From the many of you who have been in touch, we know how much you are looking forward to getting back out into nature and enjoying Monkton Nature Reserve once again.
It is however with great regret that we are sorry to say that we cannot open to the public soon; we have decided to work towards re-opening in Spring 2021. We will only do so when we have everything in place to keep everyone safe.
The many indoor and outdoor tasks that need to be done can only be carried out under the most careful ‘Covid-secure’ protocols and following all essential risk assessment. With the amount of detail in the current advice that requires quantifying and putting into action, we cannot, in good conscience, open the reserve without spending quality time assessing the situation, especially when contracting the virus is still possible. We care too much about all our users to risk rushing back, thus contributing to a second wave of this pandemic.
We’re continuing to closely follow Government guidance; our site and associated facilities are varied and at the time of this communication do not ‘completely fit’ the current business and leisure categories that have been listed for significant easing of the lockdown restrictions.
It is with a heavy heart that we have to advise that a painful outcome of the compulsory closure of the reserve has been the need to let our directly paid staff go; this was unfortunately necessary due to our financial situation – coming out of winter into a spring lockdown, followed by the complete loss of day-to-day income usually provided by an open reserve during the summer months. With no future foreseeable income but with continuing overheads we could not expose the Trust to any risk of financial deficit. We have engaged individually with all the staff concerned and provided redundancy packages. We wish them all the best for their future employment and thank them for their dedication and support.
We have now delegated responsibility to oversee the reserve’s activities during closure to Clive Nuttman, who will act as an adviser to the trustees and is the first point of contact on all matters related to the site.
Also, to let you know that our website is currently being revamped and already shows a great new look, albeit not all the links are working at the moment but will be completed soon.
Like you, we’ve found these past months incredibly challenging. We have all been worried about the health and welfare of our family, friends, and our communities during this difficult time.
Thank you for your patience, and a big thank you for all your support in the past and, hopefully, the immediate future as we seek to navigate our way forward.
Stay safe and well and we look forward to welcoming you back.
From the trustees
Trevor Shonk (Chairman), Geoff Orton, Les Shonk, Steve Villette, John Way
Thanet Countryside Trust