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Issue:- 11 November 2010


NATIONAL charity Victim Support is launching a campaign to recruit volunteers across the North West who can dedicate a few hours a week to help families bereaved by homicide and road death.  The charity is looking for committed people who can give some time to help their local community and make a big difference to those bereaved by murder, manslaughter and road death by giving emotional support and practical help.

Over the last year Victim Support helped 266 people affected by murder and road death in the North West. The campaign aims to recruit at least 450 volunteers across England and Wales by April next year as the charity looks to step up and extend the support it gives.

As one of the charity’s specialist homicide and road death volunteers, new recruits will be trained to equip them with the skills and confidence needed to help and support this vulnerable group of bereaved people. Volunteers will also be trained to help and support other victims of crime and learn about Victim Support, the criminal justice system and the impact of crime.

Due to the delicacy of the role, the charity is particularly keen to hear from professionals and students who have experience and knowledge of helping people coping with loss and grief. This could include nurses, counsellors, psychologists, coroners, doctors or pastoral workers.

Rose Godkin, a volunteer in Manchester, says:- “Knowing the difference my support makes to families who have had a loved one taken from them by a violent crime and helping them to cope with what’s happened is what makes being a volunteer so worthwhile. It’s challenging because you can never know just how much help they will need. But it’s so satisfying when our ongoing dedication and support helps families find the strength they need to deal with the devastation of sudden and violent bereavement.”

Victim Support Homicide Team Leader for the North West and Wales, Kath Thomas, says:- “This year we launched the first ever national support service specially for people bereaved by homicide. It’s already helped many families across the country. But we need to recruit more volunteers now, to continue to support families in need at this most traumatic time. Our training programme is thorough and helps people learn new and valuable life skills. These volunteers will be inspired, moved and motivated, and ready to take on this demanding but highly rewarding role in our team.”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a homicide volunteer for Victim Support by going online or by emailing them.

Young volunteer from Southport to lead Red Cross for the Day

BRITISH Red Cross senior management team, including chief executive officer, Sir Nick Young, will step down on Friday, 12 November 2010, to make room for 13 young volunteers who will lead the organisation for a day – including young volunteer, Nune Hakobyan, currently living in Southport, who will be taking a over top position at the charity.

The ‘day in the life’ experience is part of Takeover Day, now in its fourth year, where young people throughout the UK are given the opportunity to take charge of organisations, including local councils, schools, police and fire services, newspapers and even shadowing MPs.  13 volunteers aged 16 to 25 will travel from as far a field as Aberdeen, to the Red Cross’s headquarters in London to step into the shoes of senior management, taking part in a special senior management team meeting where they will debate and deal with real-world issues.

Nune Hakobyan, 22, from Armenia but currently living and volunteering in Southport, Merseyside, is taking over the role of director HR and education. She said:- “I think that it is very important for young people to be involved in volunteering and I have always done all I can to help young people”.

Nune is a volunteer from the Armenian Red Cross who has come to Southport for a year through a volunteering exchange programme with the British Red Cross. Here, she is part of a humanitarian education programme where young Red Cross volunteers go into schools to teach pupils about humanitarian values and encourage humanitarian action. In Armenia she was a very active volunteer, organising fundraising events, supporting lonely elderly refugees and refugee children as well as organising summer camps for vulnerable children and teenagers.

Sir Nick Young, chief executive of the Red Cross said:- "I'll gladly step down for the day so that some of our most active and passionate young volunteers can take the reigns. This is a wonderful opportunity for young people to see how decisions are made at the top and more importantly, for us to benefit from the fresh perspectives and ideas that they will bring - it'll be a fantastic day!"

On Friday, the group of young volunteers will take over from all senior roles such as director of finance and director of fundraising and will have the chance to debate some of the key issues facing the Red Cross at the moment, in the UK and internationally.  This year, the Red Cross is also extending the opportunity to include leadership training. The young senior management team will come to London the day before to receive some essential leadership skills training so they are fully prepared for their meeting the next day.

Approximately 4,000 young people volunteer for the Red Cross as emergency response volunteers, in charity shops, in fundraising challenges, supporting young refugees or as peer educators teaching first aid. There are lots of opportunities to get involved with activities in the UK and with short-term projects with other European Red Cross societies.

There is a whole range of opportunities for young people to volunteer in the British Red Cross. To get involved visit:-

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