I was invited by the Red Cross members, volunteers and supporters in Gippsland to talk to them last Tuesday on the subject of ‘Valuing our Past, Planning for our Future’. It is a great topic. You can find the speech I gave here.
I think we can all relate to this – by building on the solid common bonds which have bound us together and being clear about what we will continue to stand for, we can then be curious and adventurous about changing as we move into future. Having this common past and core beliefs gives us the base on which to shift.
We had a great discussion on this in Morwell. We covered a lot of territory. Robots in war. How the emblem is a symbol of safety to those who are new to Gippsland (one of our members who was wearing her Red Cross badge was asked for help in the supermarket). The importance of human connection to alleviate loneliness. The great idea (from one of our NSW members) of using technology to connect the maker of a Trauma Teddy to whoever finally receives it. What wonderful stories that would generate!
This theme - valuing our past, planning for our future - was also part of my time in Tasmania last Monday.
Celebrating Jan Everett who has run our personal alarms service for 20 years.
In Bridgewater we celebrated the 20-year anniversary of Jan Everett who has run our personal alarms service there for many years. We have 1,350 people using the service. It plays an important role in helping people stay in their homes. We imagined a future for this service where people at home could use Siri or Alexa to reach out if they get in trouble, and how many more could we support to stay at home using options like that. We talked about our Community Visitor Scheme and how the team is connecting international students to visit nursing homes given the growth in the number of international students in the area.
Also in Bridgewater we talked about working with partners to expand what’s available. For example a youth social entrepreneur initiative - Young Change Agents - local young people come together to solve an issue that concerns them (eg public transport, family violence). We are doing this in partnership with the Senior School and the Bridgewater Police Citizens Youth Club. We’re also partnering with Workskills to provide internship opportunities to young people, and 'Build Up Tassie’ with Centacare Evolve Housing to work on the social enterprise concept of a car detailing service.
In Mowbray we talked about how they are using cooking to mobilise migrant communities: by training facilitators who can then mobilise many others. In this instance, training people from the recently-arrived Bhutanese community to run a food security program in Bhutanese with their own community. And then linking them with the Heritage Forest Community Garden Tomato Festival.
In Hobart, the Red Cross team have kicked off a ‘Bring More Good’ initiative to mobilise the community. Here’s an extract from the brochure.
“By 2020, we hope to see 2.5 million Australians taking action in their daily lives to make their communities better. From local to global actions, we know that Australians care and want to reduce the suffering of others. While “taking humanitarian action” can sound daunting, it is actually extremely easy! It can be as simple as dropping a meal to your neighbours who just had a baby, making ethical purchases or saying hello to a new person at school. Or it can be move involved, like helping those affected by natural disasters, organising a fundraising event or initiating a regular social chat with someone who needs it. We are asking Tasmanians to bring more good by making a pledge to do something positive to benefit others. Your personal pledge can be anything that helps create a safe, inclusive community or reduces suffering. What will you do?”
Help Aussie Farmers appeal
We’ve had really good response to the Help Aussie Farmers appeal which closed last Friday. We have raised close to $10.8 million – all thanks to the generosity of Australians and to our staff, members and volunteers across Australia who worked to raise funds for the farming communities.
On Saturday, Red Cross president Ross Pinney was in Gundagai in southern NSW with Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove who is the patron of Red Cross, to personally thank the volunteers for their work helping people affected by the drought.
Red Cross regional manager John Porcius said that about $1 million had been distributed so far by the appeal partner, the Country Women's Association.
“The members and volunteers are just amazing. These acts of kindness by the community have certainly brought hope and support to the farmers and their families. While the appeal closed last week, our work doesn’t end here. It will go on well into the future. Thank you to everyone for being a part of this appeal,” said Ross.
Celebrating our Blood Service colleagues and legendary blood donors
Every 24 minutes across Australia, someone is donating blood. Each year, the Blood Service receives a total of 1.35 million life-saving donations. That’s an incredible number!
This week we celebrate the legendary donors who have donated blood and saved lives. Here’s a video of Tom Lonergan, former Australian Football League (AFL) player who is this year’s National Blood Donor Week ambassador, and his story on the gift of life.
Stronger Communities, Safer Children
This week is the National Child Protection Week, which highlights a key message – ‘Stronger Communities, Safer Children’.
This goes hand in hand with Red Cross’ commitment to protect children in our work. We recognise that children have the right to feel safe and well, and to be safe and well, at all times. Protecting children is everyone’s business.
We all have a role to play. The little things we do every day can help to create safer environments for children. Have a read here to learn more about child safety and wellbeing at Red Cross.
I encourage you to check out the range of campaigns, events, and announcements happening this week across Australia, to help prevent child abuse and neglect.
World First Aid Day
Saturday 8 September is World First Aid Day. This year, we’ll focus on educating people on how to respond if they are first on the scene of a car crash.
Did you know that 90% of car accidents in Australia are caused by distractions (including mobile phone), fatigue, speed, and alcohol or drugs? The care provided in the first few minutes of a car accident can make a statistical difference in both mortality and morbidity.
The campaign, titled ‘You Don’t Need a Licence to Save Lives’ will be drawing attention to the rising rate of car accidents and how people like you and me can help if we are first on the scene.
Here’s how you can be part of this campaign:
- Book into a Red Cross first aid training course 1300 367 428 or online
- Ensure that you have a Red Cross first aid kit nearby at all times
- Download the Australian Red Cross first aid app
Applying first aid makes a difference between life and death. I encourage you to take up first aid skills, and download the app if you have not already.
Lastly, we have some very exciting news in the legal team – Bruce Moore was named ‘General Counsel of the Year’ at Friday night’s Law Awards in Sydney. Congratulations Bruce!