By Sarah Newton, Rotary Club of Falmouth, and a Member of Parliament representing Truro and Falmouth, United Kingdom
In July, Cornwall-based international disaster relief charity ShelterBox moved its headquarters to Truro, keeping its warehousing and aid-packing base in Helston.
On 10 November, I made my first visit to Falcon House, now that ShelterBox has relocated most if its staff, including its operational and fundraising teams, into my
Truro and Falmouth constituency. The visit was hosted by Chief Executive Chris Warham, my first chance to meet him since Chris’s appointment in July.
In 2013 I was pleased to help arrange a week-long exhibition for ShelterBox in the Palace of Westminster, and a special reception event attended by Ministers and Members of Parliament that led to the growth of donations from more parts of the country.
I am delighted that ShelterBox is now headquartered in Truro. I was interested to learn that this year ShelterBox has provided shelter for over 120,000 people from Haiti to Iraq and Syria, people who have been made homeless as a result of natural disaster or conflict. I very much support their vision to help 1 million people by 2025 and will continue to do all that I can to help them deliver their mission of “no family without shelter.”
During the visit I saw the charity’s visitor centre, which shows the growing range of ShelterBox aid including different types of tents, Shelter Kits and School Boxes. In the Operations room I also had a briefing on current deployments from Operations Manager Alf Evans, and heard about our work preparing to help people fleeing Mosul from Operations Coordinator Sam Hewett, who was leaving the next day for Erbil in Iraq.
I also discussed ShelterBox’s valuable relationship with Rotary, as I am a Falmouth Rotarian myself. Rotary and ShelterBox go hand in glove, an incredibly important partnership. ShelterBox sprang out of Rotarians’ good ideas, what more they could do, and it is brilliant to see that relationship continue year after year and go from strength to strength. Rotary is a global organisation with trusted people in communities all over the globe. It is just a brilliant group of people that ShelterBox can work with in an emergency to get aid to where it’s needed.