2020 has been a year full of surprises and uncertainty for so so many people. One of the big situations to impact nearly everyone has been the Covid 19 Pandemic.
For Inward Adventures the world wide pandemic has brought some uncertainty and given us the opportunity to learn and develop.
This month’s blog post is a short post to present how Inward Adventures is addressing the situation and how we are planning to begin facilitating Adventures again.
At the time of writing this blog article, I am sure, unless you have been living fully off the grid, you will have heard of the Coronavirus or Covid 19. A virus that is part of the Corona family that also contains viruses such as the common cold, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).
But for the benefit of those who may have been fully off the grid or as a little recap for those who may have forgotten how we got here, here is a quick recap.
In December of 2019 a new type of the Coronavirus was reported to be spreading through the city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of China.
At the time of writing it was believed the virus had originated in a ‘wet market’ within the city of Wuhan.
Wet markets are common through out Asia and are often made up of open-air stalls that trade in a fresh fruit and veg, seafood and meat.
Some wet markets have stalls or businesses which slaughter and sell a huge range of animals for their meet, fur or use in Chinese medicine. These animals can include chickens; fish and shellfish but sometimes can include more exotic or animals not seen as edible or usable by western standards. These can include snakes, crocodiles, pangolins, bats and dogs.
Many scientists believed that the virus had originated in bats and had ‘jumped’ to humans through poor sanitation and infected bats entering the human food chain.
The virus causes symptoms including, according to the NHS, A high temperature, a new and continuous cough and loss or change in taste and smell.
Symptoms could take between 7 to 14 days to present, and can result in varying levels of severity.
In March 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a worldwide pandemic and many countries around the globe went in to lockdown, where, all but essential ‘key workers’ had to remain at home and, mostly, indoors. During the lockdown in the UK, people could leave their homes for one of only a very short list or reasons. Shopping for essential items only, exercise once a day and for medical needs.
The world changed over the course of just a few short months and it was set to continue to change both people’s behaviours and attitudes for sometime to follow.
The outdoor industry has been one of the many industries that has seen a huge impact thanks to Covid 19.
The outdoor industry has a huge freelance workforce as well as a large number of small and micro businesses.
Inward Adventures relies on a large proportion of seasonal freelance work including Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expedition supervising and assessing and working for other, larger and more established companies delivering outdoor activates and events.
The lockdown, and other restrictions established to combat the spread of the virus, has led to the reduction and cancelation of so much work. A huge proportion of the outdoor industry freelance workers have had to quickly adapt, find alternative work and take advantage of the government’s self employment grant, if they qualified.
The DofE expedition season has almost entirely been cancelled due to school closures and the Department of Education’s guidance for no external visits including DofE expeditions.
Only a very small number of schools and establishments, rightly or wrongly, putting teams out on expedition.
Other companies and businesses Inward Adventures providers support to saw limited to no bookings for their services and so they did not need additional freelance workers to support and Inward Adventures itself has had to cancel or postpone courses and Adventures due to the lockdown period and the other restrictions.
During the lock down Inward Adventures studied the advice and guidance and began to create a policy and risk assessment around Covid 19. We looked at the biiger picture and risk assessed the courses and Adventures we delivered before the outbreak and developed the processes which we will now follow to keep everyone safe and well and reduce the risk of any spread of the virus.
In June 2020 some of the restrictions in the UK were lifted and further advice and guidance was published by the UK government and some of the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) for sports in the outdoor industry.
Inward Adventures, again, studied the advice and guidance and edited the policy and risk assessment to further adhere to the current advice and guidance.
In July 2020 Inward Adventures decided it is in a position to begin to deliver a limited amount of opportunities and services.
We will continue to observe any changes in both the UK Government’s advice and guidance, WHO advice and guidance and that from all NGBs, which we are members of.
Here is a short list of things that we are doing to ensure we can provide safe opportunities, courses and Adventures.
We have looked at the big picture and risk assessed everything we can deliver and made a decision based on the level of risk. Some courses and Adventures will begin to take place with some remaining withheld for a while so we can learn, understand and develop our practice to further support and protect people taking part during these times.
We have drawn up a formal risk assessment and Covid 19 policy as well as revised some of our Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to include or incorporate safe practice to protect and guard against the spread of Covid 19.
We have reduced the number of booking slots to observe the advice and guidance around group sizes meeting outdoors. This will, again, continue to be reviewed inline with current advice and guidance.
We have revised our booking process and will now include Covid 19 declaration forms which, everyone who works and attends any course or Adventure, must complete within a certain time frame. This will allow us to assess the risk level of all those who attend our courses and Adventures as well as keep a short term record in support of the Track and Trace process.
We have updated our terms and conditions to include cancelations and kit and equipment for Covid 19.
We have new procedures in place to observe social distancing, hand washing and overnight stays to adhere to current advice and guidance.
We will continue to develop our own practice to ensure we are delivering the very best we can, as safely and efficiently as we can, to everyone who we meet on our courses and Adventures.
We have included a Covid 19 form as part of our feedback process to stay in touch with people for the 7 to 14 day duration after any course or Adventure has finished.
We will always be open to suggestions, feedback and criticism around our practice and procedures. We are always learning and developing.
We will continue to stay informed with the most up to date advice and guidance from the WHO, UK Government and NGBs.
Over the next few weeks will update the Inward Adventures website and our social media platforms to reflect these changes and updates. During the next few weeks and in to the future we welcome any and all feedback, questions and suggestions. If you want to know more please contact us.
We send everyone our warmest regards and best wishes and hope you and your families are all safe and well.