A message from the Chair and Director
This year’s World Red Cross Day theme, Celebrate You, recognised that each of us is supporting vulnerable people and helping create a fairer and more accepting society. Some of you volunteer, others fundraise, some take on governance or leadership roles, and others make sure branch meetings are well catered. Your contribution is important and means Red Cross can help the people who are most in need.
In New South Wales this year, our World Red Cross Day celebrations were held in Albury and more than 200 people attended, including our President, Michael Legge, AM, and CEO, Judy Slatyer. Congratulations to those who received awards as part of the event, as well as to everyone who contributed to the day’s success.
Zone conference season is fast approaching and we look forward to celebrating your regional contributions and achievements. We rely on the work of all of you to help us reach our Strategy 2020 goal of 2.5 million people taking voluntary humanitarian action with Australian Red Cross to help others.
Zone representatives have been workshopping this outcome and developing ideas to contribute on a local level. Your contributions and ideas are valued and we encourage you to identify what action you can take as a branch, member or volunteer.
Please also mark 13 October in your diary; this is the date of our state AGM. This will be held in Sydney, venue to be confirmed, from 4-6pm.
NSW Divisional Advisory Board Chair
Get in the know, Casino
When emergency services volunteer Maureen Lynch saw a need for people in her community of Casino in northern NSW to be better prepared for disasters, she decided to do something.
Maureen, our Emergency Services’ Casino Team Leader, organised a community-led event called ‘Get In The Know Casino’ to ensure people were more informed and prepared for natural disasters and severe weather events.
She worked hard to get the community involved, from helping with planning to donating goods and services to taking part on the day. Highlights of the event included a preparedness performance by a group called Drama in Rural Towns and opportunities for people to share knowledge and experiences unique to the Richmond Valley.
There were also displays from organisations such as State Emergency Services, Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue, Police and Red Cross, Casino Hospital, local lands services and Rural Adversity Mental Health.
‘Get in the Know Casino’ is another great example of the work of our Emergency Services volunteers.
Telecross rings in 35 years on Central Coast
Thousands of Central Coast residents have benefited from our Telecross phone service.
Through the program, Red Cross volunteers make daily calls to isolated older people to check they are okay. The service provides social contact plus peace of mind for families, some of whom live far away or cannot check on their elderly relatives every day.
Red Cross’ Director NSW/ACT Jody Broun says the value of the service has been proven many times. “There have been cases where clients have not answered their call and, upon investigation, found to be seriously ill, injured or facing a potentially life-threatening situation. Telecross is a vital link in the chain of care for the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Michelle Hinwood has been a Central Coast Telecross volunteer since the service began. “I was involved with Neighbourhood Watch in the 80s and saw the need for keeping an eye on elderly people,” she says. “You get to know the clients, they love it and you also become more interested in the community.”
Jody says an increasing number of elderly and isolated people who are in need of a daily wellbeing check live on the Central Coast.
Today, Central Coast volunteers make daily phone calls to 135 Telecross clients. Many more residents receive calls from volunteers in our Sydney and Newcastle call centres.
Simply volunteer with friends
NSW university clubs have been looking at new ways to support volunteering this semester.
Often our university club members find it difficult to volunteer because of their timetables and work and social commitments. To solve this problem, we are trialling a simplified on-boarding process, starting with short-term and one-off opportunities to volunteer.
The trial was used to recruit volunteers for Anzac Day commemorations in Hyde Park in Sydney. About 50 young people helping to serve refreshments and chat to veterans and the public throughout the day.
The volunteers said the streamlined process was much simpler and the benefits included being able to volunteer with friends at times that fit with their other commitments.
Now we are looking at increasing the number of volunteering opportunities available to young people throughout the year. We hope to expand the trial to other universities in 2018.
Celebrating World Red Cross Day in Albury
Tradition got a shake up in NSW this year, with our World Red Cross Day divisional celebrations moved from Sydney to the regional city of Albury for the first time.
The move was part of the NSW Divisional Advisory Board’s commitment to greater engagement with regional members and volunteers.
Among the guest speakers were Australian Red Cross President Michael Legge, AM, and CEO Judy Slatyer. Michael talked about how important members and volunteers are to our success while Judy shared her vision of Red Cross’ growth and sustainability.
Albury resident Nicci Riley spoke to the 200-strong crowd about her time volunteering with Red Cross in Bhutan.
The celebrations, which were held at the Albury Commercial Club, included the presentation of service awards to Red Cross people. The Albury branch was recognised for its work with the Hands On program, which supports isolated people living in aged care facilities.
Afterwards some of the attendees met to discuss diversifying the member and volunteer base through partnerships with Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Contact your local Red Cross office for more information