Essex Wildlife Trust's latest statement on Covid-19.
We are excited to welcome you to our wonderful Nature Discovery Centres. In line with the Government’s roadmap, reduced restrictions will be in place from Monday 19 July, but we will continue to put safety first. Our duty of care to our staff, volunteers, members, and you, our visitors, remains our top priority.
Our staff and volunteers based at centres will continue to wear masks as a precautionary measure and this will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Although not enforced, we encourage you to wear your own face covering inside our centres over the coming weeks to protect our staff, volunteers, and yourself, as well as helping to minimise the further spread of Covid-19.
You can read a summary of our safety measures below.
We will continue to follow guidance set out by the Government, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Institute of Fundraising, and Public Health England, as well as The Wildlife Trusts movement. All measures are being reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep our staff, volunteers, and visitors safe.
Nature Discovery Centres
Our Nature Discovery Centres are open from 10am-5pm. With the exception of Abbotts Hall (currently closed) and Bedfords Park (closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays) all our centres are open seven days a week.
You can enjoy fantastic food and drink in our centres, as well as our shops, toilets, and other facilities. Unless closed for the purposes of restoration, our outdoor spaces, including playgrounds and bird hides, are open. If you plan to do a themed trail, please check our trail page before visiting.
What safety measure are we taking?
Our indoors spaces are also open with increased freedom of movement. However, we are retaining the following safety measures to protect our staff and visitors:
- Face Masks. Our staff and volunteers will be wearing face masks indoors. We’d encourage you to do the same, but will not be enforcing this.
- Sanitising stations. These will remain in place for everyone to use.
- Screens. These will remain in place.
- Floor signage. We will be leaving our current floor signage in place to encourage (but not enforce) distance, and in case restrictions are re-introduced.
- Indoor seating. We will be gradually returning to normal levels of capacity based on each site.
- One-way systems. We will decrease these to allow greater freedom of movement, but some sites may still have one-way systems in place.
- Events. We will be taking a cautious approach to re-introducing our events. More information will follow shortly.
- Cleaning. We will retain our current regime of deep and regular cleaning.
Test and Trace
We are continuing to take part in the Government’s Test and Trace scheme, so would ask that all members of your party either scan the NHS Test and Trace QR code or give details to a member of our team when using our indoor or outdoor seating.
Outdoor Learning events
Many of our outdoor learning activities, including drop-off days, Nature Tots, Nature Babies, home education groups, Forest School and birthday parties are running again at our Nature Discovery Centres. We will continue to reintroduce our programme of activities and events over the summer. Visit our events page for a full list of upcoming events and to book your place.
Events will continue to be planned on the basis of making them Covid-safe. This may happen in a number of ways, including limiting group size and ensuring personal space. Our Outdoor Learning staff are being encouraged to do lateral flow testing twice weekly before or during delivery of all face-to-face sessions.
We will continue to reintroduce volunteering, although some activities may still include restrictions on numbers. All activities will be subject to our Covid-secure guidance, in line with our principle of safety first.
Can you help?
This last year has been incredibly challenging for us all. The lockdown measures led to significant income loss from our Nature Discovery Centres and the cancellation of our fundraising events.
But sadly, this year has been hard on our wildlife too, and we are determined to help our wildlife recover. If every garden and open space was wilder and better connected, with shelter, food and water, animals like our hedgehogs would stand a better chance of survival.
Please consider helping the Trust make a real difference to wildlife by donating. All money raised helps us to sustain our work to protect wildlife and wild places throughout the county.
Every donation, big or small, will make a huge difference. If you are not already a member and want to join us, our thanks in advance.
Doing your bit at home
The natural world continues to need our help now more than ever, so if you would like to turn your garden into a mini nature reserve you can find endless ideas here. We need to connect up our gardens and create wildlife corridors for species to thrive in our county.
Watch WildlifeTV on YouTube, over 250 videos that we produced this spring during lockdown to bring nature and wildlife to your home every day.
We have also launched a new podcast, The Wildlife Explorer, which is available on Spotify, iTunes or Anchor.
A special thanks
We are incredibly thankful for your ongoing support, patience and understanding. In particular we are grateful to our members and those who have donated to Essex Wildlife Trust to allow us to continue to protect wildlife and create a Wilder Essex.
Stay safe and stay wild.