A message from the Chair and Director
This year World Red Cross Red Crescent Day coincided with the start of National Volunteer Week, and we used both events to celebrate you, our members and volunteers.
In South Australia, we handed out awards, organised morning teas, ran client-centred activities, held the metro zone conference and hosted flag-raising ceremonies. It was all about celebrating the people behind the emblem, on the birth date of our founder, Henry Dunant.
Meanwhile, our transport services continue to grow and are now operating in Riverland and Whyalla. These are key areas where we will be able to work more closely with communities, members, volunteers and partners.
Port Pirie is one of three national sites where we will be piloting a co-designed program to tackle issues of deep social exclusion and, in particular, supporting people with mental ill-health. This supports our collective efforts to ensure people do not fall through the gaps as new reforms are rolled out, such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
We have confirmed funding for a new project focused on working with communities to adapt to climate change. This is the first time we have received funding to undertake climate change adaptation work in communities.
In South Australia, we want to build a culture where staff, volunteers and members work collectively across programs to achieve our Strategy 2020 outcomes. This means we need to increase our engagement with members, volunteers and the wider community. It also means we must offer people more ways to get involved with Red Cross and take local action. Stay tuned for ideas about how you can become involved.
SA Divisional Advisory Board Chair
Acting Director SA
Among the fruit, vegetables and herbs growing in a community garden in suburban Adelaide, something else quite special has taken root.
New friendships are flourishing. Newcomers feel welcome. People who were previously a little cut off are feeling connected.
Under trees laden with olives and among the riotous pumpkin vines, people are coming together to work the soil and harvest the crops with a shared love of nature.
The Kilburn Peace and Welcome Garden began as a partnership between Red Cross and the local Catholic school and parish as a connection point between cultural groups in the area.
“Everybody here is basically the same,” says Luis Arriola, a Red Cross volunteer involved in the project. “We are the same human beings with the same hopes and the same worries. We recognise that and we can be friends and break down barriers and stereotypes.”
Hut offers good cheer
After more than a century, Milang branch finally has a place to call home – one they hope will become a community meeting place.
Since taking over the town’s abandoned netball clubrooms last July, branch members have been hard at work. ‘The bunker’, as the branch initially called it, was a besser brick shell with cement floors and no water connected to the kitchen.
Members, with help from local community and volunteers, have replaced the doors, fixed the toilets, replaced the guttering, painted the building inside and out and put in a new kitchen.
The revamped building is called the ‘Cheer Up Hut’ and is somewhere for people to come for a cuppa and a chat. The hut will be used for trading days – selling clothing, shoes, books and bric-a-brac – as well as for community events and training courses.
Being located at the oval has opened up new opportunities: Milang members plan to offer free tea and coffee on trading days and hot soup in winter.
Despite the new accommodation, Milang members say the branch has already outgrown the rooms. They are trying to raise about $35,000 for another building next to the Cheer Up Hut.
Branch President Bec Holt says members have been incredibly resourceful and achieved so much in such a short time. “None of this would be possible without the support for Red Cross work in the local community. We are so grateful to them.”
Bunnings Warehouse donated a bench and hot water system, while the Rotary Club of Strathalbyn paid for flooring, security doors, screens and the monitored alarm system. Clayton and Milang Country Fire Services, Alexandrina Council and Mitre 10 also donated towards the revamp.
The Milang branch of Red Cross is the oldest operating branch in South Australia and is the third largest branch in Australia.
Mount Gambier flags support
Red Cross has been part of the community in South Australia’s South East for more 80 years. It all began with the founding of the Mount Gambier branch in 1915.
This year to celebrate World Red Cross Day on 8 May, Mount Gambier Mayor Andrew Lee and Red Cross Vice Patron Libby Furner, watched by more than 20 volunteers, hoisted a Red Cross flag in the city’s main street. The flag flew over the city during May.
Red Cross’ Regional Coordinator South East Region, Greg Baxendale, said volunteers come from all walks of life. “We have newly graduated university students to retirees who bring with them a wealth of experience and skills, to corporate sector employees who have made volunteering part of their culture,” he said.
The volunteers come from Bordertown in the north to Kingston on the coast, and many towns in between. “We truly value all our volunteers and appreciate them in whatever capacity they volunteer with Red Cross,” says Greg.
“It was a pleasure to be able to celebrate World Red Cross Day during National Volunteer Week here on the Limestone Coast.”
Contact your local Red Cross office for more information