Coronavirus - the latest Ramblers advice for supporters, members and volunteers

This guidance is being reviewed daily

24 March 2020

We are reviewing our guidance daily in response to the latest government advice. Our priority is to protect the health of our members, volunteers and staff and help to suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

On Monday 23 March, the Government announced that people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • one form of exercise a day – for example a walk, run or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary.

In line with previous advice, if you choose to walk for exercise you are advised to only walk locally to where you live. You should walk alone or with people from your household. You should not walk with friends or in groups. Keep 2m (6ft) distance from anyone you pass on your walk.

If you’re are in a household with COVID-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate at home. Those aged 70 or older and those with pre-existing health conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19 are particularly advised to practice social distancing.

Please see Public Health England’s guidelines on social distancing.

If you choose to walk locally for exercise, please:

  • Do not walk anywhere that you could get in to trouble and require the emergency services.
  • Avoid touching gates, fences etc. If you do, wash your hands as soon as possible.

All Ramblers walks and social activities have been cancelled until at least 31 May.

Questions

We are working to keep our members, volunteers and partners updated with the latest information on our response to COVID-19 virus via our usual communications channels. This webpage will be updated with the latest information, and will support members and volunteers in communicating how Ramblers GB is responding to the COVID-19 virus.

The best way to contact us is to first check the website link for information. If you still have questions, please get in touch via coronavirus@ramblers.zendesk.com and we will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. Please note that our offices will only have essential staff, with most Ramblers staff working from home.

Thank you for your continued support

The Ramblers has been around for a long time, through the tough days and the bright days. We will continue to fight for the rights of walkers, for the protection of our important green spaces and for the joys of walking. Together we’re stronger. Thank you for standing with us at this difficult time.

You can follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for all the latest updates from the Ramblers and to continue connecting with each other as Britain’s biggest walking community.

Previous statements

23 March 2020

On Wednesday 18 March, Ramblers GB had no choice but to suspend all group walks and social activities until at least 31 May 2020.

Our current guidance is as follows:

  • We encourage everyone to only walk locally to where you live. This means only walking in places that you can access without the use of a car or public transport. Avoid busy places including popular parks, beauty spots or beaches.
  • Ideally walk on your own or with people from your household, unless you are in a household with COVID-19 symptoms when you should self-isolate at home. Those aged 70 or older and those with pre-existing health conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19 should also self-isolate at home.
  • Keep 2m distance from anyone you meet during your walk.
  • Do not walk anywhere that you could get in to trouble and require the emergency services.
  • Avoid touching gates, fences etc. If you do, wash your hands as soon as possible.

17 March 2020

You will have seen the announcements made by the Government yesterday evening (Monday 16 March). We have been following Government advice and we continue to do so.  Our top priority is protecting the health of our members, volunteers and staff.  We also want to help suppress the spread of the Covid19 virus.  So, I want to update you on what the Ramblers is doing and what we need you to do. 

Ramblers GB is suspending the following activities from Wednesday 18 March until at least 31 May 2020 – subject to further developments:

  • all group led walks
  • all Ramblers Walking for Health schemes
  • all activities by Ramblers volunteers including training, path maintenance working groups, coach trips and holidays, meetings, group and social events
  • training for Ramblers
  • the Ramblers GB General Council conference due to be held in Bristol on 4-5 April.

Walking independently

Official Government advice states that, apart from people who are in households with symptoms or who have pre-existing health conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19, going for a walk independently can continue and is an excellent way to maintain health and wellbeing - provided independent walkers stay more than two metres from others. 

Please see Public Health England’s guidelines on social distancing.

For anyone walking in more remote areas, we continue to ask them to stay well within their limits, to avoid any need to call on mountain rescue or other emergency services.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About COVID-19

What is Covid-19? 

You can find information on Covid-19 including latest advice from the NHS here.

What’s the best way to minimise the spread of the virus?

You can help to minimise the spread of the virus by avoiding any non-essential travel and social interaction.

Remember to:

  • Catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue and dispose of them immediately
  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly, for at least 20 seconds (or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel if not available)
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell

If you, or anyone in your household experience symptoms, the latest government advice is for you to self-isolate for seven days, plus anyone in your household to self-isolate for 14 days – or seven days from the point they show Covid-19 symptoms.

We recommend keeping up to date with the latest NHS advice.

I think I might have coronavirus – what should I do?

If you have a high temperature or continuous cough (however mild), the latest advice is to self-isolate for seven days, and for anyone in your household to self-isolate for 14 days (or seven days from the point they show Covid-19 symptoms). This means staying at home, avoiding public places and group activities.

