As the number of confirmed cases and deaths from Coronavirus in the UK continues to be monitored, we continue to implement measures to ensure the safety of our staff and volunteers during this pandemic. However, there is a need to keep up the great work in order to continue meeting our charitable objectives. We would like to share with you, our supporters, how the Books2Africa Team is adjusting to these unusual times.
First, we suspended our courier collection service for book donations by members of the public in the UK. Although this affected our book donation numbers in April as projected, it however reduce the workload on our paid staff who continued to work during this difficult period to ensure the charity remains operational. Having put measures to ensure adequate social distancing at work, we aim to monitor such measures throughout the month of May with the intention of resuming our courier collections on the 1st of June.
Second, we suspended all volunteering work at the Processing Centre in Canterbury. This means all our UK and International Volunteers have not been allowed to work at our Canterbury site. Although this significantly reduced our processing and sorting capacity, it made it easier for us to enforce government advise on social distancing and minimise the risk to paid staff who would resume working normal hours in May, ensuring our online Charity Shop remains operational and shipments to Africa are dispatched.
Third, our volunteers have been redeployed to support our Education Team working from home on a variety of fundraising tasks as part of our Fundraising Committee, as well as dealing with other aspects of our work such as social media communications, networking activities under the Books2Africa Ambassadors Network, research and administrative tasks. It is our intention to resume warehouse volunteering at a time when it is safer, practical and in line with government advise.
Lastly, our Distribution Offices across Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania are also following the advise of their national governments response to the COVID-19 situation. This includes; closing their doors due to government enforce lock-downs and curfews, self isolating and social distancing within and outside the work environment. Our international and cross-country Books2Africa Team has benefited, more than ever, from already established lines of communications via email and Skype. Sharing our experiences of the current situation from different countries, provides us a bigger picture and informs our strategy going forward.
In summary, having implemented the above measures, our priority is to ensure that our paid staff can continue working in a safe environment, allowing the charity to remain operational, generating income through our online charity shop and dispatching shipments of books to those in need across Africa, for as long as the borders remain open.
Finally, a word of encouragement – Do not be consumed by fear! Stay safe and continue to have faith that this will soon pass and we’ll resume operations fully and stronger than ever.
Thank you for your continued support.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees