Covid-19

Volunteering with us during Covid-19

We hope you are well and coping with the current situation as best we can.

The recent pandemic and subsequent lockdown have raised a lot of uncertainty across the country. As such, we wanted to reach out to you with an update on our approach to volunteering with the River Thame Conservation Trust.

Recent restrictions have yet again brought the value of our natural environments to the forefronts of many people’s minds. We too are keen to go out and do more in our riverine environments, but we are also aware of the need for all of us to do this safely.

Guidance for Volunteers

The health and safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers, others who we work with, and the Emergency Services and members of the public, remains our highest priority.

We plan to continue with the Trust’s activities, including outdoor activities, by adhering to the guidelines provided by the Government and as amplified in this statement and as updated here as further advice becomes available. The government has modified its advice, the latest for the workplace as of 25th May, is at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/updates

The Government’s general guidance has changed.   Volunteers supporting the Trust in project work can restart their activities as long as they abide by these guidelines.

This advice applies to volunteers working on the following or similar projects:

  • Riverfly monitoring
  • Outfall Safari
  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Bird Surveys

Participation is at an individual’s own discretion and no one should not feel in anyway obliged to start monitoring or volunteering again.

However, if you are able to take a sample, a survey or undertake Riverfly monitoring while you are out taking exercise by the river then you are free to do so. You must obey the social distancing rules and if you intend to go with someone outside of your family you must travel separately.

We ask you to:

  • Only do so if you already have landowner permissions in place for you to cross their land and to undertake the monitoring.
  • Ensure you take extra precautions if you are sampling downstream of a sewage treatment works, septic tank discharge or storm overflow as Covid -19 has been detected in sewage work effluent. There is research being undertaken currently to understand the significance of this and whether it poses a risk. Extra precautions could include wearing long rubber or other protective gloves and using alcohol hand gel or washing with soap immediately afterwards. Wearing face protection is also now advised if near others.

Nigel Davenport

CEO

RTCT

If you are a volunteer for our Water Quality network, over the next month we will be working on sending out your Water Quality Testing kits for the July monitoring quarter. As above, one should not feel in anyway obliged to start monitoring again. However, if you are not intending to do any water quality testing for the July quarter, please let us by 5th June 2020 via enquiries@riverthame.org.

Thank you for your patience with us during these changing times and thank you for your help and commitment to the River Thame Conservation Trust. We hope to be able to see you again sometime in the near future to continue working for a river catchment with healthy fresh waters and wildlife, valued and enjoyed by local people.

Many thanks and stay safe,

The River Thame Conservation Trust