It was a week where many Red Cross people have been remembering our heritage and acknowledging the work we do.
Staff and volunteers marching on ANZAC Day in Katherine. Photo: Katherine Times
Volunteering on ANZAC Day
On ANZAC Day last week, we paid our respects and remembered the brave Australians for their services and sacrifices. Red Cross people marked the day at Hyde Park in Sydney, in Katherine, NT and many other venues across the country.
Volunteers in Sydney were ready as early as 6am and served more than 4,000 biscuits, tea and coffee to the public for free. Governor of NSW, HE General The Hon. David Hurley, AC, DSC, visited the Red Cross marquee and thanked the volunteers for their service.
Australian Red Cross has a long history supporting those who fought in conflicts, starting with the establishment of the ANZAC buffet in the Domain, Hyde Park, in 1916, which provided more than 80,000 returning soldiers and their families with hot meals and comforts during its three years of operations.
Australian Red Cross Board and NSW Divisional Advisory Board
Speaking of volunteer commitment, we had our two-monthly Board meeting on Saturday. The Board is such a critical part of who we are as an organisation and each member played an active role bringing knowledge, wisdom and skills. The Board met on Friday and Saturday in Sydney. The NSW Divisional Advisory Board members also joined on Friday; again a group of people who volunteer significant time and wisdom to Red Cross.
The first session was held at the Young Parents Program in Randwick. This program is unique and works to improve the ability of young parents, aged 13 to 25, to live and parent independently. We heard stories from the parents, volunteers and staff. We also heard about the work of the Wolkara Elders who described it as ‘working together with future elders and the early progress on the delivery of the Irish prison program’ in NSW. All three sessions were good with discussion and questions.
Over dinner, the Board and DAB members heard from David Knowles who heads the philanthropic and social capital team at Koda Capital. He was excellent – he talked about the importance of not-for-profit boards being future focused, externally oriented and taking risks while also keeping close to the mission of the organisation. You can read more the themes he spoke about here - Insights – Preparing for the Future – Preparing for the Future - Do or Die for Non-Profit Boards.
The Board then met all day Saturday with a full agenda covering everything from the changes impacting asylum seekers, the challenges facing the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, our recent responses to disasters in Australia and the Pacific, our financial and operational performance and, of course, the significant changes we’re going through at the moment and much more. The Board also noted the impressive outcomes from Red Cross Calling this year, new initiatives in SA and the NT and our successful accreditation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. As always Shelly, CEO of the Blood Service, also joined for parts of the meeting. Shelly reiterated the growing importance of plasma donations and the new plasma-only centre in Canberra. Also, good news, their amazing 42 campaign has reached 2,167,000 people on Facebook.
Figures from Lifeline Australia show that more than 50 per cent of Australians experience loneliness and that more than 80 per cent think it’s getting worse.
We will be launching the #BeatLoneliness campaign today at a Melbourne esports bar. The aim of this campaign is to bring the issue of loneliness out into the open, start conversations and build a community for those who feel alone and isolated. We are hoping to get lots of sports teams to change their name to ‘Loneliness’ as part of the campaign. Esports gaming team Legacy League – who play Rocket League, a vehicle soccer video game – have already changed their name.
If you’re involved in any team activity, be it on the field, courts, trivia table or online game arena, I encourage you to rename your team ‘Loneliness’ and be the team to beat. Register your interest here.