Lismore MP Thomas George and Mayor Jenny Dowell listen to volunteers’ misgivings about the Red Cross regional office relocating.
Lismore MP Thomas George and Mayor Jenny Dowell listen to volunteers’ misgivings about the Red Cross regional office relocating. Marc Stapelberg

Anger over Red Cross office move

DEVASTATED, disgusted and unacceptable were words used by Red Cross volunteers yesterday to describe the decision to relocate the Lismore Red Cross regional office to Kempsey.

More than 100 Red Cross volunteers from 22 regional branches yesterday attended a meeting at the Lismore Presbyterian Hall on the fate of the Red Cross office, organised by Lismore State Member Thomas George.

The vast majority of volunteers opposed the move.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell, who was also at the meeting, said the ‘cruel and unreasonable decision’ was made months before anybody was officially notified in May.

“In February a real estate agent told someone in council that the Red Cross site was closing and when I inquired about it I was told, no it is not,” she said.

“Only in the last week or two I have put the pieces together and realised that it was being closed.”

Cr Dowell’s words were met with nods of agreement and tears of frustration as more revelations surfaced.

Red Cross Hands On volunteer Janet Edwards learnt at the meeting her volunteer work at the Lismore Base Hospital may be moved to a local nursing home on a user-pay basis.

“I am so devastated,” Ms Edwards, who has been volunteering for 23 years, said.

“You feel like you have been kicked in the guts. We feel like we don’t have a say anymore.”

When asked about the job losses that will occur as a result of the relocation, Red Cross NSW executive director Lewis Kaplan declined to comment, saying it was a private matter between Red Cross and the individuals concerned.

Mr Kaplan will meet with Red Cross volunteers in Lismore on June 7 at 11am at the Red Cross regional office on Keen Street.

Mr George organised yesterday’s meeting to gauge the volunteers’ feelings.



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