to going to work. I’m really enjoying it.”

Grounds maintenance

Last year, we made the decision to deliver our grounds maintenance services ourselves. This was for a number of reasons – you told us you preferred it when our in-house teams carried out works and services, and we also wanted to have better control over the quality of this key service.

In February 2024, we launched our new team, who are now out and about in your communities. Our operations manager, Mark Leeds, has built a great team, who are making good progress in getting to know the areas they work in as well as meeting some of you.

Here is some feedback that we’ve already received from our residents.

  • “I just wanted to say thank you for cutting the shrub opposite my flat. It has made a lot
    of difference to the light I now get through my living room window. I’m very glad it was finally cut back! I look forward to seeing the difference Havebury will make.”
  • “I would like to offer thanks and appreciation to Havebury for listening to feedback and concerns regarding the inconsistencies around the previous grounds maintenance. Having taken the time to talk to your new in-house team and observe their work, I am thrilled with the outcome.”

What our service will look like in the summer

  • Grass cutting (cut & collect) – we will cut your grass and take away the cutting every three weeks.
  • Grass cutting (cut & drop) – we will cut your grass, leaving a fine layer of grass cuttings on grassy areas, which provides more nutrients for the soil every four weeks.
  • Grass cutting (rough grass) – this tends to include verges, ditch banks, field margins and other less used areas, which we will aim to cut every 12 weeks.
  • Hardstandings – these are grounds surfaced with a hard material for parking vehicles on and we will aim to attend every four weeks to tidy up any weeds, and perform general upkeep of
    the area.
  • Shrub beds & soft standings – these are designed to frame larger plants, soften the formal lines of buildings, or improve drainage in waterlogged areas, and can be barked or shingled zones. We will aim to attend every eight weeks.
  • Reactive grounds maintenance – this is anything that is reported to us by our residents or anything we see whilst out and about, that we need to do before our next round. When something is reported to us, we will aim to have the issue resolved in five working days. We’ll confirm if any follow-on appointment is required after the initial visit.

During the summer, you may see areas of grass that look a little longer, or it may look as if we have missed some parts. Don’t worry, this is not the case. We don’t like to cut wildflowers when they are flowering, as it disrupts bees and other wildlife. We’ll cut them once the season has finished.

  • Cleaning – this includes checking and cleaning bin stores, when appropriate. These will be done every four weeks, or as and when required.
  • Reactive cleaning – is anything that is reported to us by our residents or anything we see whilst out in our communities, that we need to do before our next cleaning round. This could include graffiti, bin spillages that are causing a hazard, or any fly-tips. When something is reported to us, we will aim to have the issue resolved in five working days. We’ll confirm if any follow-on appointment is required after the initial visit.
  • ‘Sharps’ removal – when we have a report of a ‘sharp’, such as a needle, weapon or glass, in any of our communities, we will aim to get this removed within 24 hours. We will aim to have a resolution as soon as reasonably practicable.

If you have an issue you would like to report

  • Log the issues via our resident app, myHavebury, by visiting
  • Email the team via
  • Call our Neighbourhood and Estates team on 0300 3300 900, choosing options 3 and 1 or enter extension number 7333 when prompted.


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