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Our Board, A crucial day + “A white jumper is the thread that ties….”

15 May 2019

“A white jumper is the thread that ties….”

Hi everyone,

World Red Cross day was last week – a day which is about celebrating all that is special about who we are and what we do around the world. It was great to hear the many stories of tremendous contribution by volunteers, members and staff young and old from around the country. One in particular had a deep impact on me. 

Mrs Le, now the patron of Red Cross in South Australia, presented a white jumper to Val Broadbent (SA’s longest serving volunteer and the third woman in Australia to be elected to chair a state division of Red Cross). That white jumper had such meaning because Val gave it to Mrs Le 42 years ago at the Pennington Migrant Hostel where she had recently arrived as a refugee from Vietnam by boat.   

“I was so overwhelmed with gratitude because we came from nothing.”  
“It represented the warmth and generosity we received at Pennington from all those volunteers who were helping strangers”. ~ Mrs Le

You can read the full story here - The Advertiser.

In crisis they care

We had great news over the weekend. Three Australian Red Cross delegates were announced as recipients of the Florence Nightingale Medal – the highest international accolade for nurses. Congratulations to Denise Moyle, Yvonne Ginifer and Cristina De Leon!

Denise, Yvonne and Cristina are among 29 outstanding nurses from 19 countries awarded the medal this year. It recognises exceptional courage and devotion to victims of armed conflict or natural disaster, as well as exemplary service or a pioneering spirit in the areas of public health or nursing education.

A place-based approach to Justice Reinvestment

(From left) Professor James Smith (Menzies School of Health Research), Dr Mick Adams and Stan Law.  

“The conference was educational and it gave us a holistic view to do place-based work. Through the visits to a few universities, we get an understanding of what’s happening around the world. I would like to thank Red Cross for this opportunity and experience representing Red Cross, my community and my people.”
~ Stan Law

Last month, Stan Law (Senior Community Development Officer Katherine & Co-Chair NT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Team) attended the 23rd International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Conference on Health Promotion in Rotorua. Stan was part of a team of nine from NT and presented together with Thomasin Opie from Katherine Justice Reinvestment (KJR).

The conference focussed on a place-based approach to Justice Reinvestment. Stan and Thomasin spoke about data they have collected which shows strong community interest in and support for Justice Reinvestment in Katherine. This data has informed a strategic plan, as well as identifying the economic, social and cultural levers for change. 

Ultimately, the diversion of funding from punitive justice responses towards preventive and early intervention programs will likely reduce incarceration and promote health and social inequities among youth in Katherine.  

Stan also recently attended a meeting with the World Indigenous Group which was made up of people from First Nations around the world. The sessions discussed issues like climate change, community-based approach to health promotion, resilience to mental health, men’s health and social media.

Saturday 18 May – A crucial day

Expect queues, expect debate, expect thoughtful contemplation and expect precise organisation. It is the day on the calendar which many have been thinking about and planning for.

I am of course talking about the Bindaring Clothing Sale which is being held at the Claremont Showgrounds in Perth. 

“It's like an Aladdin's cave, you never know what you're going to find!". Check out the site.

Led by the most remarkable women of the Bindaring membership unit, this event started in 1963 and has become a ‘must attend’ event on the annual calendar. Over 200 members and volunteers make it possible – raising a total of $2m for Red Cross since they began. 

Our Board

Our Board members visited the team preparing for the Bindaring sale when they met in Perth over the weekend.  

Our Board is yet another group of amazing volunteers who commit significant time, knowledge and expertise supporting and governing the Australian Red Cross Society. They are highly experienced individuals and professionals. They provide guidance, diligence, support and challenge in equal proportions which are exactly what we need.

Over the weekend, our Board looked into our community programs and presence across Australia.  Here’s a snapshot.

  • Last year, we worked directly with over 35,000 people and mobilised over 15,000 volunteers. In addition, over 13,000 members continue to support Red Cross and communities in many ways (e.g. local fundraising, in programs and local activities, and building local community connections and presence).
  • We run 45 programs and 162 activities across Australia working with older people, people experiencing disabilities and mental health concerns, families, children and young people, and people impacted by homelessness or the justice system.
  • Our service offerings, with the essential support of our volunteers, focus on practical support to meet immediate needs (e.g. providing a hot meal, shelter), social connection and resilience, support, knowledge and capability building and access to information and referral pathways.

The Board also talked about some of the trends we are working on.

  • Increasing vulnerability and inequality: despite sustained economic growth, the number of people living in poverty has increased and disadvantage is becoming increasingly entrenched. This is demonstrated through: more older people living in poverty mainly due to housing costs, older women experiencing homelessness, impacts of loneliness on older people and increasing rates of elder abuse; more children in out-of-home care (40,549 in 2013: 47,915 in 2017); mental ill-health affecting more and more people (9.8% of the population received Medicare subsidised mental health specific services in 2016/17 compared to 5.7% in 2008/09); increasing homelessness (over 116,000 people are homeless); and increasing number of people in prison for less serious crimes (approximately 18,000 people were imprisoned for less serious offences as of Dec 2018).
  • Widening digital divide: over 2.6 million people in Australia are currently not online and older people are Australia’s least digitally included. With service systems moving online (e.g. My Aged Care, NDIS), and digital platforms being used increasingly for support intervention and social engagement, many people are at risk of being excluded.
  • Prevalence of loneliness and increased social exclusion: experiences of loneliness and social exclusion are impacting more people and those who are vulnerable are disproportionately impacted.
  • Climate change: the increasing number of extreme weather events has a significant impact on those with least resources to prepare and communities and those who are experiencing vulnerability are made even more vulnerable.

These were just a few of the items the Board spent time on over the two days they met.  

That’s all for this week.  Talk to you soon.