Pictured: Lyndell Eeg and Karen Williams.

The Yass Red Cross is looking for more active members in the community to join the volunteer organisation this year and knitters to help create ‘Trauma Teddies’.

You may have seen our local Red Cross branch at the Yass Show recently where they spoke to locals about what their membership offers.

Branch Secretary Karen Williams said the branch was established in 1914 so the group wants to continue running it in the traditional way of the last 108 years.

“We’d love to boost our membership,” Karen said. “It’s a wonderful organisation to belong to and it’s a lovely group of volunteers that we have now.”

Although the usually female-dominated not-for-profit is all about “gutsy ladies” doing good, Karen said the Red Cross is an inclusive organisation that welcomes anybody.

“The common element amongst volunteers is their desire to help humanity and to uphold the values of the Red Cross.”

Currently, the Yass Branch has about 20 members on the books, but only some are still active.

The group meets monthly on the last Thursday of the month at 2pm (and has been doing so since 1914) but are quite flexible in their meeting times due to the busy nature of many members schedules, including Karen who works as a midwife.

“I work shift work, so we’ve had to juggle it around on a couple of occasions.”

“We’re an inclusive and flexible organisation and although it’s traditional [to meet at 2pm on the third Thursday], it’s negotiable,” Karen said. “We will respond to whatever our membership requires.”

The next meeting is Thursday, March 24 and all meetings are face-to-face.

“It’s always nice to meet in person in groups and have social exchanges and catch up on what’s going on in people’s lives as well,” she said. “So there’s a social element as well, it’s very pleasant.”

Additionally, Yass Red Cross are looking for locals willing to aid in the Trauma Teddy Gift program, where volunteers produce knitted teddies in accordance with the Australian Red Cross’ specs.

The Trauma Teddies are made available to children in any crisis and sport the notable Red Cross branding.

“We give them out to the dentist, doctor surgeries, ambulances, the hospital. The Trauma Teddy is valid for any crisis situation.”

“We’re looking for knitters,” Karen said. “If some people would like to test or develop or take up the knitting needles and start knitting, they can get in contact with us.”

Keen knitters can find the Red Cross Trauma Teddy knitting pattern online or they can pick up a copy from Pam at Full Circle Serenity. Knitters don’t need to be a member but can work with the Yass Red Cross to knit, stuff, and sow faces on Trauma Teddies.

“We’d like to keep the Trauma Teddy program alive, so we just need some knitters.”

Once completed the teddies can be dropped back to Pam at her store, Full Circle Serenity on the main street.

The Yass Red Cross Open Gardens are set to make a comeback this year on May 1 at the historic Merryville Homestead on Dog Trap Road. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event hasn’t been run since 2019 but Yassites can keep an eye out for more information in the coming weeks.

“Yass Red Cross Branch Open Gardens has always been a big deal in our community and they’re back.”

By Brianna O’Rourke