This page is updated regularly - latest update 01/05/2020.

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. Although we have been trying to avoid doing this, the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is the only one available to us and so we will have some staff members going on furlough over the months of May and June. When on furlough, staff will not be able to do any work for BCT including receiving emails or phone calls. We will ensure that Out of Office messages have alternative contacts, but please bear in mind that we will have a smaller team in place and so will not be able to deal with queries as quickly as normal. Thank you for your understanding.

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 next two months. Should this be an issue please contact us by email on comms@bats.org.uk

National Bat Helpline – The helpline team are currently reviewing how they deal with cases that would normally have required a Volunteer Bat Roost Visitor visit now that Natural England has postponed all roost visits until further notice. 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 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 until the end of May. We are exploring ways to run training courses and other events online and will announce these as they are confirmed. Some postponed events already have a new date and delegates have been informed.

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. Thank you.

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 away from the house are suspended until further notice. 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.