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Festive campaign strikes a chord

12 January 2018

Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2018 is a year of good health for all Red Cross people and those we work with and support.

Our Season of Belonging campaign, which aims to raise funds for our life-changing work, is on track to reach its fundraising target and, importantly, has broadcast a humanitarian message far and wide.

The campaign was picked up by media across the country and the message really resonated. It raised awareness of the plight of the lonely and, for the first time, we saw positive messages about belonging, connection and togetherness in traditional and social media.

The campaign introduced us to Ken and Chris, client and volunteer from our Community Visitor Scheme, who illustrated how loneliness can creep up on us. And how it’s important to take active steps to combat its debilitating reach.

This has been an amazing team effort and I would like to thank everyone involved in the campaign, from the dedicated fundraising and communications teams that got the message out; from the clients who graciously agreed to have their stories told to the volunteers who keep our lonely company; from the creative photographers who provided us with such great images to the Supporter Services team that worked the phones and banked the cheques.

The Season of Belonging campaign definitely struck a chord.

Register for storm service

As Tropical Cyclone Joyce threatens Western Australia’s Kimberley region, Red Cross has opened its Register.Find.Reunite. service for families and friends to keep in touch.

People affected by an emergency register for the service so that those searching for news of their wellbeing can be notified.

Being separated from family and friends is one of the most stressful things a person can experience during an emergency so the Register.Find.Reunite. service eases concerns and anxiety quickly and effectively.

People can register or look for someone with Register.Find.Reunite. at the  Broome Recreation and Aquatic Centre or on the Red Cross website,

Public holiday options

The 26th of January is viewed in many different ways. It is variously referred to as Australia Day, Invasion Day, Survival Day and Aboriginal Sovereignty Day.

As staff and volunteers of an organisation committed to reconciliation, it’s vital that we reflect on what this date means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and be mindful that it will bring mixed emotions for some colleagues.

This is an opportunity to build our understanding of this nation’s painful history, how it continues to impact First Nations peoples and how we can promote truth telling, support healing and build better relationships.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff will have the option of working on the Australia Day public holiday and substituting an alternate leave day within a two-week period. Leave requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by line managers based upon operational needs.

Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members may also choose to observe the public holiday and some will also use this day as a day of reflection or attendance at various events around the nation.

I encourage all non-Indigenous staff and volunteers to make a special effort to learn more about the history of our country, from the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

And I would strongly urge you to take your own steps towards reconciliation, both as an individual and as part of Australian Red Cross.

If you have any questions, contact your manager or Human Resource Manager.

Extreme weather

Last weekend’s heatwave conditions, where temperatures soared past 40 degrees in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania, threatened to cause mayhem but thankfully no deaths were recorded and fires were contained, despite high winds.

However, power failed to thousands of homes on the NSW Central Coast and in Sydney, giving the Get Prepared message greater emphasis. Being prepared isn’t just about clearing the gutters and knowing where your passport is kept, it’s about preparing for any eventuality, including how to keep cool when your home turns into a furnace.

Red Cross staff were ready to be activated during the extreme conditions and responded to the Murray Bridge Abattoir Fire in South Australia. Red Cross Emergency Services was activated by Housing SA on 4 January to support a Community Information Centre where more than 500 people have come for information so far.

In Victoria, two Emergency Services personnel were deployed to provide psychological first aid to people at the Frankston North Community Centre in response to a bushfire in the Carrum Downs/Frankston area, however, few people visited the centre.

Stay cool and prepared,

Chris Wheatley
Acting Chief Executive Officer