Cardiff University Red Cross Group hosted the first ever National Student Meeting at Cardiff Students’ Union on Saturday 15th October. We saw 17 Red Cross university groups from across the UK represented alongside a number of other Red Cross volunteers, Youth Engagement managers, the Young Leadership team and of course Mike Adamson, the CEO of the British Red Cross. It was an honour for Mike to come and give an inspirational speech at this event; on what a difference we’re all making to the organisation, our local communities and the nation as a whole. We also started a discussion on how the British Red Cross could be improved to help us get our word out there, particularly to MPs on issues which we’re passionate about that affect young people. We were also lucky to have our own VP Societies, Milly Dyer, present a speech on how charity groups can use their union in the best way to be even more of a success. Each university group had an opportunity to speak about what they’ve been focusing on recently, and what they’re planning for the future. It was a great opportunity to share and talk about ideas between us all. Our group were particularly commended on our ‘Help the homeless’ series, and I’ve been promised this will be starting up in most university cities across the UK now! Our last Help the homeless event was held last weekend on Saturday 22nd October where Cardiff University students went out in to the streets of Cardiff to feed the homeless.
The National Meeting also presented some Calls to Action; a #dontstopat999 campaign which is launching officially in November and the International family Tracing service, so keep an eye out for us on campus in the next few weeks! We also saw a number of groups and societies join our networking lunch including Amnesty International Society, Model UN Cardiff, Citizens Advice Bureau and a few other services by the British Red Cross. Red Cross staff held two workshops; one on First Aid training for students and another on effective fundraising. Our social media presence was strong throughout the day, thanks to Duncan Leigh and Emma Pimlott who are on the Cardiff committee. An event on this scale took months of planning and a particular thanks goes to Katie Morgan, who was assigned on an internship to help with the event and is now in the process of setting up her own group at Swansea University. Additionally, this meeting was an opportunity to officially launch ‘Red Cross on Campus’ the national identity that university groups have been awarded, which involves a whole new branding. On reflection, this event showed students that we are part of a much bigger picture, making positive changes by spreading the word and showing others how rewarding volunteering can be. The meeting was extremely well received and will now roll into an annual event hosted at different universities across the UK. It was a privilege for the first to be held at Cardiff.