If your condition gets worse, you feel can’t cope with your symptoms at home, or your symptoms do not get better, please contact the NHS coronavirus service online, or by calling 111.

FAQs for Ramblers volunteers in group, area and walking roles

Do we need to cancel our group walks and local events?

Yes – Ramblers GB is suspending all face-to-face and group activities from Wednesday 18 March 2020 until at least 31 May 2020.

This includes group led walks, Walking for Health schemes, all training including walk leadership training, path maintenance working groups, coach trips and holidays, meetings, and group social events. All Ramblers face-to-face and group activities must stop until further notice. This applies from Wednesday 18 March, at least until 31 May 2020, subject to further developments. 

Our top priority is the health and wellbeing of our members, volunteers and staff – and we want to do our part to help suppress the spread of the covid19 virus.  We appreciate that many people really value group walking and it is a decision that some people will be unhappy about, however government advice and the health of everyone means Ramblers activities are stopping.

What advice should I give to members and volunteers in my group?

We emailed all members and volunteers on 17 March 2020, to let them know about this decision. It would be great if you can support us by reinforcing the decision and key messages.  If you know of volunteers or members without email addresses, please do share this information with them if you can. This may mean contacting people by phone, if you feel comfortable doing so (You can contact everyone who has given us their phone number to let them know about the cancellation of Ramblers activities).

We will keep you updated with the latest information on our response to the Covid19 virus on this page: www.ramblers.org.uk//coronavirus

Please add a link to this website page (above) onto your group or area website. We recommend using the following text:

From 18 March 2020, all of our group walks and events have been suspended until at least 31 May 2020. Our top priority is protecting the health of our members and volunteers – and given the latest government advice, we want to do our part to help suppress the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Please visit the Ramblers website for further updates: www.ramblers.org.uk/coronavirus

I feel healthy and have no symptoms – can I carry on organising walks and events?

Ramblers GB is suspending all group activities from Wednesday 18 March 2020 to until at least 31 May 2020.  This means that all Ramblers face-to-face and group activities must stop until further notice

Any group walks or events which continue to be organised locally will not be considered Ramblers activities and will not be covered by the Ramblers insurance.

Our top priority is protecting the health of our members, volunteers and staff.  We also want to do our part to help suppress the spread of the Covid19 virus – helping to protect both the health of individuals and anyone in our communities who is at higher risk, including the over 70s, and anyone with pre-existing health conditions.

Please see below for our advice on walking independently for exercise.

How does this affect Ramblers insurance for members and volunteers?

From Wednesday 18 March 2020 – any led group walks, social events or path maintenance working parties which continue to be organised locally will not be considered Ramblers activities. This means that they will not be covered by the Ramblers insurance. This applies from Wednesday 18 March until 31 May 2020, subject to further developments. 

How do I cancel a group walk?

If your group or area has walks planned, there are a few steps you need to take:

  • Get in touch with walk leaders to let them know that all upcoming activities have been suspended. This applies from Wednesday 18 March, until at least 31 May 2020, subject to further developments
  • Add a note to your area and group website, pointing members towards the latest updates on the Ramblers website: www.ramblers.org.uk/coronavirus
  • Cancel any upcoming walks or events on the Group Walks and Events Manager (GWEM)

For more information on how to cancel walks on GWEM, please take a look at the specific FAQs on cancelling group walks. These are in a separate section on the website page above. 

I want to contact a staff member at the Ramblers, how do I do this?

Please contact your local office via email in the normal way.  If you are not sure who to contact, please email coronavirus@ramblers.zendesk.com 
and our team will respond or signpost you to the right person.

We are adding regular updates to the main Ramblers website at 
www.ramblers.org.uk/coronavirus

Are General Council and Welsh Council going ahead?

We have made the decision to cancel the General Council on 4-5 April 2020 in Bristol, in line with government advice.  Welsh Council has also been postponed.

For General Council while the conference elements of the meeting will not take place, we will put in place plans to manage the constitutional business which needs to be transacted by 30 April, including the election of trustees. Further information about this process, along with other information about refunds and expenses, will be circulated to signed up attendees in the coming weeks.  For Welsh Council further information will be sent to attendees too in the coming weeks.

I’m booked onto a Walk Leadership training – is it going ahead?

All Ramblers training events have been suspended, from Wednesday 18 March until further notice.  If you are centrally booked on to a course in the coming weeks, the Ramblers delivery team will be in touch soon with more information.

All local training sessions are considered group activities and must stop until further notice.

What about Walking for Health?

Walking for Health is England’s largest network of health walks with over 360 active walking schemes, helping people across the country lead a more active lifestyle. We’ve done this with great success for over 14 years, improving the mental and physical well-being of thousands of people.

