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DOP & COVID-19 Update

Posted: Sunday 22nd March 2020 by Emyr MWT

DOP will not open in April

With the ever increasing scale of the corona virus taking hold in every facet of our daily lives, here is what COVID-19 means for all of us:


Dyfi Wildlife Centre

We've beaten four named storms, a faulty insulation recall, a Christmas break and the wettest winter on record. Despite these potential hurdles, we were - and still are - ready to open on 9th April, just seven months after closing DOP 2019 and two portacabins.

It's been a Herculean effort of immense team-working, perseverance and down-right slogging it out, seven days a week.

22nd March - less than three weeks from opening...

Yet, a single-celled invisible organism that is bordering on our definition of being 'alive', has thwarted us. In keeping with government advice we have no option but to postpone opening in early April.

When will we open?

Will it be weeks or several months? We don't know.

One of the most disruptive elements of this pandemic is the uncertain nature of everything that is ahead of us.

Do we take the Prime Minister's 12-week "we'll be over it" as a gauge? That would take us to late June.

Let's be honest - this could easily wipe out our whole season. Only time - and people's willingness to listen to government advise, will tell.

Our Volunteers

We have now, again heeding government advise, suspended all volunteering activities.

Painting - our last volunteer work party at the Dyfi Wildlife Centre for a while

This is a big blow to all our volunteers that were looking forward, especially this year of all years, to the new centre opening and a brand new DOP. March was the time we had planned daily work parties in the Dyfi Wildlife Centre; everything from painting, cleaning, sanding, decorating and maintenance work.

For all sorts of reasons, COVID-19 could not have come at a worse time in the year.

Our New and Seasonal Staff

As you know, we have been recruiting recently.

We had six new amazing people, all due to start in just a few days from now. This week we had to tell all of them them that we could not honour what we told them in their interviews.

If you're reading this, Alex, Alwyn, Caren, John, Joy and Thom, we're truly sorry that you cannot join us as planned. We still, however, have high hopes that all of you will be able to join us at some point in the future.

Some fo these folks have given their notices in to their current employers, some were moving to Mid Wales to live. We're truly sorry.

After 11 successive years at DOP, Alwyn will not be joining us this April

Our Current Staff

All of Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust's staff are now working from home.

Some tough decisions will have to be taken in the next few days, 2020 budgets will need significant revisions; we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Social distancing in the car park

Our Organisation

DOP is one of Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust's projects. We generate practically all of our income between March and August - when the ospreys are here and 30,000 people visit us. That income has now been switched off.

The £150,000 it takes to run DOP every year, gone.

This pandemic has serious consequences for DOP and Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust. It has the potential to shut us down, for good.

We're a small wildlife charity - we do not have any cash reserves. Operating on a shoestring is normal for us. Dealing with the financial implications of a global pandemic is abnormal for us.

Live Streaming

We needed a perfect winter for the Live Steaming to start on time.

We needed to build the Dyfi Wildlife Centre on time and on budget.

We needed to change electricity supply and install a three-phase transformer.

We've done all these things.

Aled Lewis of SP Energy Networks installing our new transformer last week

This coming week we will install all the infrastructure in the new centre to allow us to stream live pictures from the nest. Openreach will reconnect us to the internet. Network Rail will do our fibre slicing for us. Our IT man, Andy, is with us all week to install just about everything else.

This is how the Live Streaming room looks like today:

We're still on track to have everything up and ready by 1st April, as promised.

However, given the uncertainty of the current situation, we only need one link in this chain to be absent for the whole lot not to work. The best project management in the world will not help us now - we're in the realms of luck and hoping. We'll keep you posted.

And Finally

If you're still with us after all this doom and gloom, let's finish on a positive.

1. Pushing the Dyfi Wildlife Centre's opening into the future allows us to do some of the things 'properly' and in the order they need to be done. Let's all jump off this 100mph construction train for a few days, reassess, and plan ahead. The final centre will just be even better than it would have been.

2. Working from home frees me and others to keep you even more updated on stuff than we had time for before. We'll up our game to the next level - to be the most informative, educational, transparent and engaging osprey project we can be. Promise.

3. Our birds are just days away from arriving back. Monty always arrives during the first week in April, we're expecting Telyn at the end of March. She could arrive any time, literally.


4. Despite all of our hurdles, we are doing absolutely everything in our power to bring you Live Streaming by 1st April. I understand that many of you look forward so much for Monty and Telyn to arrive back - many of you are stuck at home (especially now), disabled, or have some other restriction that does not allow you to visit in person.

Nobody is able to visit DOP in person at the moment. That Live Streaming has never been so important to all of us.

We need to forge a path through this. We need to be resilient, dogged and tenacious.

We're all in this together, we'll fight it together, we'll come out the other end together.

Keep strong, keep safe, keep washing your hands. 

Keep calm and look up. We still have the keys.






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