With the government’s announcement on Monday 23 March 2020 regarding COVID-19, the Trust is closed for the foreseeable future. It is vital to reduce the spread of this terrible virus and keep our visitors, staff and volunteers as safe and healthy as possible. Rest assured that we have measures in place to make sure our birds are well-cared for while we are closed; that is our top priority.
In order to do that, we need to do our best to ensure we have a strong and healthy Bird Team to take care of our birds, themselves and their families. Gary Benton, our Head of Living Collection, has devised a rota that ensures social distancing between the team members whilst caring for our birds.
It is very difficult to plan during this period of uncertainty, as we simply don’t know when we will be able to re-open. However, we wanted to reassure you that we will honour any purchases you have made and any ongoing commitments you have with us.
We appreciate that this is an extremely troublesome time for personal budgets. In order to help you stay with us during these tricky times, we are making the following commitments.
If you have a voucher for a visit to the Trust, we will extend the length of this ticket by six months. There is no need to contact us, your tickets will now be valid for 18 months from the date of purchase instead of 12 months. Simply bring the tickets you have with you to the Trust when you visit.
We are so grateful for the support we receive from our members and we will miss seeing the regular faces at the Trust. If you already have membership with us, we will extend your membership for the period we are closed. There’s no need for you to do anything, we will calculate the closed period (when we re-open) and extend your membership by altering your renewal date. The extended period will be added to the end of your membership free of charge, so if you pay by monthly direct debit, your payments will stop at the end of your membership yet your membership will still be valid. This will be the same for Annual Members and Off-peak Members.
Experiences and Encounter Vouchers
If you already have a voucher for an experience or Meet the Burrowers VIP Encounter including admission, we will extend this for an additional 6 months. There is no need for you to contact us, we will update this on our system and extend the expiry date.
Experiences and Encounters – Booked onto a date in March or April
If you are already booked to join one of our experiences or a Meet the Burrowers VIP Encounter dated in March or April, a member of our team will contact you to re-book you onto a future date. Please bear with us, our team are working through the list in date order and contacting each customer. If it becomes apparent that we will be closed beyond the end of April, we will contact those customers with bookings in May onwards to re-book them onto future dates.
We have cancelled our Owls By Moonlight events that take place in the spring, if you were booked onto these dates, our team will contact you to re-book you onto one of our autumn dates. At this stage, we are unsure which other events we will be able to go ahead with and which we need to cancel. If you are booked onto an event and we need to cancel, we will contact you to work out a solution with you.
Half-price tickets expiring 31 March 2020
If you have purchased half-price tickets and have not managed to use them due to COVID-19 restrictions/closure, you can use these tickets during the month of October 2020 only (1-31 inclusive). After 31 October 2020, we will not be able to extend any of these tickets for further use.
We are very grateful to those who have adopted our birds, both as a premium adoption or a standard adoption. Please be assured that whilst we are closed, your adoption fee will continue to go towards the care of your adopted bird. This is particularly appreciated, as we will see a huge reduction of money coming into the Trust from paying visitors during the closed period.
If you have not used your admission ticket that comes with your standard adoption or met your adopted bird as part of the premium adoption, we will extend the validity of your admission tickets for the length of the period we are closed.
Inevitably, you will have questions that we haven’t managed to answer, or if your circumstances have changed, please don’t hesitate to contact us. At the moment, our office team are trying to set things up so that they can work from home, so please contact us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re making changes to our website over the next few days and weeks to accommodate for these changes. There may be sections that don’t look quite as you might expect; if you get stuck at all, please email us at the above address or check back on the website in a few days time.
How can you help us?
We have been overwhelmed by the support and understanding we have received, thank you. Some of you have asked us to share information on how you can help support the Trust over the coming months. We are hoping and planning to re-open later in the year and welcome back our visitors, members and supporters with open arms, so the big ask from us is to stick with us. Please come back when we re-open.
Please stay with us on social media and keep our community alive. We love seeing your comments and they lift our spirits too! We will keep you updated with our beautiful birds and let you know about our conservation and research work.
If you are able to and would like to help us during this difficult period, you can donate via our website. As well as looking after our birds and staff, we have ongoing conservation and research costs and will continue to receive wild birds in our National Bird of Prey Hospital™.
If you would like to reserve your little bit of the Trust experience, for something to look forward to when we re-open, you can buy open, un-dated vouchers to exchange for experiences and day tickets in the future. If you choose to buy membership now, even though we’re closed, we will extend the length of your membership to allow for the closure period. All of this can be done via our website. We are updating website to allow for these changes. We thank you for your patience if the site doesn’t run as smoothly as usual.
If you use Amazon.co.uk, please instead head to smile.amazon.co.uk and select the Hawk Conservancy Trust as your chosen charity. It doesn’t cost any more money and has provided us with several hundred pounds in the last year.
It’s not easy for any of us to cope with the circumstances we’re facing. Look after yourselves and each other and enjoy the wildlife where it’s safe.