Village Caretaker

The Smeeth Cluster Village Caretaker Scheme, a Joint Community Project responsible for financing and employing a full time Village Caretaker who undertakes tasks in the villages of Smeeth, Brabourne, Brook and Mersham.  Many of these tasks were previously the responsibility of Ashford Borough Council and Kent County Council.

The costs of the scheme are managed by a cross parish sub-committee. The committee maintain a 3 -year rolling financial plan which details the required funding for the scheme. For the year April 2020 to March 2021 the income is split as follows.

Ashford Borough Council = 13.94%

Kent County Council = 24.35%

Brabourne Parish Council = 19.29%

Brook Parish Council = 6.62%

Mersham Parish Council = 20.94%

Smeeth = 8.28%

Other income = 6.58%

Paul has a variety of work to undertake on a regular basis much of which is weather dependent. He is contracted to carry out maintenance work which includes regular grass cutting in places like the Warren, the Village Hall and the triangle opposite the Five Bells in Brabourne, the Ridgeway, Sandy Place, Calland and Caroland in Smeeth, the Junior Playing Field, the Village Green and the Millennium Green in Mersham and the Village Green and the recreation ground in Brook, strimming and maintaining sight lines and unmade footpaths on public land, emptying rubbish bins, additional litter picking, cleaning road signs, playground inspections at Mersham and Brook, cutting hedges, clearing up and taking away the cuttings, etc.  Although Brabourne, Mersham and Smeeth parishes employ litter pickers, Paul also does some additional litter picking and bin emptying particularly on the Warren and the Junior Playing Field if required.

There are also a variety of one-off jobs he does as well, like clearing up around the Smeeth War Memorial in preparation for VE and VJ Days, dealing with wasp nests, clearing fallen and damaged branches, pollarding trees as necessary and many other things.

Paul is provided with a van and a trailer together with an array of equipment to enable him to do his job. This must be regularly checked, serviced, maintained, and renewed, as necessary. Paul also attends courses to keep up to date with current Health and Safety Legislation, handling of equipment and chemicals etc.

His day is varied. In summer he works longer hours than in winter when the days are shorter. He can be seen around the parishes doing the various jobs that need doing. He is very approachable and friendly, always willing to have a chat – but not for too long!

If you notice anything that you feel needs addressing, please contact the Parish Clerk who will be able to advise.

We hope you will agree that the parishes have greatly benefitted by the provision of this “in-house” village infrastructure and environmental maintenance to a high standard.