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Red Cross welcomes Tasmanian investment into prison health and wellbeing

Australian Red Cross is welcoming a $780,000 Tasmanian Government investment into its internationally renowned prisons program ‘Volunteers for Change’.

Originally born from the Irish Prison’s Community Based Health and First Aid (CBHFA) Program, the three-year Tasmanian pilot is expected to improve the health, wellbeing, and safety of prison communities. 

Australian Red Cross Acting State Director Tasmania, Julie Groome says, “Across Australia and the world, Red Cross has seen prison communities become healthier and safer places because of this World Health Organisation endorsed program. 

“We train inmates to become Red Cross volunteers and empower them to take forward initiatives in community-based health and first aid.

“Previous participants have reported improved feelings of confidence and self-worth as well as new skills and knowledge which will help set them up for life after prison.”  

Tasmanian Director of Prisons, Ian Thomas says, “We look forward to working with Red Cross on this initiative to improve the wellbeing of our prison community.  

“Our colleagues around Australia have reported improved communication and relationships at all levels as well as renewed confidence among participants of their ability to make positive contributions both inside and outside of the justice system.”  

The three-year pilot program is expected to begin in Tasmania in early 2022 and will be initially delivered at Mary Hutchinson Women’s Prison in the first year and then expanded to the Ron Barwick Prison, both located in Risdon Vale. 

 Australian Red Cross has previously run Volunteers for Change at St Helier’s Correctional (Muswellbrook, NSW); Townsville Women’s Correctional Centre (QLD); Adelaide Women’s Prison (SA) and Acacia Prison (Wooroloo,WA). 

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