As reports of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continue to develop, Kent Wildlife Trust assures you that we are committed to our mission to restore, save and enhance our natural heritage and have been working hard to minimise disruption and promote the safety and good health of all of our staff, supporters and volunteers.
With continued uncertainty around the pandemic in the UK, we are reviewing the situation constantly and will provide an update if and when we take the decision to make any changes as an organisation. At present, our car parks, visitor centres and bird hides will remain closed. Please see our FAQs below for the latest information.
Nature continues to bring many of us solace in these difficult times, so do continue to take time out of your day to enjoy the wild places around you, whether that be in your garden, outdoor space or local park. Take a look at some of our ideas for enjoying nature and we hope this helps you to continue to stay connected to nature whilst staying safe.
Kent Wildlife Trust is, like others, dealing with the unprecedented challenges caused by coronavirus and nature conservation is suffering during these challenging times. This is a dynamic and rapidly changing situation and we have dedicated senior staff who are monitoring and directing our actions each day, based on the latest government guidance.
Your support at a time in need
In our 62 years of operating as a charity, this isn’t the first time we have faced adversity but we know it could take a long time to get back to where we need to be. As a charity, we rely on your support to keep our vital work going to protect and restore Kent’s wildlife and nature. Right now we are challenged to look after our nature reserves and wildlife whilst keeping our staff safe. We have never needed our members more, both to provide additional eyes and ears on our reserves and also to support the future of the Trust.
We are currently facing a challenge greater than ever before, as the coronavirus pandemic has a huge effect on our finances. It is expected that we will face a loss of between £600,000 and £800,000 by the end of the year. This is despite us doing everything we can to mitigate the impact and to continue our work where possible. We need your help now more than ever.
Many of you appreciate our nature reserves and will recognise that in these challenging times, the great outdoors are there to be appreciated in a new way, creating a new connection with nature for so many people. As a charity with nature and wildlife at its core, we hope you will consider joining us as a member or making a donation and helping towards the hard work that is going into supporting the efforts of our teams to continue caring for our reserves, nature and our wildlife and protecting them into the future. We thank you in advance for your ongoing support.
Our members and supporters
We are thinking of all our wonderful members and supporters at this time, and hope you each stay safe and well. We remain incredibly grateful for all that you allow us to do and we will continue to work for wildlife both during this period and beyond. We recognise how important nature is for our wellbeing so we encourage you to follow us on social media and check our website for updates on things you can do from home, or in your garden. Click here for more on our Wild At Home series.
Are Kent Wildlife Trust nature reserves open?
Our nature reserves will remain open for pedestrian access only. With a lot of uncertainty still, Kent Wildlife Trust is not planning to open car parks. There are multiple reasons for this, but we need to make sure that people are safe when they visit our sites; that car parks are properly managed; and that our staff are able to manage car parks safely. We are looking at this right now and will update if and as and when we take the decision to reopen car parks.
Through this crisis people have discovered a new respect for the wildlife around them and the natural health service which has supported our physical and mental well-being throughout this time. Our sites are nature reserves, designated, managed and protected for the wildlife that lives on them. We would ask all our visitors to respect this and reflect on the importance of our nature reserves to people and wildlife alike, think about becoming members of the Trust or supporting us to ensure these reserves can continue to be cared for through the challenging times ahead.
If you do visit your local nature reserve as a pedestrian, please remember to follow the latest government guidance on social distancing. Click here for guidance on how to safely access green spaces.
Are Kent Wildlife Trust visitor centres open?
No, unfortunately, our visitor centres will remain closed until government guidance indicates otherwise. We will continue to keep you updated.
How can I continue to connect with nature?
Spending time in your garden or noticing nature from your window can help to relieve stress and improve mental wellbeing and we've got a page full of activities to help you. Click here to find out more.
Can I still volunteer for Kent Wildlife Trust?
Unfortunately, the government guidelines mean that we have had to cease all volunteer tasks and work parties in order to minimise the risk to those who are most vulnerable. Those who are affected have already been informed.
I am booked on an upcoming event, what happens now?
If you haven’t already heard from us, then please get in touch with the organiser of the event. We run a number of different events so please bear with us but we will be in touch with next steps.
What measures are you and your staff taking to stop the spread of coronavirus?
The health and wellbeing of our staff and volunteers is of the utmost importance. We are, therefore, following government guidelines and continually reviewing the situation. Our office-based staff are all working from home and this allows us to continue our vital work towards creating a Wilder Kent.
Please refer to the government guidelines for further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
You sent me a letter/magazine/leaflet - how do I know this hasn't been contaminated by coronavirus?
This virus is spread from human to human. It is highly unlikely that the virus is spread through things like packages or food. Please refer to the NHS guidelines for further information: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Can I get the virus from any of Kent's wildlife?
There is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through animals. This virus is spread through human contact.
Please refer to the NHS guidelines: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
or the WHO guidelines: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Is any of Kent's wildlife affected by the virus?
Some viruses can affect animals. However, COVID-19 is spread from person to person and not wildlife. If in doubt, consult the NHS guidelines.
Staff or volunteers who manage livestock will continue to check the livestock as normal as this is considered to be working outside in a low-risk environment with minimal public contact.
Will I continue to receive your e-newsletter?
Yes, as our staff are working from home, we will continue to send you our e-newsletter as usual. We are aware of how valued the newsletter is and will continue to tell the important stories of wildlife and nature. Although we are in difficult times, we cannot forget about the continuing challenges faced by our nature and wildlife. We remain committed to our mission.
If you would like to sign up to our e-newsletter to keep up to date with our work and news, you can sign up here.
How long will these changes last for?
This is a rapidly changing situation and the government is continually reviewing it, as are we, and it is difficult to answer this question. We will keep you updated and encourage you to check our website and keep an eye out for our emails and social media posts.
Will your charity shop still be opening in the summer?
Given the current situation, it is unlikely that our new charity shop will be open by summer. However, we will continue to keep you updated.
Can I still drop off donations for the new charity shop at Tyland Barn?
Unfortunately, with the new government guidelines on social distancing, we cannot accept donations for the time being. If and when the government guidance changes, we will keep you updated via our website and social media. We look forward to receiving your donations in due course.
We will continue to keep you updated through our newsletter, website and our social media channels so please subscribe and follow us to keep up-to-date.
To read the government guidelines and response to Coronavirus, click here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response