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Women lead in volunteering spirit: Red Cross

Monday May 14, 2007

National Volunteer Week: 14-20 May 2007

Women are five times more likely to donate their time and energy to volunteering than men, according to statistics released for National Volunteer Week by Red Cross in Australia.

Of the 30,990 trained Red Cross volunteers, more than 25,904 are women, dedicating themselves to vulnerable people around Australia in areas including community and emergency services.

Whether it's serving nutritious breakfasts to kids who might otherwise go without or making friendly daily calls to the isolated and elderly, every day in cities and towns across the country, Red Cross volunteers both male and female are helping to improve the lives of vulnerable people by giving something that is becoming increasingly precious -- their time.

And more young people are joining Red Cross through programs like save-a-mate, which offers drug and alcohol education and mental health information to make it easier for young people to support each other, particularly in times of crisis. There are 4267 Red Cross volunteers under 30.

People from ethnically diverse backgrounds are also swelling the Red Cross ranks, helping the world's biggest humanitarian network to deepen its understanding of vulnerable communities in Australia. This leads to stronger services for groups like refugees, asylum seekers and remote indigenous communities.

'Volunteers are a vital part of Red Cross. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people you help, I would like to say thank you,' says chief executive officer Robert Tickner. 'Thank you for providing frontline support to fire fighters during bushfire season, for reuniting families separated by war, for providing first-aid wherever it's needed, and for all the other ways you help every day.'

Red Cross volunteers work tirelessly in cities and towns right across Australia, sometimes around the clock during bushfires and emergencies. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, volunteers in Australia join more than 97 million volunteers internationally, making the Movement the largest humanitarian network in the world.

'Volunteers play a vital role at Red Cross as we work to improve the lives of vulnerable people in Australia and the world,' said Mr Tickner.

National Volunteer Week runs from 14 to 20 May. To find out more about Red Cross in Australia and the world, visit