Joy in a Box
Romanian Aid Foundation
Within, but still Without
Romania formally joined the European Union on the first of January. There was a great
deal of celebration in Bucharest, with both the President and the Prime Minister
vying to be the most accurate on the countdown of the final seconds. For most of
our clients however, the celebrations were short-lived. The roads may be better
and there is more street lighting, but the EU-imposed harmonisation of taxes
does not extend to a parity of income, so those who cannot meet their bills at
present are simply finding that their debts are rising faster than before.
RoAF is working with its Romanian partners to bring some relief to such people,
by providing clothing, food and some limited help with fuel or medical costs. In
this newsletter we are concentrating on the UK activities which allow this help
to continue. Next time we will look at some of last year's achievements in
New Horley Warehouse
The most exciting news item to start the new year
with is the planned move from the temporary accommodation in Smallfield to a
much larger and more convenient site in the centre of Horley. We plan to sublet
part of a warehouse used by Furnistore, the total area will be around 950 ft2,
enough space to store about a load and a half of packaged clothes and other aid
Furnistore is a Christian
charity primarily involved in making second hand furniture available at very low
prices to those who otherwise would be without. The work covers most of East
Surrey and has been established for a similar time as RoAF. Full details about
the work of Furnistore can be found on their website at www.Furnistore.org.
The key people running Furnistore are well-known and good friends to many involved in RoAF, so we are
looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship as we both work alongside
each other. This will be costing RoAF a little more than the Smallfield store,
however by the time you have read the next piece of news you will most probably
agree that it is the right way forward.
Old Debt, New Encouragement
Those of you who have been part of RoAF for several years might recall the
dispute we had with the council over the rates for the very large warehouse that
RoAF was using back in the early 1990s. Originally we were led to believe we
would receive a 100% discount as our charitable status rate allowance on the
property, although this was never formally confirmed. However after several
years, the council confirmed our charitable allowance as 80% discount, which,
although this is pretty much in line with what a charity like RoAF should
expect, the bill for several years back payment of rates came as a major shock,
as we were under the impression we had a 100% allowance. This total demand was
over £16,000. After much negotiation the council agreed that RoAF should pay
this at £200 per month, which we have been doing for many years. This was, of
course, in addition to the current rates bills for the Salfords warehouse last
With the building in question having been demolished, an approach was made to
the council asking them to review the situation again. At that time RoAF's
finances were not looking very healthy but we felt that it was inappropriate to
ask new RoAF supporters to give when a proportion of their giving went straight
to the council to pay off a seven or eight year old debt that only arose due to
a misunderstanding. Well, the good news is that the £7,100 outstanding balance
has now been written off.
It was back in early November that we were agonising over the size of the area
to take with Furnistore, wanting it large enough to make all the packing,
sorting and storing viable, but small enough to keep the costs reasonable. We
felt it right to go ahead with the size confirmed above even though the cost
would be around £200 per month greater than the cost at Smallfield. Having made
that difficult decision, the very next day we heard from the council, writing
off our £200/month debt.
For those readers who think this is a coincidence, it was indeed a happy
those who believe in prayer might have a different interpretation.
Joy in a Box
Once again at Christmas we had the
privilege of distributing the gift boxes that many supporters had been preparing
during the previous six months. On behalf of the people who received
Christmas gift boxes, we would like to thank the supporters of The Romanian Aid
Foundation in Horley and Lampeter and Mustard Seed in Eastbourne for your
generosity. We were able to distribute over 3,000 boxes this year, to families
and children in schools and churches.
If you want further information about the gift box scheme then
please see our website at www.roafan.org.
for the 2006 photos
Congratulations and thanks to Lampeter Christian Fellowship who raised £2,300 last year to provide
Dorohoi Hospital with a new scanner.
Thanks too to BUPA who donated 17 beds to the hospital earlier in the year
How you can help
To all readers:
We are always in need of clothes, bedding and other items as shown on our priority items list. These can be brought along on Friday afternoons or Saturday mornings in Horley, or by arrangement with the team in Lampeter.
Your financial support is vital, if you are a taxpayer please remember to gift-aid your support.
Your prayers, especially for those working in Romania, are very much appreciated.
To those who live in the Horley area:
We sort and pack at Horley Baptist Church every Friday afternoon starting around 2pm. Once we have moved into the Furnistore building on the Bridge Industrial Estate (beside the Balcombe Road railway bridge) we plan to regularly sort and pack on a Saturday morning as well. This should commence in mid February. Please come along and help.
To those who live a short car journey from Horley or from Lampeter:
Several supporters collect and pack on a small scale using their own garages as a store, and then bring a complete carload to Horley or Lampeter. While the last lorry was being loaded, clothes arrived by the carload to supplement what we had already collected.
To those who live further afield:
The Lampeter team decided to take the plunge last year by purchasing an old lorry trailer in which they now store sorted and boxed clothes. Without the need to transport everything to Horley for storage, they were able to prepare their aid at such a rate as to fill the November lorry to Dorohoi without it needing to call in to Horley for a top-up. If you would like to try and replicate something similar in your area, please give us a call and we will try to help as much as possible.
Vacancy for Telephonist
For many years Vera Bird has supported RoAF, most recently in the role of telephonist. Now she has to stand down and we are seeking a replacement. The job can be done from home and mainly involves responding to enquiries left on our answer-phone.
It's also a good way to make new friends.
Contact us by email if you feel that you could help.
Choral evening, with Crawley
Salvation Army Band
Duck Race - usually
the third Saturday in June.
Jazz Concert with Dennis Hickman.
Look out for details
This newsletter is published on behalf of the
Romanian Aid Foundation and Asociatia Neemia. For further
information or to be added to the newsletter mailing list please use
our response page or write to us using the
contact details below:
The Romanian Aid
179 Albert Road,
Horley, Surrey RH6 7HS, UK;
Aid Foundation is UK Registered Charity No. 1060828.
Spiru Haret nr 9, Dorohoi, Botosani 6850, Romania.
0231 610059; email: Beni_@_roaf.org
This newsletter is
Romanian Aid Foundation, January 2007.
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newsletter: Autumn 2006