Business As Usual At Disaster Relief Charity

A Shelterbox, containing lifesaving equipment and supplies

Scilly’s Shelterbox promoter, Tim Guthrie, says it’s business as usual for the Rotary-backed charity.

The Helston-based organisation sends boxes filled with tents and life-saving equipment, including water purification kits, to parts of the globe hit by natural disasters. They also train volunteers who are sent to the affected regions.

But recently, Tim says he’s been asked whether the organisation is safe to fund, following internal issues within the Shelterbox board of trustees.

Founder Tom Henderson, who was known to many islanders through his visits, left the organisation in September in unexplained circumstances, with the charity unable to expand publicly on the reason for his departure.

Another trustee, John Banham, also quit following Tom’s exit and the charity alleged a smear campaign had been launched against some trustees.

Tim says this is having an impact on their local fund raising. Only a few days ago, someone who is keen to bequeath a large sum to the charity, rang him to discuss their concerns.

But he says Shelterbox is “as squeaky clean as it ever was,” and people should still consider donating to the charity, especially in the run up to Christmas.

Tim says he believes that the organisation is doing good work and its current problems are part of ‘growing pains’ experienced by the rapidly expanding organisation.

But he says he does feel that the charity’s HQ could be sharing more information with local fundraisers about the recent events, especially as Scilly offers such strong support to the charity.

Islands’ residents and visitors have purchased over 50 of the life-saving boxes.

A spokesperson for Shelterbox said: “We very much value the work of all our donors and recognise in particular the fantastic efforts of the Rotary Club of the Isles of Scilly which has raised more than £50,000 for Shelterbox so far.

“Shelterbox continues to deliver aid around the world and we are busier now than ever with a number of teams deployed in Iraq to work with Syrian refugees, in Cuba and Haiti following hurricane Sandy and Nigeria after severe flooding.

“We are sorry to hear that some of our supporters feel like there has been an absence of information following the dismissal for the former CEO. There has been an ongoing appeal process which has to be allowed to take its course. If in the meantime, if they would like to contact Shelterbox, we will do our best to update them when we are in a position to do so.”



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