Work Party Volunteer Winter 2020 Update

7 December 2020
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Category Foxearth Meadows
7 December 2020, Comments Comments Off on Work Party Volunteer Winter 2020 Update

We couldn’t do without our volunteers!  Read on to find out how Mark has updated our volunteer policy to ensure safety and enable work parties to continue.

One of 2020’s less crucial but still frustrating features has been the suspension of work parties as we move in and out of Covid-19 restrictions. During the second lockdown phase, we once again stood down our loyal volunteers as did many other conservation organisations. I became aware, however, that practical work was continuing at the RSPB’s Ouse Valley reserves in Cambridgeshire and even, at a much smaller scale, at a parish council woodland site in Suffolk. “What are they doing to buck the trend?” I thought to myself.

I am hugely grateful to Chris Hudson, Senior Sites Manager of Fen Drayton Lakes and Ouse Fen, for advice given as I designed a framework for personal risk assessment and mitigation for volunteers at Foxearth Meadows. Rest assured that our approach is based solely on the grounds of risk and that safety of volunteers is paramount. Here is the essence of our revised approach using the personal risk assessment tool:

  • Step 1 is a series of questions about age, gender, health and weight to check an individual’s risk of serious illness following infection with Covid-19;
  • Step 2 takes the score from step 1 and details the actions needed to mitigate risks for two categories, i) low risk (score 0-3) and ii) high risk (score 4+);
  • Step 3 is a discussion with myself to identify the right actions to take for each individual;
  • Step 4 is a record of adjustments made according to the individual’s identified risks.

The record sheet is then signed by the volunteer and myself and a review date set.

The necessary actions to reduce risk of infection for the low and high risk categories are also fully incorporated into the event risk assessments that are completed for every work party.

All volunteers from now on will be asked to undertake the personal risk assessment process prior to joining a work party. It shouldn’t prove too onerous and I am sure you appreciate the need for safety first. We look forward to welcoming our brilliant volunteers every Friday at 10am and hope to see some new faces too.

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