Volunteer days for a Cornish disaster relief charity

Rachael Bristow, from our marketing team, tells us about how she used her CSR days to volunteer for ShelterBox, a disaster relief charity based in Cornwall.

What is your involvement with the charity?

I have volunteered for ShelterBox since 2011 in many capacities, including as a Response Team volunteer. When a disaster strikes, ShelterBox’s Response Team volunteers travel to the affected communities (often at a moment’s notice) to deliver shelter, tools and other essential items to the families who need them the most. Right now, around 85 million people around the world have been made homeless by natural disaster and conflict and ShelterBox is working to provide emergency shelter to those affected. In 2016 I deployed to Paraguay as part of a 4-person team in response to flooding that had displaced over 100,000 people.

What did you spend your CSR days doing?

I used my CSR days to travel to Cornwall and volunteer on a Response Team Assessment Course. Applicants to ShelterBox’s Response Team go through a rigorous selection process – it is a challenging role that can be physically and mentally demanding so the process to join is thorough. After an interview stage applicants must take part in a 4-day assessment course – if they impress on this assessment they then undertake a 10-day training course to prepare them for deployment.

During the 4-day assessment course candidates take part in a variety of activities that give ShelterBox the opportunity to see how they perform in a variety of circumstances – their communication, collaborative working and problem solving skills are tested as well as how they perform under pressure. I helped to run the activities the candidates took part in and observed them as they undertook the tasks in order to help the ShelterBox Training Team decide who was suitable to take through to the 10 day training course and ultimately join the Response Team.

What do you value at Foot Anstey?

It was fantastic to be able to use my CSR days to take part in the course as a shadow – this is something I would find it hard to do without the benefit of CSR days. They are a great way to use your time and skills to support a local charity – in this case ShelterBox. For me, it was also chance to support a cause I care about but also an opportunity to help me learn new skills and support my personal development.