Support for patient transport, participation in the testing campaign, social assistance for students, the Côte-d’Or Red Cross has been participating in the plan to fight Covid-19 since March 2020. The association has seen its number of interventions and volunteers increase in one year.
This May 8 is the World Day of Red Cross. The French humanitarian aid association created in 1864 now has nearly 1,037 local units in the territory, including 4 in Côte-d’Or in Beaune, Dijon, Montbard and Châtillon-sur-Seine. For the latter, it was necessary to adapt from the first confinement to participate in the plan to fight against Covid-19.
Over the whole of last year, nearly 9,300 hours of interventions were carried out by the volunteers of the Red Cross in Côte-d’Or, in particular with the activation of the departmental crisis unit. facing the coronavirus pandemic from March 15, 2020. Between March 11 and October 1, 2020, 50 volunteers per day therefore carried out specific actions in the field. “We had a lot of activity. In the health context, we were able to modernize and adapt. We noticed an evolution in our actions which allowed us to meet the requirements of the authorities”, explains Christophe Talmet, director ofDijon Métropole local unit.
First logistical emergency, the agents of the association in Côte-d’Or have contributed to the transport of 50 people affected by the pathology or of the homeless to containment centers every day, in particular thanks to the specific arrangement of a minibus. The Red Cross has also participated in setting up coronavirus screening structures in the department. 32 centers were launched between June 7 and October 1, 2020 in the Côte-d’Orien sector. “We have developed equipment that allows us to set up a unit for 400 people in 45 minutes with 10 volunteers”, specifies Christophe Talmet.
Moral support in times of crisis
But with the prolongation of the health crisis, it is also on the social level that it has been necessary to intervene. The association’s regional delegations have notably taken action in the fight against isolation. As a reminder, the actions of the Red Cross with the population fall into 3 aspects: responding to social emergencies, carrying out first aid missions and training the public. In times of Covid, local units continued to intervene with the most vulnerable audiences to respect the first of its prerogatives. “We are working with the most vulnerable on these different aspects”, affirms the president of the local unit of Dijon Métropole.
The association notably launched the telephone platform “Hello how are you ?” which allows isolated people to find someone to talk to and who also provides follow-up for the transport of people affected by the coronavirus and for the distribution of meals. These are 2 volunteers who respond to calls made every day.
At the same time, the association continues to lead marauding every night to distribute meals to precarious people but also to fight against the social misery of isolated citizens in the department. “There is a social dimension around the marauding that goes beyond food distribution. We provide a form of psychological support”, says Christophe Talmet. Each evening, 55 people receive meals provided by volunteers from the local Dijon Métropole unit.
An impact on the youngest
The health and social crisis also pushed the association to turn to new audiences. Among the categories particularly affected by the coronavirus, students. In its desire to fulfill a social mission, the Côte-d’Or Red Cross has also stepped up initiatives to help young people in precarious situations. Several aid banners were inaugurated in 2020 to support these populations weakened by the crisis.
4 “Vesti-boutiques” were opened in Montbard, Châtillon-sur-Seine, Beaune and Dijon to allow those who wish to buy clothes at reduced prices. A solidarity grocery store has also been launched near the Dijon university campus and receives students on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
15% more volunteers
In total, the Red Cross has 518 volunteers and 4 employees in the Côte-d’Or department. For comparison, at the end of 2019, it had 450 volunteers and 2 employees. “People have come closer to us to help us. The number of volunteers has increased. It has allowed us to model and adapt our action on the sidelines of the Covid. We have diversified our actions while preserving our DNA”, confirms Christophe Talmet.
2020 has been a productive year. We had a lot of students who came when their face-to-face classes were suspended.
And if the youngest audiences are among the beneficiaries of the action of the Red Cross, they are also the main vectors of its action in Côte-d’Or. Among the association’s new recruits, a lot of students who have decided to lend a hand. Thus, of the 338 volunteers in the Dijon Métropole section, more than 127 are under 30 years old.“The youth unit is bubbling. There are plenty of innovations and ideas, the youth center is omnipresent”, greet Christophe Talmet.
The challenge for the Côte-d’Or Red Cross is now to keep these new volunteers. Because on average, 30% of volunteers no longer come once their first interventions have been completed.