Balclutha Branch recognised for over 80 years of service to the community

21 December 2023

Mobilising the power of humanity needs extraordinary human beings.  That’s why every year we recognise the service of our people through national honours and awards. We’re a team of over 500 employees and 9,000 members and volunteers across the motu from Kaitaia to Invercargill.

Over 100 people were recognised for their service in 2023. The entire Red Cross Balclutha Branch received a National Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of their 84 years of service. The award recognises people who’ve made a special and noteworthy contribution to Red Cross.

What we now know is the Red Cross Balclutha Branch started in 1939. The first meeting was held in the back of a drapery shop, where the first branch president put out an appeal for used clothes which were then mended and sent overseas as part of the Second World War effort.

Since its inception, the branch has maintained strong membership and has fully embodied the Fundamental Principles of voluntary service. Over 84 years, the branch has been involved in wide range of activities that’ve had a positively impacted the community.

Their first purpose-built premises, which featured meeting rooms and a Red Cross Shop, were built in the 1960s with the help of the local Lions Club. To this day Balclutha Red Cross continues to operate from this building, which they extended in 2013. The branch has also held the contract to coordinate and deliver Meals on Wheels in Balclutha since 1968.

Since 2014, the branch has raised over $500,000 for New Zealand Red Cross and for programmes in the Balclutha community. In 2022 they funded a psychological first aid course for local high school students.

“This dedicated group of people epitomise the spirit of Red Cross and look forward to being active in their community now and in the future,” said Jane Wilson – Red Cross Area 7 Council Chair.

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