Coronavirus and Common Ground

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National Council for Voluntary Organisations guidance:
Currently the advice is for most people to continue to go to work, school and other public places.
If your charity is planning events which will bring together large numbers of people, keep your plans under review. If your events depend on volunteers, be aware that some may prefer to stay home.  – 3rd March 2020

Is the camp still happening?

Yes, Woodcraft Folk and IFM-SEI remain committed to deliver a camp focused on internationalism and solidarity.

There have been no instructions from the UK government to cancel any events. The UK government anticipate moving from ‘Contain’ to ‘Delay’ shortly. This means cancelling large events to slow down the spread until the summer when there is less pressure on hospitals. A large event is considered any with 5,000 participants or more. We will be below this number. We understand that events scheduled for the coming weeks have been affected more – being postponed to June and July to delay the virus spreading. This is well before Common Ground.


There is a risk that the pre-camp will be impacted. This could mean many things but it is too early for us to say. Some scenarios: some participants maybe unable or unwilling to travel, us needing to deliver some of the event online, or us making additional arrangements for infection control during the event. We may also need to know the travel history of anyone attending. More information to follow. Please note pre-camp is a much smaller event in comparison to Common Ground, potentially around 250 people. Even if the pre-camp had to be scaled down, this would not be an insurmountable barrier to Common Ground as a project.


Our insurance company, along with the entire insurance industry, are not commiting to cover damages related to coronavirus. I think they, like us, are watching to see how the situation develops, both in terms of the virus but also the UK Government / World Health Organisation response.

We recommend all participants review their travel insurance.


The next booking deadline is the 1st of May. Pre-camp will be from the 29th-31st of May. Currently we have no intention of changing these. However we will monitor the situation closely and update you if necessary.

I’m sorry I cannot give more definitive answers. In terms of planning for Common Ground nothing will significantly change over the next 2 months, yet what we will know about the virus, its impacts and the WHO / UK government response certainly will. We will issue an updated response at the end of March.

We can see from the booking system that the groups’ and individuals’ commitment to Common Ground remains strong, and we will continue the preparations as planned.

So I hope you will forgive my request that we, for a while at least, simply wait and see. For further reading, see UK government guidance and on implications for travellers to the UK.

Blue Skies
Tom Brooks
Chair of the Common Ground Board