2020 has turned out to be an unusual and sometimes worrying year for us all. Due to the implementation of lockdown in March 2020, CCGHT’s office was closed and we have had to adapt to a new way of working. Some of our staff were placed on furlough and many of our planned community events and activities had to be delayed or postponed.

I have been working from home and it has been an interesting experience to say the least!

I am fortunate that I do not have young children to look after or other responsibilities at home. The process has been relatively straightforward, if a little lonely at times. It was surprising just how much we would all miss the office environment, being able to chat with colleagues over a cuppa at teatime or being able to put our heads together to tackle a problem easily and without having to consider phone signal or technical glitches!

As with many people we had to quickly become acquainted with the joys of video conferencing software; comparing the pros and cons of various formats has become a veritable hobby in the last few months. The freezing screens and cries of ‘you’re on mute’ have become a source of daily entertainment. And it has been interesting to get a glimpse into the studies, living rooms or even back gardens of colleagues and contacts. We have been fortunate that we have still been able to meet with a variety of stakeholders remotely and have been able to continue our work to drive activity, outreach and conservation works across our operational area (Causeway Coast, Antrim Coast & Glens and Binevenagh AONBs).

Despite the cancellation of our events programme, we have endeavoured to scale up our digital and online presence, hosting digital events including video tours and talks by our contributors and our first digital booklet launch. It’s been interesting experimenting with filming, video editing and getting to grips with online engagement. We hope to be able to continue this in future and have successfully applied for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to assist in this moving forward.

As 2020 comes to an end we look forward with the hope that we will be able to get back to normal soon and with sincere gratitude to everyone who has engaged with us remotely and supported our work in these difficult times.

Fingers crossed 2021 turns out to be a lot more boring!

Rachael – Project Officer

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