It is really simple to host a tree. Many of our makers host them in their front gardens, outside their house, others are using community spaces. Check out our gallery of trees for inspiration. We have a range of templates that you can use to help advertise your tree and our top tips for hosting a tree are below. We also have a Facebook group dedicated to makers and tree hosts that shares ideas, experiences and inspiration, and would encourage you to share your successes on the main Community Mask Tree page to inspire others to help the forest grow.
If the idea of hosting (and stocking) a tree seven days a week would be more than you can mange with all of life’s other demands, you may still be able to provide a mask tree to your community if you host a pop-up!When you have set-up your tree, don’t forget to add it to the map, by telling us about it here.
Will you make all masks yourself or will you recruit support in your local area? You can use the Community Mask Trees Facebook page to call out for volunteers in your area. You will need a supply of fabrics and elastic for you and to give to your local makers. Your own scraps will soon run out, so how will you access more? If you collect donations to fund this make that clear. Perhaps have a box next to the tree for elastic, cotton to be left.
It is up to you if you put masks individually in a plastic bag or hang them without bags. Some believe bags will result in less handling of mask. If you can encourage your visitors to take the mask and leave the bag it means it can be reused- so cheaper- but also saves on plastic waste in the environment. Mark size in the bag if your tree is stocking different size masks- M, W, Older Child, Younger Child perhaps. How will you indicate the mask sizes without bags?
It might be easier to have a band of people who will be happy to help you. If they can’t sew they could do the cutting or threading of elastic, or make up ‘sew your own’ packs. Helpers could also be involved also in keeping the tree tidy, renewing signs and generally advertising the tree in the community.
You can host a tree on your own land. Consider your neighbours and indeed let them know of your plans if you think it will impact on them in any way – if they complain you could be stopped from hosting a tree. You will need to check with the land owner/ local council if you want to host a tree elsewhere.You are not selling and therefore do not need a pedlar’s license. You can accept voluntary donations – but do not specify an amount and indeed these donations can be other than money- some groups have a box for food bank donations at their tree.
What to host it on
Your tree can be whatever you want it to be. It may be big or very small. Make sure it is easy to bring in when you are out or the weather is bad. Label the sizes to avoid excess handling. As to what you hang them from – the possibilities are endless!
The ethos of Community Mask Trees is that they are not for profit but the tree needs to be able to pay for itself, so you will need to ask for donations of either money or the material to make the masks. Most suggest a voluntary donation of £2 per mask. If there is surplus money where will it go? Most choose a local charity, but if people are supporting your tree, you may want to make this decision collectively.
Signage and Communication
Signage is available and you are free to edit it as you wish.
- Make it clear these cloth masks are not medical masks and set out advice for correct use of masks (signage is available where this advice has been taken from the government guidance). The most important point is that masks are not recommended for under 2’s due to the increased risk of suffocation.
- Make it clear how people can help you to make the masks- you need as much help as you can get as these will go like hot cakes. Let them know exactly what materials you would like given to you or you could end up with loads of unsuitable fabric to find a home for.
- Set up an email if you are prepared to have helpers contact you or receive requests by email- saves your personal space being overloaded.
This needs to be secure and regularly emptied. Perhaps provide envelopes to post through your door if outside your house.
You could set up a gofundme page so that the transactions can be cashless.
………and lastly you are not a slave to the tree- if it runs out of masks one day and doesn’t get more for a couple of days that doesn’t matter- just have a sign saying that you are busy making more and they will be available soon. Or just say you restock the tree every Monday for example so you don’t feel you have to be making every day. Or have a sign to inform people where their next nearest tree is.
Don’t overstock your ‘tree’.
Regularly empty your donations and check your ‘tree’.
Take your ‘tree’ in overnight and when you go out.
Community Mask Trees is a support community, not a charity or a not for profit organisation (although we do promote a not for profit ethos). The purpose of this group is to offer support if you choose to host a mask tree. As such you are individually responsible for your ‘tree’. As I understand it there is no legal requirement for liability cover but you may wish to consider the following:
- Personal liability insurance protects you and your family in the event that you are held responsible for bodily injury or property damage to a third party. Personal liability covers the legal costs or damages that you are required to pay in compensation as a result. You may have personal liability cover in you home building & contents’ insurance but you would need to check with your provider.
- If your ‘tree’ is located in a public place you almost certainly need to consider public liability insurance.
Health and Safety
Community cloth masks are not PPE – clearly communicate this! The masks are to be used in conjunction with other infection control recommendations and should be used in a safe manner. [ Have a poster showing how to use and care for your cloth mask]. Your items haven’t been tested so you cannot claim they offer any guaranteed protection. This point is clearly set out on our example signage.
Ensure people are advised on current guidance regarding appropriate use of cloth masks. Current government advice is detailed on our example signage.
Ensure your ‘tree’ (whatever form it takes) is in a good condition and stable. Don’t use broken structures, or structures not fit for purpose. Also ensure structures are positioned on stable ground and secured in place so they cannot shift and present a risk to safety.
Position your ‘tree’ to give the community safe access. In most cases I would anticipate people don’t need to enter your garden to access your tree, but if they do consider the ground they have to walk on to access the tree. Remove any obstacles so there is a clear path way to the tree and ensure no trip hazzards.
Ensure community cloth masks (and any packaging) are securely attached to your tree. Also ensure any signage is securely attached.
Covid-19: Encourage the community to wash masks before use and ask them not to try masks for size. Wash your hands after touching your tree. Regularly wipe your tree down with disinfectant if possible.
Covid-19: if you interact with members of your community at the tree be sure to adhere to the 2m social distancing advice.