We have taken the decision to cancel all group walks and social activities from the 18 March 2020 onwards – and this includes Walking for Health. This follows the government advice to avoid all unnecessary social contact.

If you have any questions about Walking for Health, please contact the team by email: walkingforhealth@ramblers.org.uk 

Can I still go for a walk independently?

On Monday 23 March, the government announced that people will only be allowed to leave their home for very limited purposes. This includes one form of exercise a day, alone or with members of your household.

If you choose to walk for exercise, we are urging everyone to only walk locally to where you live, in places that you can access without the use of a car or public transport. You should walk alone or with people from your household - and keep 2m (6ft) distance from anyone you pass on your walk, following Public Health England’s guidelines on social distancing.

Avoid touching gates and fences. If you do, use alcohol-based hand sanitiser, and wash your hands as soon as possible for 20 seconds, following NHS guidance.

When walking alone, remember to take sensible precautions: if possible, let someone know where you are going, and the time you are expected back. For anyone walking in more remote areas that are local to you, we ask that you stay well within your limits, to avoid any need to call on mountain rescue or other emergency services.

Remember that if you or anyone in your household has covid-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate – this means only walking within your garden, or on your property. If you are 70 or older and if you have a pre-existing health condition that puts you at higher risk, you are particularly advised to practice social distancing.

Can we carry on with other volunteering activities – independently or virtually?

Some volunteering activities don’t take place in groups, and these can continue - for example, online campaigning, creating volunteer newsletters or developing Ramblers Routes.  

Area and Group committees could also consider meeting virtually, using online tools such as Zoom or Skype.  If you want to know more about connecting in this way, please use google to find out more about these communication tools and how to use them.

 

FAQs for Ramblers Members

Are all Ramblers group walks cancelled?

We have sadly had to take the decision to cancel all group walks and social activities from 18 March until the 31 May 2020. This follows the government advice to avoid all unnecessary social contact. Our top priority is the health and wellbeing of our members, volunteers and staff – and we want to do our part to help suppress the spread of the covid19 virus. 

Does this mean I can’t walk? 

Fresh air and gentle exercise can do a world of good for your mental and physical health

 On Monday 23 March, the Government announced that people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • one form of exercise a day – for example a walk – alone or with members of your household
  • for any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • and for travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary.

We encourage everyone to only walk locally to where you live – so walking in places that you can access without the use of a car or public transport. You should be walking by yourself, or with people from your household. You should not walk with friends or in groups. Avoid busy places such as parks, beaches and beauty spots. You must stay two metres (6ft) away from anyone you meet on the walk.

Do not walk anywhere that could get you in to trouble and require emergency services call-out.

Avoid touching gates and fences. If you do wash your hands as soon as possible for 20 seconds, following NHS guidance.

If you, or anyone in your household has Covid-19 symptoms you must self-isolate, so you can only walk within your garden/on your property.

If you are 70 or older or if you have a pre-existing health condition that puts you at higher risk, you are particularly advised to practice social distancing.

Please see Public Health England’s guidelines on social distancing.

You mention that all Ramblers group walks are cancelled, but my group is still walking

We informed all groups that group walks would need to be cancelled from 18 March following the latest government advice. Any group walks after that date are not official Ramblers walks, you will sadly not be covered by insurance

I don’t agree with this decision

We cancelled all group walks, as we are following the government advice that we should all be avoiding all unnecessary social contact. We understand that not all members or volunteers will agree with this decision, but our top priority is the health and wellbeing of our members, volunteers and staff – and we want to do our best to help suppress the spread of the virus.

Other similar organisations like running clubs are also closing, in line with the advice.

Please see our advice above in respect to walking independently.

If we stay a safe distance from each other, can we not just continue walking?

As an organisation we’ve decided to cancel all our group walks going forwards from 18 March 2020 onwards. Any group walks after this date are not official Ramblers walks, and you will sadly not be covered by insurance.

Please see our advice above in respect to walking independently.

Can I pause my membership? / Are you offering extensions to membership? / Refunds?

We are not offering the options for refunds/extensions/option to pause membership. 

Ramblers membership protects our green spaces, our rights as walkers and helps others to discover the powerful benefits of walking.   

We hope you’ll continue to stand with us as an active member of the Ramblers. 

You’ll continue to receive Walk magazine, access back-copies of Walk magazine, receive discounts on walking gear and have access to independent walks to explore. In the upcoming weeks we’ll provide advice on staying active if you are having to self-isolate, as well as more tips and support on independent walking – which you’ll find on our Facebook page as well as in our regular member emails

At this time, more than ever, as a wonderful community of members we know you will reach out to support each other in new ways, as we all begin to feel the impact of this unprecedent challenge.  

