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Partnerships and caring, Restoring Family Links + 'More Homes' Social Lab

3 April 2019

Hi everyone,

Partnerships and caring

Anne Macarthur (VIC DAB Chair), Kate Siebert (Acting Director, VIC) and I recently had lunch with Taylor Hammond of the Gippsland Rural Financial Counselling Service. They were our partners in distributing the drought appeal funds in the Gippsland region. They have such strong relationships with farmers and farming communities in their area. Taylor is such a caring person (as I’m sure are all her peers). She talked to us about farmers in need of support, often at a very personal level. What a tremendous organisation they are.

We have now dispersed 7,288 grants for a total of $10,872,340.68 contributed by Australians to the drought appeal last year. It’s also thanks to the hard work of many at Red Cross and our partners, the Country Women’s Associations in NSW and QLD plus the Rural Financial Counselling Service. Only $626,659 remains for distribution and will most likely be distributed in South Australia.

“I would like to thank the Red Cross and donors to the Aussie Drought Appeal for providing much needed emergency relief over summer, with RFCS Gippsland honoured to distribute nearly $1m so far to farming families in the drought affected regions of eastern and central Gippsland.”  Katie Holmes, Chief Executive, Rural Financial Counselling Service, Gippsland, Victoria.

I think we all realise that despite this support, the drought, and its impacted, is far from over with March recording yet another month of below average rainfall and also the highest March temperatures on record. According to those I talked to in Gippsland, the next six weeks are crucial for rainfall.

Restoring Family Links

The Restoring Family Links Program is the one truly global service delivered by the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. It reconnects people separated due to conflict, disasters and migration and gives people news on the fate of missing loved ones. Sadly the numbers of people missing or separated from family is growing significantly.

We are a lead contributor to this program both connecting families in Australia but also developing and evolving the global program.
Noel Clement is just back from a meeting in Geneva on a new strategic directions for the program. The focus is on better data protection, new technologies, addressing gaps in the network and more prevention and early intervention - helping people maintain family links and not waiting until they’ve been lost.

It’s great to be contributing so strongly to the future of this important service and we’re excited about the really big changes proposed for how RFL is delivered to really meet its amazing potential.

The Constellation Project - ‘More Homes’ Social Lab

Last week The Constellation Project: a vision to end homelessness in a generation kicked off their first ever social lab called ‘More Homes’. It focusses on developing practical solutions to address the shortage of housing in Australia for people on low to moderate incomes, including people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

There were 85 participants who came together from a range of backgrounds; including business, philanthropy, not-for-profits, government and academia. They were all there to answer this ‘challenge question’:

How might we make more than 100,000 homes available to people in Australia who need them most by 2022?

At the end of the day, five out of 10 ideas were chosen:

  1. Unlock capital for affordable housing
  2. Housing solutions for First Nations peoples
  3. Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning
  4. Develop a new model for layered joint Commonwealth, State and Territory funding
  5. Connect supply and demand using existing underused housing.

‚ÄčOver the next three months teams will work to deliver models based on these ideas.

These are truly exciting times and we’re in the thick of developing really great ideas into practical solutions. If you want to know more about this work, you can contact Kerry McGrath, Jenny Brown, Lee Prouse or Ebony Gaylor, who participated in the social lab kick-off event, or reach out to Amber Mackinnon who is leading our investment in this nitiative.

It’s April Pools Day

We know that learning CPR helps to save lives. Children who drown in backyard swimming pools are 50 per cent more likely to survive if given CPR immediately. But did you know that only 38 per cent of people surveyed in a new research say they would know what to do?

So for the month of April, we have teamed up with Poolwerkx to encourage more Australians to get serious about learning CPR. As part of their April Pools Day campaign, throughout the month we are offering free online introductory CPR courses. You can visit any Poolwerx store throughout the country between now and 30 April to get a code word for you to redeem your free course. And don’t forget to spread the word to your friends and families.