The Romanian Aid Foundation
UK Registered Charity Nr 1060828
The Romanian Aid Foundation
Newsletter, March 2010
The first newsletter for 2010 has been prepared and printed copies will shortly be sent out to those on our mailing list. If you would like to be added to the mailing list then please go to our 'Further Info' page using the link on the left. Below we reproduce the text of the newsletter for those who prefer this medium.
As I write the first draft of this report I am in a small village in the far north-east of Romania. The outside temperature is a relatively balmy Minus 5C – a rise of some 20C above that of a week ago. The euphoria of New Year's Eve is over; the TV is announcing the realities of the New Year – fuel prices up by 30%, other prices and taxes to follow suit. A proposed "fast-food" tax, aimed at tackling obesity, is so inclusive that ordinary food bills may rise by some 20%. Romania now imports about 80% of its fruit and vegetables, and shop prices are comparable with those elsewhere in the EU. Conversely, prices for home-grown produce barely cover the costs of transporting it to the markets.
The minimum wage is set at the equivalent of £150 per month, but that only applies to those who have jobs. Towards the end of last year the Romanian government gave many of its public sector employees several extra days of holiday each month – unpaid and largely unwanted. This year, it has simply announced the chopping of 15,000 posts in the education sector. Healthcare is in a similar situation and it is easy to understand why actually getting treatment depends on the ability to pay for it.
It is within this context that the work of RoAF and Asociatia Neemia continues.
Despite the difficult circumstances in the UK throughout the year the RoAF teams in Horley and Lampeter were able together to send out 9 lorries, matching the number in each of the two previous years, plus the van loads from DATO, south Wales and the Isle of Man. Asociatia Neemia also received surplus goods from other charities in Romania and together this actually increased the quantity of aid available at a time when we were expecting a reduction.
Our thanks to Alex Scott who stood in as warehouse manager for three months. This allowed me to spend longer in Dorohoi, looking at ways in which RoAF and AN are addressing the needs of the people that we are helping in Romania. One of the outcomes of this will be a greater emphasis on helping people to help themselves, and we will be working through this in the coming months.
In this newsletter we are concentrating on the UK activities which allow this help to continue. Further details of Asociatia Neemia's achievements will be included in our Spring newsletter.
With many thanks for your interest and support, Steve Humphreys
During the autumn the Horley warehouse was host to three pupils from Oakwood School, as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. Their practical help in the warehouse was appreciated by the team and what they learnt about preparing aid allowed them to pass their Community Service module.
Robert Kidd has helped with the Horley warehouse for a number of years but has now moved away to work in the west country. We are grateful to Robert for all his efforts and eagerly anticipate the setting up of a new branch in Bath.
Finally, it is with sadness that we report the passing of two friends during the past year. Win Woodcock was a loyal member of the Friday packing team and Lesley Tarrant was an enthusiastic packer and caterer on Saturdays. We are very grateful for the contributions that these two ladies made, and for the way in which their families have continued their link with RoAF – Win's son and daughter are both involved in the work (and her son-in-law is Chairman of Trustees) whilst Lesley's husband Steve continues as an essential member of the Saturday warehouse team.
Helping from a Distance
Chris and Ellena Edmonds live in Wales, just north of Swansea. Perhaps how they manage to support the work of RoAF may give you a few ideas if you live a long way away from Horley (or even if you don‘t).
Having put the word out, they receive vast quantities of donated crockery, clothes, toys, etc; some from the local charity shop, which passes on to them things that haven't sold after a couple of weeks, and some from friends and friends of friends through their local church.
About a quarter of what they receive is cherry picked as being the most suitable for the needs of Dorohoi; this they pack up for RoAF and about four or five car loads a year are taken either to Lampeter or Horley.
About a quarter was sold, some at boot fairs and some via advertisements in local papers. Ten boot fairs in the year raised £705 and sales through advertisements raised £85.
About a quarter, textiles that range between rags and pretty worn clothes, is sold to a local textile recycling business for 25p/kg, this raised £60 in the year.
The remaining quarter is taken to the local dump - there is no point in sending rubbish out to Romania – and this quarter of the original amount is much less than what probably would have ended up in the tip otherwise!
Altogether, this makes a total raised in the year of £850, all from other people's unwanted things. Let us know your enterprising ways of helping the work of RoAF, so we can let all our supporters know in order to inspire them !
