Meet Mel, our ONE member of the month

I’m Mel Williams, ONE campaigner, voter, lover of U2, coffee and Zumba. I work for the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, the British Red Cross. Like many people, I support a lot of causes, and when I can I try to bring organisations together.

Mel (third from left) with members of her local ONE group

In December I organised a World AIDS Day Zumbathon in aid of a Ugandan charity called New Dawn Africa Foundation. It’s founder Seggy Hannington also volunteers for the Ugandan Red Cross and has been featured in a previous ONE blog.  At this event, we recruited a number of Zumba enthusiasts to sign up to ONE.  Many thanks to Zumba Fitness for their support!  My local MP, Bridget Phillipson, also got on board and her It starts with me video is in the ONE campaign’s favourites playlist on youtube.

Last month I organised an International Women’s Day event in my local community in my spare time, managing two stalls – one for the Red Cross teaching first aid to the public, another for the ONE campaign raising awareness and recruiting new members to sign up.

Mel (centre) meeting with Councillor Mary Turton (left) and Bridget Phillipson MP (right) on International Women’s Day.

I would encourage other ONE campaigners not to be afraid to associate more with charities and if your local area is having community events, give the organisers a call, ask if ONE could attend to recruit, they may just let you, and they may give you the space for free too.

Our International Women’s Day event was funded by a local community chest grant from Sunderland Council, which is a fund local people can apply to if they wish to make a difference in their community.  Our local housing group, Gentoo, also sponsored the event. Even with the local government cutbacks, councils will still have some funds, so check out your local area, they may be interested to hear from you.

My local ONE team consists of myself and three young people who started out as Red Cross volunteers and are now proud ONE members.  They came with me in 2009 to the 360 shows and have been there for me every time I call on them ever since: Anthony Penfold, Claire Alice Tindale and Mellissa Murray have done ONE proud.  I emailed Claire the ONE sign up sheet this morning as she has a new job and wants to take it into work to get her work colleagues to sign up!

I wanted to write this blog to encourage others to keep recruiting to ONE, you don’t need to be at a rock concert or in a university group in order to get involved. If you work, if you are unemployed, if you volunteer for charities, ONE is still for you!

If anyone would like advice on getting active, feel free to follow me on Twitter @dragontart and send me a tweet.  Keep up the good work everyone!