We speak to Liz Grant, Rye Harbour Discovery Centre Manager, who gives us an update on what's been happening
It’s exciting that the handover of the Rye Harbour Discovery Centre from Baxall to Sussex Wildlife Trust has taken place recently. What does that mean exactly?
They literally handed over the keys. There are in fact a total of 60 keys for everything! Baxall were kind enough to label them all. Building and safety compliance are all signed off, along with the fire risk assessment. CCTV and all the alarms are fully operational.
We can now start putting in the fixtures and fittings – everything from cups to desks, chairs, phones and everything in between.
There are a lot of clever things in this building - one example is the water heater. It has a ‘learning mode’ so it will figure out when we’re here most and needing hot water.
What news on the café?
The coffee machine has arrived and is up and running. We had an interesting and very caffeinated day of tasting!
We’ve had the first delivery of kitchenware, cups and pots etc.
We have lined up some great local suppliers who will be working with Leah our Café Manager to ensure we can deliver a great menu at the Lime Kiln Café.
The final stages of the café fit out will include the arrival of the café furniture at the beginning of May.
How about the shop?
It will sell wildlife-related gifts. Optics (binoculars), greetings cards, dog treat and gifts, local jams and apple juice. Field study guides, wildlife books, bird boxes.
Will you have ice cream?
Definitely! In a central location so you can buy it from the shop or the café.
And staff recruitment?
That’s going well. The Assistant Manager role has now been filled, as has the Communities and Wildlife Officer post. We’re recruiting for café assistants now.
Are you looking for new volunteers?
Yes, as well as looking forward to welcoming our amazing volunteers back.
Areas covered by the new roles include: welcome, retail, events, wildlife guide and café volunteering.
But there is lots of flexibility, and many back room roles too.
It’s important that people are aware that everyone needs to register, including all existing volunteers. This is to ensure we have up-to-date emergency contacts and medical information.
There will be a mini-induction and update for everyone too, covering Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, the Discovery Centre and Covid protocols.
Tell us about where we are with opening plans?
That’s down to what Government policy is in May. There is the issue of what the allowable occupancy rate will be and how we manage it safely with social distancing. That will be the deciding factor in terms of when, in May, we can open. But we are so looking forward to welcoming everyone, when we can do so safely.