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Call for Strangford Lough and Lecale AONB Partnership New Members - Application Form

The Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership are seeking new members! Are you committed to conserving and enhancing the Strangford and Lecale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)? Do you represent a local interest group or organisation? Or are you an individual passionate about protecting the AONB?

This stakeholder group of representatives works together to conserve and protect our natural, built and cultural heritage in the Strangford and Lecale AONB. Membership is open to any organisation or individual with an interest in the AONB’s biodiversity, heritage, recreation, or sustainable tourism.

If you are interested in this exciting opportunity to play a part in the management and in protecting and conserving the heritage of the Strangford and Lecale AONB, please forward a completed application form to susan.mcclay@nmandd.org before 12pm 9th April 2021.


COVID-19 Requirements

We are happy to be able to welcome you to volunteering with the AONB and Geopark Team and welcome back past volunteers.

As we now begin to navigate the new normal brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, please be assured that AONB and Geopark Team has been working tirelessly to ensure we can provide you with as safe an environment as possible and the best guidance and advice for your safe return to volunteering.

With the welfare of our volunteers to the forefront of our minds the information contained in on this webpage will guide you through your much-anticipated return to volunteering activities.

We ask that you read it carefully and please understand that the policies and procedures, we have put in place are essential to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission within the volunteering environment and that they are there to keep you safe.

New regimes/guidelines can only reduce the risks so much and we are relying on you, as part of the volunteer team to practice your individual personal responsibility to help us reduce the risk of spread of this virus by adhering to the guidance we have produced.

This webpage will highlight the continued requirements for safe social distancing and enhanced hygiene regimes along with the guidance on how it will impact on the experience you will have.

At all times, current (and updated) Government restrictions and guidelines in place relating to travel, social distancing, hand washing/hygiene and face masks/coverings should be adhered to at all times. We will be updating our guidance regularly as matters evolve and you will be notified of any changes.

Volunteering Activity

We plan to start volunteering activity again and we have adopted an initial conservative approach and have decided that volunteering activities will be restricted to maximum of 6 people per activity. 

We would ask that volunteers bring their own gloves when taking part in litter picks.

For vegetation clearance, volunteers will be provided with gloves at the start of the activity and they will be responsible for taking them home, cleaning, etc. volunteers must use the hand sanitizer provided. 

The area where the volunteering will take place will be divided into zones with the AONB and Geopark Staff member ensuring that social distancing is taking place. Activities will be socially distanced and restricted to a maximum of 6 volunteers.

If the activity is more than a half a day, volunteers will be encouraged to bring a pack lunch.

COVID-19 Self-Screening Declaration

On signing up for a volunteer activity, you will be issued with an online Self-Screening Declaration form. This must be completed and submitted 24hrs prior to attending the volunteer activity.

Anyone who does not return the Self-Screening Declaration 24hrs prior to the time of the activity will not be permitted to take part in the activity.

Every registration to a volunteer activity after the initial signing up is confirmation that your status has not changed. 

If at any point your circumstances change or you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and please contact AONB and Geopark Staff, you must not attend the volunteering activity. .

Individuals are NOT TO ATTEND any activity if any cold or flu symptoms are being experienced, or if you have answered YES to any of the questions on the Self-Screening Declaration. If an individual is experiencing symptoms, you must stay at home and contact your GP for further advice. 

  • We recommend that there is no car-pooling or lift sharing to the volunteering activities for those from different households (this may be subject to change, based on updated Governmental advice). 
  • Volunteers should wash their hands at home. Upon arriving at the site where the volunteering activity is taking place, volunteers should use their hand sanitiser. We ask that volunteers take minimal kit with them. Equipment will be provided to volunteers at the start of the activity and we asked that you do not share your allocated equipment during the activity. If you need something, ask the AONB and Geopark Staff.

There will be a one-way system in operation at the volunteering activity and this will be may be gentle reminders from staff.

  • Once the volunteer activity is finished, please place equipment in designated spot for AONB and Geopark Staff to collect.  
  • Gloves if provided must be taken home with the volunteer.
  • As volunteers leave, they should use the hand sanitiser. 
  • Volunteers should not congregate for any reason.

