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Youngsters takeover British Red Cross management to mark UN birthday

02 November 09
For further information please contact
Henry Makiwa
telephone: +44(0) 207 877 7479, email:, or out of office hours pager: 07659 145095

The British Red Cross senior management team, including chief executive officer, Sir Nick Young, will step down from their top positions on Friday, 6th November, to make room for a dozen young volunteers who will lead the organisation for a day.

The ‘day in the life’ experience is part of 11 Million Takeover Day, where young people throughout the UK are given the opportunity to take charge of organisations. The event marks the 20th birthday of the United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child.

Twelve volunteers aged 16 – 25 will travel from as far a field as Alva, Scotland to the Red Cross’s headquarters in London to step into the shoes of senior management, where they will debate and deal with real-world issues.

Tom Davis, 20, from Keswick, Cumbria is taking over the top job as CEO. He said: “I want to make the most of this fantastic opportunity and make sure I bring ideas to the table on how we get more young people involved in the Red Cross.

“I’m a fierce believer in volunteering and have seen some great outcomes from it,” Tom added.

A Cumbria volunteer of the year winner for 2007, Tom is currently studying Avionic Systems Engineering at the University of Liverpool and has organised first aid training for nearly 700 people over his continuing five-year involvement with the Red Cross. He has also set up after-school programs in Cameroon, Africa, thus bringing some international experience to the CEO role.

Mairi Allan, head of schools and community education, British Red Cross said: “We have selected 12 out of the 4,000 young people who volunteer for the Red Cross take the reigns and it should be a fantastic day. It’s so important that young people can see how decisions are made and contribute their views.

Drawing on the experience and perspectives of our most passionate young volunteers is bound to make a refreshing huge impact.”

The Schools and Community Education department engages young volunteers and provides education materials for schools and youth groups on the humanitarian work of the Red Cross.

On Friday, the group youngsters will take over from all senior roles such as finance director and fundraising director and will have the chance to debate and drive forward the Red Cross’s new corporate strategy, Saving Lives, Changing Lives. They will also make decisions that guide the delivery of services and raise funds and awareness across the UK.

For further information, photography and media interviews, please contact:
Henry Makiwa 020 7877 7479 or out of hours pager 07659 145 095

Notes to editors
The full list of young volunteers taking over British Red Cross management includes: Tom Davis (20) from Cumbria (chief executive), Sophie Block from Kent (director of strategy), Harsha Tailor from Leicester (finance director), Nicole Mooney from Edinburgh (hr director), Sarah Hodgson from Bradford (fundraising director), Melita Gandham from Wolverhampton (communications director), Louise Halpin from Glasgow (director of International), Amy Ryder from Birmingham (director of service development), Nickolas Collins from Newcastle upon Tyne (Northern director), Chris Jeffries from Guilford (South Eastern director), Andy Flemming from Alva, Scotland (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Isle of Man director), and Beau Damen-Young from Gloucestershire (Wales and Western director).

Thousands of young people volunteer for the Red Cross each year 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

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.