This page is updated regularly - latest update 17 July 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on individuals, families and society at large. Unfortunately BCT is also impacted and we are trying to find the best ways to mitigate for this. In these difficult times the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers and everyone we work with is our priority.

BCT staff are now mainly working remotely in order to follow Government guidance (see latest guidance HERE), reduce risks and to enable staff to stay as safe as possible. Understandably in these uncertain times we are all facing a variety of challenges and we want you to know that our bat conservation work will continue, although there will need to be some changes to the way we work.

We will be keeping the situation under ongoing review. The BCT senior management team is having regular meetings with Operations Team members to remain up to date with the latest developments and plan appropriate and timely responses. We are also in regular contact with project partners and other conservation organisations. Our aim is to keep staff, volunteers, and collaborators safe while also ensuring our core activities continue. We will continue to provide our teams with regular updates and in turn will share any relevant information with you.

The following updates are particularly important:

Staff furlough - Many charities have had to furlough members of their team in order to maximise the chance of survival. Some BCT staff have been on furlough but they are now back at work.

Meetings or interviews – All meetings and interviews will be conducted remotely. If you have a meeting scheduled with a BCT staff member we will be in touch.

Post – Please note that it will be much more difficult for us to process post in the current situation so we would ask that you do not post anything to us for the time being. Should this be an issue please contact us by email on comms@bats.org.uk

National Bat Helpline – From Tuesday 21st July 2020, the helpline team will be able to organize some visits (under certain circumstances) from Volunteer Bat Roost Visitors now that Natural England has issued new guidance for their volunteers. This will not cover every situation usually eligible for a visit; for more information, see here . Please note, volunteers working on behalf of Natural England under the free advice service managed by the Helpline, follow guidelines issued by Natural England which therefore may deviate from some other guidelines issued for other bat workers. Bat carers in the Bat Care Network have been issued with advice and we will keep in close touch with them. Please bear with us as most of the work of the Helpline is being dealt with remotely, and we are experiencing extremely high call volumes, so you may experience slightly longer delays when trying to reach us or in gaining responses.

Training & Conferences – Like many others, we have made the decision to postpone our conferences and training events in person until we can gather safely. We are hoping to be able to gather in person for our postponed events in the autumn, if we are unable to gather in person, we will adapt the events for online wherever possible or reschedule for 2021.

National Bat Conference 2020 – this is being replaced by an online event. Find out more HERE

For any questions about future or postponed events, please contact our Training and Conferences Manager, Naomi Webster, nwebster@bats.org.uk The events terms and conditions including the cancellation policy can be found here

Membership/Fundraising/Communications – Although there may also be some delays in replying to enquiries, be assured that we are doing all we can to stay in contact with our members, donors and funders. We are also continuing to work hard with all our supporters and collaborators to dispel the negative press surrounding bats. Fundraising is likely to become increasingly challenging over the coming months, your support will never be more important than now. We are still unable to send welcome/Adopt a Bat packs but we working hard to find alternatives to get the packs sent ASAP. Please bear with us. Thank you.

Pin badge/leaflet/poster requests - we unfortunately are not able to fulfill any requests for pin badges, leaflets or posters/bat dropping ID cards for the time being. Please email us if you have any questions - fundraise@bats.org.uk

Bat Groups – These are fast changing times and we are sure many of you will be disappointed at the need to cancel or postpone events and activities but please do all stay safe and follow the latest government guidance (available HERE) . We will continue to communicate with bat groups in the normal way, such as bulletins, as much as possible. We will also be able to deal with queries in the normal way although please bear with us if responses are delayed.

National Bat Monitoring Programme – Bat monitoring activities are currently restricted in order to comply with government guidance on controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. For More information click HERE

Conservation Team – the members of the team will all continue as normal as far as possible but of course this will be without any face to face meeting or events. Should any member of staff leading an area of work become ill we will do our very best to maintain essential communications. On any urgent matter where no reply is received please email cwilliams@bats.org.uk

PROJECT UPDATES

Bats in Churches Project - Due to coronavirus all on site bat mitigation works have been suspended until further notice. Further information HERE

Back from the Brink - Many events have been cancelled, please check HERE. The project partners are looking at innovative ways to bring these to you through virtual means, and hopefully some of them will be rescheduled, so please do keep checking back on the events page HERE.

These are undoubtedly challenging times – please take care, stay safe and stay in contact. By working together, we can support each other thought this difficult period.

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and bats which you can see here.