At any stage you or any member of your household has a confirmed COVID-19 test result or has been in contact with someone with a positive COVID-19 test result the following guidance will be followed:

In the event of an individual testing positive for COVID-19:

  • The AONB and Geopark Officer will take charge of this process and undertake the following: 
  •  Inform volunteers that a case of COVID-19 has been confirmed.
  •  The AONB and Geopark will not identify who the volunteer is, just inform other volunteers a case has been confirmed. 
  •  Inform volunteers that the relevant Public Health Authorities are now managing the contact tracing process and they will be in contact with individual volunteer if they deem necessary. 
  • Provide support to the relevant authorities throughout the contact tracing process. 
  • If a COVID-19 case is identified within the AONB and Geopark Team, no volunteering will take place for a 14-day period from the day that the case is identified.  

For an individual who tests positive for COVID-19: 

  • You will be contacted by a member of the Public Health team to confirm that you have tested positively for COVID-19 and follow guidance
  •  You will be asked to supply them with the names and contact details of those who you have been in close contact with (Contact Tracing
  • You will need to self-isolate until both of the following apply: 1) You have had no fever for 5 days 2) It has been 14 days since you first developed symptoms.   

For a return to the volunteering environment, self-isolate must have taken place for 14 days. This will then be ratified by the AONB and Geopark Staff and you will be informed of a date to return.

For individuals who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID19:  As a guide, close contact can means: 1) Spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person in any setting 2) Living in the same house or shared accommodation as that of an infected person 

  • If you are a close contact, you should restrict your movements.  This means avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible.  During this time, you would not be able to attend volunteering activities. This will last until 14 days after the last time you came into contact with the person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. During this time, you may be contacted by someone from the Contact Tracing team, who will be able to give your further advice. If during this time, you develop COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your GP and start to self-isolate.

The above does not constitute formal medical advice/guidance.  Your GP should be your first and primary point of contact.  They will be in a position to refer you for testing, and/or to give you specific advice on whether you need to self-isolate or restrict your movements.   

At all times, the relevant jurisdiction specific guidelines pertaining to COVID-19 should be adhered to: 



We ask that all volunteers follow this stated guidance for their health and wellbeing and for the wellbeing of everyone.

We look forward to welcoming you all back. Check our events pages to find out about volunteering activities happening in the area.

County Down Seafood - August 2015

This report was produced by tourism specalists BTS, supported by fish industry experts Poseidon Consulting.  It is a market based business plan, commissioned by Strangford Lough & Lecale Partnership (SLLP), with funding from the EU and the South East Area Fisheries Local Action Group (SEAFLAG), to provide economic benefit to the South East Area which includes the fishing ports Portavogie, Ardglass, and Kilkeel.

The analysis is designed to help develop the local market for locally caught seafood and local quality agricultural produce within the area.  The project examines the opportunities, for food tourism in the Strangford Lough and Mourne Mountain destination, building on the concentration of the Northern Ireland fishing industry in the area, the quality of other local food produce and the number and the quality of local eating places across the area.

Conservation Objectives Strangford Lough SAC / SPA 2003

Conservation Objectives provided by the Dept of the Environment as guidance for the managment of the Strangford Lough special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation. These Objectives are due for update and should be taken as guidance only.

Common Seal Research and Management SLMC Report July 1999

This report outlines the Strangford Lough Management Committee's recommendations to Government with regard to common seals as part of its ongoing role to advise on the strategic management of Strangford Lough. In June 1998 the Strangford Lough Management Committee formed a working group to address concerns over the decline in the common seal (Phoca vitulina) population of Strangford Lough since the late 80’s. The Common Seal Research and Management Working Group was asked to produce a report which would give an overview of the status of common seals in the Lough, examine concerns raised in some detail and if appropriate, make recommendations for a programme of action to address the situation.

Children's Thoughts

This is a collection of poems written by local children inspired by their experience on the shore with writer Catherine Charley

Coastal Rowing The Narrows Challenges

In 2014, people living along the County Down coast from Donaghadee to Dumdrum, built nine coastal rowing boats (St Ayles' skiffs) as part of a revival of interest in our maritime and boat building heritage and the development of maritime tourism. Strangers soon became friends and part of a team, pooling their expertise and gaining new skills.

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