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 2019 Out of Hours season begins on the 24th May and will run until the end of September. The service runs 6pm - 10pm on weekdays and 10am - 10pm on weekends and bank holidays.
The project has been running successfully since 2004. Here’s how it all works:
- At the end of the working day a member of staff will divert the BCT phones to the volunteer on Bat Watch that evening (either their mobile or landline of choice).
- Weekday Bat Watch times run from 6pm-10pm.
- On weekends, Bat Watch is split into three; Morning (10am-2pm), Afternoon (2pm-6pm) and Evening (6pm-10pm).
- Callers to OOH hear an automated message explaining that the service is available for emergencies. They're given the option of either leaving a message (for non-urgent enquiries) or being put through to a volunteer.
- 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.
- The following morning a member of staff will divert the phone back to the BCT office or, during weekends, to the next volunteer on Bat Watch.
How to Volunteer
We are no longer recruiting volunteers for the 2019 season. We will be recruiting volunteers for the 2020 season at the beginning of next year so please get in touch if you'd like to be contacted with more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
OOH Report 2018
2018 was one of our busiest OOH seasons so far! 48 volunteers took 2119 calls and donated a total of 1937 hours to bat conservation!
A downloadable version of the 2018 report can be found linked below. It includes further information about the project and some stats and charts regarding what type of calls we dealt with and where the calls came from.