ELAR is a Community Interest Company, a form of limited company, registered with Companies House. We are a not for profit organisation – all profits are ploughed back into our activities. We have a committee of six local people who are all volunteering their time and skill to get the company up and running. We have had a magnificent response so far from East Lothian residents and local shops who have agreed to be local drop off points for donated goods and we hope to soon have more. East Lothian Council and Edinburgh Council Community Pay Back Teams have been an enormous help picking up the donated goods and getting them to us for sorting. Lots of volunteers have turned out to help sort out and pack up so much stuff ready for transporting to refugees. So far we have managed to send a full 16 ton truck down to Slough where it was sent in convoys to Serbia and other refugee hot spots. We have sent donations and teams of volunteers down to the refugee camp in Calais known as ‘the Jungle’ a number of times. These were very moving and useful experiences that have given us a much clearer idea about how we can respond to the crisis in future. You can read more about these trips in the section called ‘Our Trips’. We have further trips to Calais and the Greek Islands planned throughout the winter, so please keep in touch with us and carry on helping however you can. Finally many, many thanks for your support – we have been overwhelmed by the donations we have received – and are determined to continue to get East Lothian’s aid to where it is needed most – with your help.
We are a limited company and have six directors who meet regularly and have legal responsibilities to ensure that the business is run correctly. We need to run our business following a clear set of rules and have to carefully account for all of our income and expenditure in a set of annual accounts and annual report which we have to lodge with Companies House.
We are accountable to people who give us money to spend on their behalf. We will always be clear when fundraising what the monies will be used for and our accounts will clearly show how any monies paid to us for a specific purpose have been spent. Many of our funders give us money based on us providing specific outcomes and giving detailed reports. We welcome this scrutiny and will always ensure that all of our stakeholders are provided with all of the information they require.
We aim to be an open transparent community based organisation. We will use our website and social media to share information about our activities. Like any other business much of what we do will go on behind the scenes, not because we have anything to hide but because that is the correct way to run a business and no-one except us is actually interested in all the details. And as we operate only with volunteers (or with a limited staff resource once funding is secured), we simply do not have a resource to engage in detailed discussion beyond our stakeholders.
We, like many community organisations face trial by social media, where uninformed rumours and allegations abound. Our priority is to plough our time into supporting the refugee relief effort and we are unwilling to dedicate time and effort to monitoring internet chat rooms to try to correct inaccuracies and to discuss our plans in detail out on the web. If anyone has an interest in our work we are always willing to chat and explain why we have taken a particular course of action.
We believe that it is vital to work in partnership with other like-minded organisations to co-ordinate the relief effort. We are always open to working in partnership, sharing ideas, resources and information if this will get more aid to more refugees, more quickly. If you are another aid organisation and think that we might be able to share something with you please just ask.