ShelterBox is taking the possible spread of coronavirus very seriously.
We are implementing precautions and measures to protect our staff and volunteers as well as the communities we work with. We are working hard to prevent the transfer of the virus through our work and to reduce any potential disruption of our support for families after disaster.
Our team is working closely with our travel and security providers, and we are committed to following the advice from the NHS, the Office for Public Health England and the World Health Organisation. Please read the Q&A below if you’d like to know more about what we’re doing.
ShelterBox is taking the possible spread of Coronavirus very seriously.
We are implementing precautions and measures to protect our staff and volunteers as well as the communities we work with. We are working hard to prevent the transfer of the virus through our work and to reduce any potential disruption of our support for families after disaster. Our team is working closely with our travel and security providers, and we are committed to following the advice from the NHS, the Office for Public Health England and the World Health Organisation.
We are working hard to limit the impact the Coronavirus could have on our support for families around the globe after disaster.
Currently our largest and longest running response is helping families displaced by the war in Syria. We work through trusted partners locally in Syria and we will be able to maintain this vital work. There are also many countries around the world that are less affected by Coronavirus and we will continue to support families after disaster in many locations.
Our teams are following the advice from the NHS, the Office for Public Health England and the World Health Organisation. We are working closely with our security and travel providers to make sure we are following all guidelines, as well as taking extra precautions. Any staff or volunteers returning from high-risk countries or who develop cold-like symptoms are being asked to commit to precautionary working from home for two weeks.
In the light of current Government advice, particularly in relation to ‘social distancing’, we are cancelling all talks, presentations and other activities due to be carried out by our volunteers in March and April. We will review the situation on a regular basis and cancel later events if necessary.
If your organisation is continuing to meet and you would like a pre-recorded presentation, virtual speaker or other materials to support you in remaining connected, please get in touch
We are experiencing moderately extended lead times for some of our aid items due to factory and port closures in China. Factories have now reopened so we are expecting these delays to be limited.
We are working very closely with our suppliers to find solutions to the delays, and to put alternative measures in place where necessary. We also have significant quantities of aid stored in prepositioned units in different locations across the world which will help us to keep on being able to support communities after disaster.
It is not yet clear what the extent of the impact of the virus will have on our supply chain. Our Procurement Team is closely monitoring any updates and working to minimise the disruption.
We’re closely following advice from the NHS and Public Health England, and our Visitor Centre currently remains closed until further notice.
Please check the centre’s Facebook page before making a special journey to visit. We will contact any pre-booked groups with as much notice as possible.
During this global pandemic, the need for emergency shelter aid and other essential household items has never been greater. The virus will be even more devastating for families living without robust shelter, in refugee camps without health provision, and where people are already living in cramped, difficult conditions. Communities urgently need tents and shelter kits to help with social distancing. They need cooking sets to reduce sharing between families. They need blankets, sleeping mats and water filters to help them stay as healthy as possible.
Emergency shelter can make a huge difference to families who have already been through so much and are now facing this new and deadly threat.
We are continuing with our work in countries around the world, supporting vulnerable families with emergency shelter and other items to help keep them as safe as possible.
However, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations estimates that charities across the UK will lose about one-third of their income over the next three months. Whilst we have never been more proud of our amazing supporters who provide so much of the funds needed to run our vital work, and despite ShelterBox being a financially stable charity, we are not immune to the economic impact of this crisis which is affecting charities and business across the UK and around the world.
We have a responsibility to act diligently in these extraordinary times. We have to plan for tomorrow, safeguarding the charity, whilst also retaining the ability to support our aid recipients. It goes without saying that we would be doing a disservice to all our donors and aid recipients if we did not take robust and decisive action and look at all options available to effectively manage our spending at this time.
Our Executive Team and Board of Trustees have taken the decision to take part in the UK government’s job retention scheme. We have placed about a third of our team into furlough as part of that scheme. For the remaining team, the large majority will be working at 80% of their hours and salary.
Whilst we do not yet know the full impact that Coronavirus will have on our work or our income, we are hoping that this will be a temporary measure running for the duration of the governments’ scheme until the end of May.
We hope that acting decisively now means we will be in a strong position in future to continue with our vital mission to see no family without shelter after disaster. We remain committed to focusing on the vulnerable people we are here to support.