Deerbolt Aid To Orphans
DATO is an established charity run by staff at the Deerbolt Young Offenders establishment in County Durham. In September they made their second visit to Dorohoi, taking 4 van loads of clothing, toys and bedding for Asociatia Neemia to distribute. They hosted a party for the children at the Centre of Hope and visited some of the families that the two charities help, and managed to see a bit more of the spectacular scenery on their drive across northern Romania.
Click to see more photos from their trip. (link under construction!)
If you live in the north-east of England and would like to get involved then let us know.
Burgers from the Boys...
Financial Summary (UK Activities)
Despite the difficult economic climate, last year's income was some 12% more than the previous year's. Our expenditure in the year was around £29,000, a little less than last year, but the increase in donations allowed last year's deficit to be redeemed and a small balance to be carried forward into the coming year. As usual, the bulk of the expenditure went on transport.
The figures for 2008 are taken from the audited accounts for that year, and may differ from the estimates given this time last year. The figures for 2009 are preliminary and are subject to confirmation.
Transport costs are linked to the costs of fuel and to the exchange rate between the pound and the euro. Transport costs remained fairly consistent during 2009 but we have been advised of an increase in transport costs of around £130 per lorry, with effect from April 2010.
Warehousing costs include the repayment of the previous year’s deficit. Costs are expected to stabilise at about £5,800 during this coming year.
Publicity costs were higher this year; we have invested in some display equipment which allows us to improve the quality of our presentations.
Interest income has dropped, reflecting the wider financial context.
Gift Aid reclaims have increased less than the income from donations.
Many thanks to all those who have made donations of time, goods and money to help this work continue.
Practical ways to help ...
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 make a gift-aid declaration which increases the value of your donation. 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. Having moved into the Furnistore building on the Bridge Industrial Estate (beside the Balcombe Road railway bridge) we have the facilities to sort and pack on a Saturday morning as well. 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. It has become quite usual for clothes to arrive by the carload just as the lorries are being loaded.
Horley depot: Unit 10, Bridge Industrial Estate, Balcombe Road. RH6 7HU
South Wales centre: ‘Oaklea’, Temple Bar, Lampeter. SA48 8BQ
If you live in the north-east of England and would like to help the DATO team then please email our office and we'll put you in touch.
The roaf.org email address is for incoming messages only. It is checked on a daily basis and valid messages are passed to the relevant person, who will then reply directly using their own email address. Any messages purporting to come from the roaf.org address are spam and should be deleted without being opened.
Warehouse manager: Principally, to ensure that the Horley warehouse is open each Saturday, to act as a point of contact for the warehouse volunteers and to liaise as necessary with Furnistore management.
Website technician: Principally; to maintain and develop the RoAF website, under the editorial direction of the Trustees.
RoAF does not employ paid staff in the UK and these posts are on a voluntary basis. If you feel that you could help in either of these roles then please ask for further information.
Joy in a Box, 2009
Some 2,300 boxes were distributed before Christmas, to needy families and individuals, and to children in schools, institutions and churches. The printed newsletter contains an insert showing some of the recipients of the Christmas gift boxes. This link will take you there - link to 'Joy in a Box' site
(dates as at mid Jan'10 but subject to confirmation)
Lorry 2010#01 - Saturday 6th February, from Horley.
Lorry 2010#02 - Saturday 10th April, from Horley.
Lorry 2010#03 - Early Summer Lorry - loading Thursday 6th May, from Lampeter.
Jazz Concert with Dennis Hickman, usually in May or June, at Oakwood School, Horley.
Duck Race - usually the third Saturday in June, River Mole, Horley.
Lorry 2010#?? - Mid Summer Lorry - second Saturday of July, from Horley.
Launch of 'Joy in a Box' for 2010 in July.
Lorry 2010#?? - Target date for Christmas Boxes - first Saturday of October.
Harp Concert with Keziah Thomas, late November or early December, at St Francis's Church, Horley.
Lorry 2010#?? - Christmas Lorry - first Saturday of December, from Horley.
Look out for details and updates
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 Foundation
179 Albert Road, Horley, Surrey RH6 7HS or Oaklea, Temple Bar, Lampeter, Ceredigion, SA48 8BQ
The Romanian Aid Foundation is UK Registered Charity No. 1060828.
Str Spiru Haret nr 9, Dorohoi, Botosani, Romania.
This newsletter is © Romanian Aid Foundation, March 2010.
RoAF can now accept on-line donations towards our work in Romania.
© The Romanian Aid Foundation, September, 2014.