May 12 2021

Update on lockdown easing – what it means for volunteering

Back in March, we released our volunteering road map and gave you all an update on what was happening with lockdown easing across our regions and countries.

 

Given the announcements made by the various governments over the last 48 hours, we wanted to provide a further update for you. It feels very positive that we can now take a further, bigger step towards normality and get so many more volunteers back active in their roles and woodland working groups back to full capacity.

 

We have consulted all the various government guidance and have compiled a summary of how this affects volunteering below, I am sure that you will agree that a lot of the devolved guidance has become complicated and this is subject to change.

 

So, by country, from 17 May, the rules say we can:

 

In England

 

  • Have groups of up to 30 people meeting outdoors so groups will be allowed back in full as long as numbers stay below this number.
  • Allow volunteers to use power tools for essential site maintenance such as clearing vegetation and reducing wildfire risk (providing you have received a permit from the National Volunteering Team).
  • Have groups of up to 6 people indoors for a meeting provided the venue is appropriate (more on what is an appropriate venue below).

 

In Wales

 

  • Have groups of up to 30 people working outdoors, providing it’s an “organised activity” with a full risk assessment in place.
  • Meet in a group of up to 3 indoors providing the venue is appropriate.
  • Allow volunteers to use power tools for essential site maintenance such as clearing vegetation and reducing wildfire risk (providing they have received a permit from the National Volunteering Team).

 

 In Scotland

 

  • Have groups of up to 8 people from 8 different households working together outdoors.
  • Have up to 6 people meeting indoors from three different households providing the venue is appropriate.
  • Allow volunteers to use power tools for essential site maintenance such as clearing vegetation and reducing wildfire risk (providing they have received a permit from the National Volunteering Team).

 

In Northern Ireland

 

  • The NI government announcement comes shortly, we will update this article accordingly when the new information is released.

 

There is a caveat to all this. Just because we can does not automatically follow that we must.

 

A lot of people have still not been vaccinated and no-one must be made to feel uncomfortable. If you don’t want to meet someone indoors, don’t. Use technology or meet in the open air instead.

 

The majority of Trust staff are still working from home and as such have no access to the offices and warehouses, we appreciate your patience with the delay this has caused to some aspects of our work, for example sending out polo shirts and badges. We now have some limited access to our offices on allocated days and we will be working through the backlog of these requests over the coming weeks.

 

Car sharing and public transport. As above, our current advice is to avoid car sharing and public transport if you can, but if it needs to happen for volunteering purposes then you may do so. (but only if you feel comfortable – there is no rule saying you must).

 

If you do share a vehicle then:

  • Use hand sanitizer before getting in and out.
  • Wear masks
  • Have the windows down at least 3cm.
  • No more than 4
  • Sit in the four corners of the vehicle – no middle seat squeeze in’s.

 

If using public transport

  • Wear masks
  • Use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid peak travel times.
  • Sit near open windows if available.

 

Appropriate meeting venues. For indoor meetings choose spacious well-ventilated rooms that enable social distancing – a big old draughty village hall is ideal. Keep all windows open, and if possible, doors too. Provide hand sanitizer and share any documents that need to be shared by email first – do not hand things out. Individuals should take their own food and refreshments.

 

All of the above is subject to local decisions. The final decision on whether to commence powertool use and bring individual volunteering groups and roles back will, as before, sit with Estate staff – this will depend on factors such as whether or not the worksite is big enough for social distancing, the availability of equipment or there being appropriate work available.

 

We have updated the Risk Assessment which can be found by clicking below. This is designed to supplement any existing risk assessments you already have and focusses specifically on the risk of Covid – 19

 

 

Please keep an eye on Whittle and we will update you when any further significant changes happen.

 

As always, many thanks for your patience and the time and effort you put into supporting the Trust and our aims.

 

Best wishes

The National Volunteering Team

3 Comments
  • HilaryHinks

    Many thanks for the update on this 😀

    May 14, 2021 at 11:45 am
  • DavidRodway

    Thanks again for the update.

    May 14, 2021 at 2:11 pm

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