It is a few years now since I have been aware of local councils appearing to panic over the danger of falling conkers and placing warning signs on some trees. One school however did go so far as to cut down a chestnut tree because of the danger, and another was reported to have banned children from playing conkers unless they wore goggles.

Restrictions on conkers probably has very little effect on most of us, but the increase of other restrictions because of health and safety or safeguarding concerns is surely being felt by all.

Understandably, the Government has brought in a variety of laws in an effort to contain the spread of the covid virus, but some of us struggle to make sense of many of them. A relative of mine lives in a tiny village with a handful of residents, none of whom have reported any symptoms. The nearest town – so called because it has a shop – is five miles away. It is now illegal for more than six villagers to stop and have a chat with each other, unless of course they all troop down to the local pub and do it there.

Many youth groups or organisations providing activities for young or old are now finding it difficult to recruit helpers because of the insistence of safeguarding training. If three families who have been neighbours for years set up a youth club for their kids, the adults have to undergo training in order to supervise their own children playing together.

An elderly friend of mine with nearly sixty years of front line experience in Christian ministry in this country and on the mission field, is having to sign up for a safeguarding training course because he has agreed to be a trustee of a local church.

I am sure that all of us are in favour of sensible health and safety precautions and safeguarding measures, but once regulations are imposed in a blanket fashion without regard for differing circumstances, it is understandable that some of us find them silly instead of sensible.

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