The Red Cross office and Teas Rooms in Keen Street, Lismore.
The Red Cross office and Teas Rooms in Keen Street, Lismore. Jacklyn Wagner

Lismore's Red Cross to close

THE closure of Lismore’s Red Cross branch has upset State Member for Lismore Thomas George and Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell.

The Red Cross announced last week it was relocating its Keen Street regional office to Kempsey as part of the organisation’s new direction for services to focuses on areas with a location disadvantage.

Despite the relocation, Red Cross has promised that local services such as Telecross, first-aid training and the Volunteer Home Visiting Scheme will remain.

Mr George is outraged by the decision and has pinpointed flaws in the proposal.

“I have informed Red Cross about the expressed disgust in the community about the closure,” he said.

“I will be calling a meeting of Red Cross members and the community to discuss the relocation.

“Red Cross has said the services will remain in the area and no jobs will be lost, but I have been told the children’s services at the hospital are finishing and there have been job losses there.

“I expressed concern about what was happening when I first heard about it.”

Cr Dowell, in a strongly-worded letter to the Australian Red Cross, highlighted the role Red Cross plays when the city floods.

“I well know the role that Red Cross staff and volunteers play in both the emergency and recovery phases of a natural disaster,” she wrote.

“Red Cross provides the vital triage and reception services that are heavily relied on by local government, emergency services and our vulnerable residents.”

The Red Cross office will close at the end of the month, but the tea rooms next door to the regional offices in Keen Street will remain open for the immediate future.

Red Cross NSW executive director Lewis Kaplan said that as demand for Red Cross services grew, so must the ‘quality’.

“It will create more flexibility by renting out the rooms from other organisations,” he said.

“The services will remain in the area and Red Cross will hire locations, depending on the requirements.

“Lismore doesn’t have disabled access to its training rooms and the quality of rooms should increase as long as the demand for training programs increases.”



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