North Wales Wildlife Trust’s response to Coronavirus

The health and wellbeing of the public, volunteers and staff are of utmost importance to the North Wales Wildlife Trust, and we have therefore been keeping a close eye on government advice in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Update 22 April

The Trust is responding to the coronavirus outbreak in numerous ways, following government advice at all times.   Uppermost in our minds is the health and wellbeing of the public, our volunteers and our staff.   At the same time, we are paying close attention to the Trust’s financial sustainability, and so are temporarily reducing staffing and workload, and taking advantage of government financial support where we can.  

Our events programme and volunteer activities are suspended for the foreseeable future.   We will ensure that our events listings on our website are updated as frequently as possible, and hope to re-start when we can.  We’ll still be updating our social media accounts, continuing to issue Wild Weekly and sharing fun and stimulating activities for families.

Nature Reserves
Our 36 nature reserves remain open – and, if you are lucky enough to live near one, you can visit as part of your daily exercise.  During this difficult time, it is more important than ever to maintain a connection with the natural world.  Please note that you should always observe social distancing requirement and that our bird-hides are closed. 

Usually, the wildlife of our nature reserves depends heavily on the valued work of our amazing volunteers.  At the moment, we are having to cope without them, and so have a reduced team of three staff covering our sites, overseen by Chris Wynne.  We are prioritising access and safety works, dealing with anti-social behaviour, checking livestock, time-critical conservation and contract work, and critical species protection (including monitoring the ospreys just off Gors Maen Llwyd).

At Cemlyn, we have had to suspend the appointment of the intended wardens for safety reasons.  However, because of the wonderful response we had to our fundraising appeal earlier this year, we are able to re-deploy nearby staff, Dawn Wilde, Ben Stammers and Caroline BatesonTo keep everyone informed about the how the terns are doing, we will be posting a regular blog on our website along with updates on our Facebook page.

Find your local nature reserve

At the time of writing, the future of some of our major grant-funded projects  has become uncertain due to a Welsh Government freeze on grant funding and approving grant claims. This includes Wrexham Industrial Estate Living Landscape, Our River Well-being and Woodlands for Water Project (which might be halted altogether). Other projects are continuing such as Our Wild Coast and Living Seas Wales, and they are variably impacted by having to reduce activity, and we are keeping a close eye on whether they can continue in their present form.

Our core people engagement work, which employs our Community & Education Officers, cannot currently continue.  Staff are either currently furloughed, carrying out work we can do, or are re-deployed with their roles under regular review.  

Core support work in the offices has been reduced to two staff working on separate days from Bangor.  Llys Garth is not open to the public, whilst our Aberduna office is closed.  All other staff who can work from home are doing so.   Bleddyn Williams is furloughed and Bich Jones is now on maternity leave, with Sarka Timarova taking over her role.  We are therefore currently keeping a core staff to carry out people and financial management, communications and project development (to help the Trust come out of this difficult period).  All staff remain under review for furloughing depending on how the Trust’s closely-monitored finances are faring.    

Membership
Our members are more important to us now than ever.  In such turbulent times, the ongoing support of those who love wildlife is critical to help see us through this difficult time.  Last year, our Trust had the fastest-growing membership in the UK; and it is sad, but essential, that our plans to bring more people into the Trust this season are currently on hold.  As such, all our membership team are either furloughed or re-deployed.  

NWWT Trading at Breakwater and Great Orme Country Parks   
Our shops rely almost entirely on outstanding voluntary effort.  Clearly, neither can open, so we are losing income from sales, and the unique contribution of our volunteers.

Enfys Ecology
… is responding directly to the contracts available (which are currently down) and where we feel that we can work safely.  We are currently looking to furlough several staff on rotation, which will be kept under weekly review.

Wildlife Trusts Wales
Have furloughed two staff, but Rachel Sharp remains in post, working hard to keep the needs of Welsh wildlife and the Wildlife Trusts in the minds of funders and politicians.    

The Wildlife Trusts
All Trusts have been impacted immediately and significantly through having to close visitor centres, halt membership recruitment, and reduce activities, in particular events.    Almost all Trusts are furloughing staff, with at least 60% of staff expected to be furloughed across the Trusts by the end of April, rising to 80% after that. Most Trusts have closed car park and facilities around reserves, with almost half also putting up signage. Trusts have also reported back issues of vandalism on sites and members of the public not obeying social distancing guidelines.

----------

Update 17 March

In recent days, we have been evaluating the services we provide involving social contact and making informed decisions about these given the current situation we are all in.

As of Tuesday 17 March, we regret to inform you that the majority of our events programme and volunteer activities are suspended for the foreseeable future. 

We will ensure that our events listings on our website are updated as frequently as possible, and hope to re-start when we can.  Please check in regularly!  We’ll still be updating our social media accounts, continuing to issue Wild Weekly and sharing fun and stimulating activities for families.

Stay close to nature
Our 36 nature reserves remain open and provide excellent places to unwind and take in the fresh air away from crowds. During this difficult time, it is more important than ever to maintain a connection with the natural world.  Wildlife goes on, after all.

Find your local nature reserve

If you are unable to make it to a local nature reserve, then time noticing nature in your garden or other outdoor space can also help relieve stress and improve mental wellbeing. Our Five Ways to Wellbeing very much apply, even now!

Five Ways to Wellbeing  Ideas for staying connected

North Wales Wildlife Trust would not be able to carry out the important work we do for people and wildlife without our supporters and we thank you all for your continued support during these exceptional times – and wish you all well.

Stay safe, and stay wild – from all at NWWT.