Since opening three years ago, the charity has run a thriving visitor experience at their headquarters in Truro. In that time, the charity has welcomed over 20,000 visitors through the doors, including many Rotary clubs.
Shelterbox first began as a millennium project by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard, in Cornwall, in 2000, and with support of Rotary members and clubs around the world, ShelterBox grew and in 2012 became Rotary’s Project Partner in Disaster Relief.
Since then, the partnership has helped transform ShelterBox into an internationally recognised disaster relief charity, supporting families with emergency shelter after disaster.
During this new global humanitarian disaster, the vital importance of shelter has been made clearer than ever. The virus is a deadly risk for vulnerable families who have lost their homes to disaster – especially in places like settlements in Syria, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. Emergency shelter can save lives during this pandemic by slowing the spread of the virus. It provides a place to call home, where you can socially distance, wash your hands and share fewer household items with other families.
ShelterBox Chief Executive Sanj Srikanthan said, “We have enjoyed being a well-loved part of Truro for both visitors to Cornwall and our local community. We are enormously grateful for the support we have received from so many people, from our incredible volunteers and Rotary clubs, to local schools, businesses and other organisations.
“However, ShelterBox must take the possible spread of coronavirus very seriously. Our priority must be to protect visitors, volunteers, and our staff as well as considering the safety of the families that we serve around the world. In addition, the reality is that we are unlikely to meet our income expectations for 2020, whilst needs around the world only increase with the additional impact of coronavirus. We must remain focused on our core priorities through these tough times.”
Amanda Watkin, General Secretary of Rotary Great Britain and Ireland added: “Our continued support to Shelterbox remains absolute and difficult decisions have been taken to ensure safety and long term security for ShelterBox. This in turn will enable vital assistance across the globe to be given in times of growing need.”
The closure of the visitor centre is one of a number of measures ShelterBox continues to make to ensure they are working safely and managing costs. Whilst the visitor centre will close, the charity headquarters will remain in Truro.