Cornwall LivingIssue #94

20 years of shelter

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of Cornish disaster relief charity ShelterBox, in which time it has supported more than 1.5 million people around the world after disaster.

ShelterBox was launched in 2000 by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard. This group of passionate volunteers investigated the emergency items people need and worked to understand transport and logistics. They spoke to manufacturers and found a sturdy box. They then visited the Rotary International Conference to drum up support, the initial hope being to help eight-to-ten families a year, with each box containing a family sized tent, sleeping bags, water purifying tablets, trenching tool and pots and pans. ShelterBox’s first response was to support families affected by the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat, India.

“Innovation is at the heart of this impressive charity’s work, and it’s always searching for ways to improve”

20 years later, ShelterBox has grown to become a respected humanitarian organisation providing emergency shelter, essential items and support to over 1.5 million people across 97 countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, with fundraising teams in 15 different countries. And the charity continues to go further and reach more people by working with a range of influential partners, including the International Federation of Red Cross and the International Organisation for Migration.

The need for emergency shelter is now more urgent than ever. In fact, 88 million people are currently living without shelter after disaster or conflict. But thanks to its supporters and fundraisers, ShelterBox will continue to work hard to meet its original goal: helping families to rebuild after disaster.

Innovation is at the heart of this impressive charity’s work, and it’s always searching for ways to improve. Indeed, ShelterBox teams are always out gathering feedback from people they’ve supported, then working to improve the aid items they provide, including blankets, tents and solar lanterns.

If you’d like to learn more about ShelterBox, its founding story, its aid items and the impact of its work, you can visit the headquarters in Truro. ShelterBox’s Disaster Relief Visitor Centre is fast becoming one of Cornwall’s most unique attractions – welcoming over 9,000 visitors in 2019 alone. Families are sure to enjoy trying to pack a ShelterBox, and interactive exhibits showcase the positive impact of the charity’s work. The best part is that admission is free! Simply head to the website for opening times, then pencil in a visit.



"Innovation is at the heart of this impressive charity’s work, and it’s always searching for ways to improve"