When bats are most active (between May and September) BCT runs an out of hours (OOH) helpline, where volunteers answer emergency calls from the public in the evenings and over the weekends. Volunteers receive training in answering calls before the season begins, as well as full support from BCT staff throughout the season.
The project has been running successfully since 2004. Here’s how it all works:
- At the end of the working day (17.30) a member of staff will divert the BCT phones to the volunteer on duty that evening (either their mobile or landline).
- Callers during the evening hear an automated message explaining that an OOH service is available for emergencies and that there is the option of either leaving a message (for non-urgent enquiries) or being put through to a volunteer.
- The following morning (9.00) a member of staff will divert the phone back to the BCT office or, during weekends, to the next volunteer on the rota.
- We aim to provide out of office hours cover but we don’t expect our volunteers to be available after 23.00 or before 7.30 the next morning.
Common calls involve grounded or injured bats found by the public, bats trapped in people’s houses, newly-discovered roosts and planning and development queries.
The OOH helpline can sometimes be challenging but also very rewarding. It would not be possible to run such a service without the volunteers and their help is hugely appreciated.
How to Volunteer
We are now recruiting volunteers for the 2014 season. However, please do note that we ask all volunteers to attend one of the two Out of Hours training days: 12th April 2014 (Manchester) or 19th April 2014 (London).
These training sessions are now fully booked. If anyone drops out, we will advertise places here, so please watch this space!