News archive

June 2020

Monday, 29 June 2020

Group Leader's News Late June 2020

Group Leader's News Late June 2020

Following on from my last news update the RSPB has now suspended all Local Group physical activities (indoor and outdoor meetings, fund raising events etc.) until the end of 2020, with a review of this decision to be carried out in early October. As a consequence our indoor meetings planned for Friday 4 September and Friday 2 October and the September coach trip (scheduled for the 21st) will not take place (but see below). Potentially better news comes in the form of an ongoing campaign to try to save our indoor meetings venue, 'The Settlement', from closure or at least to keep the main hall where we meet, for use by clubs and societies.

Our committee will be meeting in July to try to plan a way forward during these difficult times. We hope, at the very least, to be able to run some 'virtual' activities for members from September onwards - this might include internet talks given using 'Zoom' or other media, as a replacement for our indoor meetings. Ideas for how we might meet or link up in some way to go bird watching, whilst still following social distancing guidelines, will be considered but will of course have to get the agreement of the RSPB if we plan to go ahead. We are all very keen to keep going and keep all our members involved during these difficult times. Further news will follow before long: keep an eye on our Facebook page as well!

Keep Safe,
Martin

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Group Leader's News June 2020

Group Leader's News June 2020

Although Local Group activities remain suspended, at least until early September, lockdown restrictions have been eased and it is now possible for us to meet up in small groups (up to six people) in order to go walking and nature watching. Indeed, in theory we can go anywhere in England as long as we can travel back home on the same day! The RSPB are currently phasing the re-opening of reserves and the RSPB website is continually being updated to advise which reserves are open, so keep an eye on www.rspb.gov.org. Although there have been no physical Local Group activities (indoor and outdoor meetings) since lockdown started things have been happening behind the scenes. There is good news and bad news: let's get the bad news out of the way first.

'The Settlement'
It is with much sadness that I have recently learnt that 'The Settlement' in Letchworth, our indoor meetings venue for so many years, will be closing down at the end of July. This is for financial reasons and has been precipitated by the paralysing effects of the Covid-19 virus. Many local groups and societies in our area will be affected by the closure and, of course, our indoor meetings will need to find a new home. It is too early to say where this will lead us in the future, but our thoughts should at this time be with the lovely staff at The Settlement: they will be losing their jobs as a result of the closure.

Facebook Web Site
Now for some good news: we finally have our own Local Group Facebook Page - we hope that you will use it and will give it lots of 'likes'. If you are a Facebook member perhaps you can contribute by adding your own post(s) - anything wildlife related would be welcome! Perhaps you could let family and friends know about the site as well: they may be interested. Copy and paste the link below into your search engine in order to access the page.

https://www.facebook.com/RSPB-Hitchin-and-Letchworth-Local-Group-103324181407901/

Newsletter
Kathy is looking for (preferably upbeat) articles from our LG members which can be incorporated into an e-newsletter. Perhaps your garden has had visits by rare birds or other unusual animals or you have had an interesting nature-related experience during the lockdown period. Alternatively you could tell us about your favourite bird or most exciting bird watching day (home or abroad). Whatever the subject matter do get in touch with us (only please don't tell us about the gloom of lockdown - we don't want to be reminded)! Once the newsletter has been produced I will post it as a PDF file onto our news page.

The Future
Whilst restrictions have been eased in England, social distancing means that sadly it could be some time before we recommence indoor and outdoor meetings. The RSPB has instructed that all Local Groups cease 'physical' activities until September. These instructions will be updated in the next week or two - it is possible that there will be a further delay before we can resume meeting. As soon as we know what is happening we will let Local Group members know: regular news updates will also be available here. Whatever happens we will arrange some group activities for later in the year, even if we still can't meet up.

Love Nature, Stay Safe and Stay with Us!
Martin