What are cookies?
A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a piece of data stored by a website on a user’s computer by a browser, and then subsequently sent back to the same website by the browser.
Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit. They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site.
Why does our website make use of them?
Cookies fulfil different roles within our website. Some are required for site functionality, some allow us to analyse how our site is used and some are from third parties (i.e. Google Maps).
Cookies make browsing websites more efficient, give the opportunity for advanced functionality and also allow our website team to analyse how the site is used (through the use of Google Analytics for example).
Why do we collect data on how visitors use our site?
Firstly, it’s important to note that we do not collect any data that can identify a unique user or collate any contact data on an individual (unless, of course, you volunteer such information via an enquiry form or newsletter sign-up).
We use Google Analytics to track how anonymous users make use of our site. The data we receive allows us to ensure our site remains easy to use, fully functional and gives users, such as yourself, the best possible experience.
Why do we need to outline our cookies and their use?
The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) and UK Government are now enforcing the E-Privacy Directive. The E-Privacy Directive is an EU based directive aimed at privacy protection in a digital environment.
The directive’s aim is to inform and educate web users on what cookies are, which cookies the websites they visit use and what they are for. The premise behind the directive is that users will have more control over their online privacy and gain a greater understanding of any information collected by the website they visit.
What cookies do we use?
As noted earlier, our cookies fall into three categories. Those that are required for website functionality (such as making a donations and buying products), those that allow us to collate and analyse site usage statistics and those that are used by third parties (such as Google Maps).
As noted earlier, you can clear the cookies on your browser by visiting www.aboutcookies.org. You can also block cookies from our website, or any other site you visit, using your browser settings.
Unfortunately, if you chose to take this approach you will no longer be able to view our website as a number of the cookies listed above are critical to the website’s use.
If you would like more information on cookies and the ICO’s directive, please visit the ICO website.