St Martin’s Man Trains As Shelterbox Responder

Ben Julian (third from right) at the Shelterbox training course

Scilly has raised over £50,000 for the Rotary Club-backed Shelter Box appeal, the charity that dispatches tents packed with essential equipment and shelter to areas hit by natural disasters.

And now, the first islander has been trained to respond to the Charity’s emergency relief efforts.

St Martin’s resident Ben Julian has completed a 9-day course which means he could be called up to go anywhere in the world where the Helston-based aid agency is needed.

There was a long application process before anyone even gets to the 9-day course, including a thorough interview and a 3-day selection weekend.

From Radio Scilly

Ben Julian talks about why he decided to volunteer for Shelterbox

Ben says the final training was ‘gruelling’ and included a background to the charity and a physiological assessment. He said there’s a lot of pressure put on candidates with very little sleep and that ensures they have a group of people who the know can go to a disaster zone and do what needs to be done.

Ben says only 1 in 10 people make it through to that stage.

Many of the volunteers are retired and can go abroad at a moments notice, but Ben says, because of his location and running a business, he will tell the charity when he can respond and when he cannot.

He says they tend to send teams of 2 or 4 people out for a period of around 2 weeks, so people don’t spend too long out in the field.

Ben says he wanted to help because he feels the charity is focused, meets an immediate need and you know where your money is going.

A Shelterbox speaker visited the off-islands last year where he started discussing the application process  and Ben says he couldn’t offer his services to Shelterbox without the support of his wife Zoe, his family and the staff at the farm.

He says he is hugely excited by being able to help.