Following the First Minister’s announcement of Phase 1 of the Route Map easing coronavirus restrictions, in which it was stated that priority outdoor work that has been put on hold could resume from Friday 29th May, the Scottish Wildlife Trust has been working on guidance that will allow priority outdoor activities to restart.
The first Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels staff to resume outdoor work were our Grey Squirrel Officers, who returned on the 1st June, working alone and applying control measures that have been set in place by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels. We are now issuing measures that will allow priority grey squirrel control volunteers to return to work where they can do so safely.
Grey squirrel control volunteers
A specific Covid-19 Risk Assessment has been developed in collaboration with other government and non-government outdoor-based organisations and is now ready for circulation to essential grey squirrel control volunteers. This can be accessed through the Community Hub Grey Squirrel Control Group documents, or by contacting your local Community Engagement Officer or Conservation Officer.
In accordance with government guidelines, priority grey squirrel control work must be undertaken unaccompanied (or only in the presence of people from the same household). Volunteers must also remain within a short distance of their local community (broadly within 5 miles) and not undertake any unnecessary travel.
Before recommencing any grey squirrel control work, we ask people to think about their own situation carefully and consider personal and family risk levels. If you are satisfied that you can resume safely, make sure you have all the required personal protective equipment and other measures in place before you start.
We understand that nature has an important role to play in health and wellbeing during this time but the health and safety of our volunteers is of utmost importance to us. If you are considering returning to priority outdoor voluntary work for the project, we ask that you also please familiarise yourself with the current government guidance for Scotland, as well as the government-published guidance for working safely in the forestry sector and environment / conservation sector.
Additional health and safety advice relevant to your specific volunteering role can be found in your volunteering induction pack, and can also be downloaded from the SSRS Community Hub.
If you are not ready to return to voluntary grey squirrel control work, you can continue to support the project and help protect your local red squirrels by reporting squirrel sightings at https://scottishsquirrels.org.uk/squirrel-sightings/.
All other volunteer activities
At this time, all other voluntary activities will remain suspended until further notice. The Trust will review these suspensions as the government enters the next phase of the Route Map easing coronavirus restrictions. We will keep all our volunteers fully informed, and if you have any questions or concerns you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via your local Community Engagement Officer or Conservation Officer.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing patience and support during this time.