What about Walking for Health?

Walking for Health is England’s largest network of health walks with over 360 active walking schemes, helping people across the country lead a more active lifestyle. We’ve done this with great success for over 14 years, improving the mental and physical well-being of thousands of people.
 
We have sadly had to take the decision to cancel all group walks and social activities from the 18 March onwards – and this includes Walking for Health. This follows the government advice to avoid all unnecessary social contact. Our top priority is the health and wellbeing of our members, volunteers and staff – and we want to do our part to help suppress the spread of the coronavirus.
 

Will Ramblers offices close?

The Ramblers offices are currently closed, so please get in touch with us by phone or email rather than post wherever possible.
 
We’re putting plans and processes in place so that we can continue to provide support to members and volunteers.

Please bear with us over the next few weeks as we get used to the new arrangements – and get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

Ramblers offices

Will Ramblers offices close?

We’re following the latest government updates and NHS advice closely – our offices are now closed with Ramblers staff working from home.  We’re putting plans and processes in place so that we can continue to support to members and volunteers.

Please bear with us over the next few weeks as we get used to the new arrangements – and get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

Please contact your local office via email in the normal way.  If you are not sure who to contact, please email coronavirus@ramblers.zendesk.com.

Specifics on how to cancel walks & events on the Group Walks and Event Manager (GWEM) system

How do I cancel a group walk?

If your group or area has walks planned, there are a few steps you need to take:

  • Get in touch with walk leaders to let them know that all upcoming activities have been suspended. This applies from Wednesday 18th March to 31 May 2020, subject to further developments
  • Add a note to your area and group website, pointing members towards the latest updates on the Ramblers website: www.ramblers.org.uk/coronavirus
  • Check that any upcoming walks or events are cancelled on the Group Walks and Events Manager (GWEM)

Do I need to cancel my walk on GWEM?

We’ve automatically added the word ‘cancelled’ to the title of all walks, until 31 May 2020.  This information will also feed through into the Ramblers app.  There is no need to manually cancel walks on GWEM.   However, we encourage you to update the walk description with any further information that you’d like to share with your members. 

There is a walk that I need to cancel manually – how do I do this?

  1. If you are a GWEM Editor, please log on to GWEM to see a list of upcoming walks for your group. 
    Click on the drop-down ‘Action’ menu to the right of the walk and select ‘Edit’. 
  2. In the next screen (‘Essentials’), edit the title to say ‘CANCELLED’ before the walk name. 
  3. Click ‘Save and next step’, then ‘Save and submit’, and approve your changes in the review screen. 
  4. After approving the changes, add a cancellation reason and click ‘Cancel walk’.
  5. After selecting ‘Cancel walk’, close the review screen. Don’t click ‘approve’, or the walk will go back to active, and you’ll have to cancel it again.

Cancelling walks in this way means they will no longer be visible on the Ramblers app.

Can I add new walks?

You will still be able to add new walks and events to GWEM, and to edit existing walks and events - but please remember that all Ramblers activities have been suspended until at least 31 May 2020. This includes group led walks, path maintenance work parties, coach trips and social events. Please do not add any new events/walks between now and 31 May.   We will add the latest updates and any changes to our website at  www.ramblers.org.uk/volunteer-zone/coronavirus

The person who would normally cancels and edits walks is unable to – can someone else do it instead?

Yes – we can set up a new volunteer to do this role for you.  Please get in touch by email: volunteersupport@ramblers.zendesk.com

Template information for group and area webpages, social media and local communications

Template information for group and area webpages, social media and local communications 

18 March 2020

It’s important that members and volunteers are kept up to date with the news that all Ramblers activities have been cancelled, from Wednesday 18 March, until 31 May 2020, subject to developments.

We recommend sharing a link to our updates page, on all your local communications channels – including:

  • Area and Group websites
  • Social media pages
  • Any upcoming newsletters or local communications to members and volunteers

We will be updating templates and frequently asked questions on a regular basis.  All resources will be added to www.ramblers.org.uk/coronavirus

If you have any questions, that are not on the website above, please contact the team on email: coronavirus@ramblers.zendesk.com


Please use the following text as a template:

From 18 March 2020 to until 31 May 2020, all our group walks and events have been cancelled.  Our top priority is protecting the health of our members and volunteers – and given the latest government advice, we want to do our part to help suppress the spread of the covid-19 virus. Please visit the Ramblers website for further updates: www.ramblers.org.uk/coronavirus
HTML
You can also add a line with local contact details, if you’d like to:

If you have any questions about how this affects [add group/area name] Ramblers, please contact [add details].


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