All roads lead to Athlone this weekend
All roads lead to Athlone for Irish Red Cross Youth National Forum this weekend

 The Irish Red Cross Youth (IRCY) National Forum takes place this Saturday 18 November in the Athlone Springs Hotel. This Forum takes place just every two years. It will host workshops on issues such as on “Being an LGBT Ally”, diversity (hosted by the British Red Cross Northern Ireland) and self-development.

The Forum is a chance for youth members from different areas and branches to meet to exchange ideas and best practices. The Forum provides a fantastic opportunity for Irish Red Cross Youth members to learn from their peers abroad as youth delegates from other Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies across Europe will also attend.

Being an LGBT Ally in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement
The Red Cross LGBT Ally progamme is a new project instigated by the National Youth Working Group in response to requests from youth members over the last two years. The Irish Red Cross has received a lot of requests, from current members and from members of the LGBT+ community interested in joining Irish Red Cross Youth, for a programme specifically targeted at them, to help ensure the IRCY is an LGBT+ friendly organisation.

In response to such demand, a new programme – “How to be an LGBT+ Ally” workshop is being developed in the form of a set of lessons youth leaders will be able to deliver to youth members all over the country. Such a programme will focus on inclusive language, understanding and creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for everyone. This workshop will be delivered at the Forum to youth leaders in order to get their input before the programme is finalised.

Election of National Youth Representative
There is also official business to be conducted at the Forum. The election of the new National Youth Representative is taking place on the day. The person who holds this title gives a direct voice to youth members at the Irish Red Cross General Assembly which is the highest governing body of the Irish Red Cross. The candidates have already been campaigning with videos and posters and will also speak live at Forum before votes are cast. The successful candidate will serve from 2018 to 2021.

British Red Cross Northern Ireland Diversity Programme
British Red Cross Northern Ireland will be running workshops about their diversity programme at the Forum. These workshops are aimed at getting people talking about diversity in age, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and how to create a more harmonious society inclusive of all different groups.

The theme of this year’s Forum is “Celebrate Youth” and there will be a number of fun and engaging activities along this theme on the day where the achievements of Irish Red Cross Youth volunteers in the last two years will be recognised.

The Irish Red Cross is about to embark on developing a new strategy and a survey will be sent next week to all members and staff. Our youth members are being given their say too as they will be invited to complete the survey at the forum.

The Youth Forum runs from 9.30am to 7pm.