The following statement has been issued today by the Cornish aid charity Shelterbox in response to concerns about its operations following the removal of its founder and former Chief Executive Tom Henderson.
ShelterBox is deeply disappointed that misleading and partial information has been leaked to the press in recent weeks. As has been made clear on a number of occasions by ShelterBox, an appeal process instigated by its former CEO Tom Henderson is currently underway.
It is our moral and legal responsibility to ensure that nothing is put into the public domain that could prejudice this appeal in any way.
The statement continues:
Very sadly it has become clear that an individual or individuals are running a smear campaign against the Board of ShelterBox Trust. The board members are volunteers from all walks of life that give their time freely to support the work of ShelterBox.
This smear campaign grossly misrepresents the situation and by doing so threatens all that ShelterBox does to save and protect lives around the world. It is clear from discussions we have had with the Western Morning News that the documentation leaked gives a wholly one-sided, selective and inaccurate picture of the circumstances leading up to Mr Henderson's dismissal.
Throughout this difficult period the objectives of the management and board of ShelterBox have centred around integrity, protection of donors money, strong governance and openness and transparency within our legal and moral obligations. The actions of the board are fully supported by the professional senior management team engaged in driving the organisation forward. Professional legal guidance has been sought and followed throughout this process which took place over many months and it is disappointing that those involved in the smear campaign are seeking to damage an organisation and individuals within it who are involved, many on a voluntary basis, to alleviate suffering around the world.
The board was compelled to act in compliance with charitable legislation and informed the Charity Commission of England and Wales of actions taken. We have overwhelming support from our affiliate network. Those who have taken the opportunity to investigate and review the circumstances surrounding the situation fully understand the actions taken by the trustees and remain committed to the ShelterBox mission.
– Emily Sperling, President of ShelterBox USA
As the largest and longest established ShelterBox affiliate, and having taken the opportunity to hear the facts involved in this situation, we are confident that the Board of Trustees has acted with integrity and fairness toward all involved.
We are proud to be working with ShelterBox Trust to provide emergency shelter to vulnerable families. Our cause's long-term interests have been served and we remain focused on helping disaster survivors.
Our operations continue unaffected with our volunteer response teams and partners continuing to deliver much-needed aid to families in Niger, Senegal, Philippines, Haiti and North Korea in the last month alone.
Far from being a charity in crisis, our operations team are ready and able to deliver aid anywhere in the world at moment’s notice.
We are grateful to our volunteers, staff and donors who have been able to see beyond inaccurate and misleading information to ensure we are able to continue our mission unhindered.