Category: Volunteering

Help change someone’s world with OneKindThing

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We’re grabbing our aprons, clearing out our wardrobes and starting conversations. We’re getting on our bikes, we’re walking for miles and we’re training for events. We’re donating, supporting, helping.

All to do OneKindThing that makes a difference.

When someone’s going through an incredibly difficult time – maybe the worst situation of their life – even the simplest things can change their world for the better. We all have the power to help a person in crisis.

And when we work together, we are powerful. If we all chose to do one kind thing today, imagine the impact it could have.

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Reuse, recycle and volunteer: three resolutions that will help you, the Red Cross and the planet

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Three British Red Cross volunteers (a man and two women) make a toast with their teacups in a Red Cross charity shop stock room

Volunteers at a British Red Cross charity shop © Anna Gordon/British Red Cross

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?

Many of us have already given up on the resolutions we made only a month ago.

Maybe you are not going to run that marathon after all. Or even walk the dog for five more minutes each morning. Not today, anyway.

It’s easy for good intentions to get lost in everyday life.

But here are three ethical resolutions you can make at any time. And they will help you, the earth, and people who need British Red Cross support.

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Homeless people in Nottingham helped by the sit-up service

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Ruth Salter, a volunteer in the sit-up service for homeless people in Nottingham, holds a rucksack

Ruth Salter, sit-up service volunteer, © British Red Cross

As snow and cold weather blow in across the UK, everyone’s feeling the bite. But people sleeping rough have to face the cold in a way most of us can’t even imagine.

The British Red Cross helps in Nottingham by running a ‘sit-up service’ in partnership with Nottingham City Council, the community protection team and Framework Housing Association.

Sit-up gives homeless men and women a safe and warm place to go when temperatures are forecast to fall below zero.

I’ve been volunteering for the sit-up service since it started last year.

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Terry made life worth living again

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Ken sits next to British Red Cross volunteer Terry, who helps support people in his community, and both are laughing

Ken and Terry, © British Red Cross

“I wouldn’t have cared if I lived or died,” said Ken, 92.

Ken was heartbroken when his wife Ann died after over 60 years of marriage.

Sadly, Ann had developed dementia and Ken was caring for her at home. But in January, Ken was in a car accident and had to spend several months in hospital.

Injuries to his neck and ankle meant he couldn’t walk or move around as well as he used to.

Then, while he was in hospital, Ann passed away. Ken returned alone to the home they once shared.

“It was a very, very sad time,” he said. “I couldn’t see the point.”

“But that was when I met this bright chap, Terry.”

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Birthday presents for the NHS at 70

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An elderly woman and a young woman kiss each other on the cheek and exchange flowers and a wrapped present

We wish the NHS a very happy birthday . Photo © Eva Katalin Kondoros

Mike Adamson is chief executive of the British Red Cross

As the NHS turns 70, over the next month a lot of people will be talking about its health, now and for the future.

There will be calls for sweeping changes.

Some will gaze into a future of technology and innovation. Others will say we should get back to basics.

But really, it’s much more complicated than that.

Of course it is. Even when we celebrated the birth of the NHS in 1948, the Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan at the time sounded a note of caution.

He warned that there would be “no miraculous removal of our more serious shortages of nurses and others and of modern re-planned buildings and equipment…”

These words of seven decades past have a very modern ring.

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Learning lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire

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Mike at Grenfell Tower

Mike at Grenfell Tower ©BRC

Last year was one of the most challenging times in the history of the British Red Cross.

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire and terror attacks in London and Manchester, we responded on an unprecedented scale.

This included raising £28m for the people affected, sorting through 200 tonnes of donations and managing a 24-hour support line. Overall, we helped almost 2,300 people affected by these terrible tragedies.

From this, the Red Cross and other organisations that respond to emergencies have learned important lessons about how we support people in times of crisis. One of these is that all organisations involved in a crisis must work closely together.

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Royal Weddings, Winston Churchill and me

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A plate of cupcakes with brightly coloured icing and decorations, including a picture of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for the royal wedding

© Sunlight Photography/istock

The British Red Cross has played a special part in many Royal Weddings. The celebrations for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no exception. As we get ready for 19 May, peek down the aisle back to the 1960s and hear from the people who were there…

TV’s first Royal Wedding: 1960

The first Royal Wedding to be televised was in May 1960. More than 20 million people tuned in to watch the black and white images of Princess Margaret marrying Antony Armstrong-Jones.

The Red Cross’s Mrs S.H. McFadyen had a ringside seat in Westminster Abbey. She described the vivid colours of the ceremony for a Red Cross magazine.

“H.M. The Queen’s long dress was of vivid blue, that of the Queen Mother was gold lace with a mass of fawn ospreys on her hat.”

Princess Margaret “was in every meaning of the word a Fairy Tale bride, her dress so simple, and her veil off her face. The Duke of Edinburgh talked to her all the way up the aisle.”

Guests included Sir Winston Churchill, who “looked frail, but he was there.”

Mrs McFadyen also described the striking outfits on display in the abbey.

“Some of the hats of the guests had to be seen to be believed, and it was a wonderful sight to see the most gorgeous sari, from India, and the gay costumes worn by representatives of distant lands.”

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Cash grants after the hurricanes: food, clothes and hope for a mother and daughter

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Clair, who received a Red Cross cash grant after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, sits in a chair and smiles

Claire got a Red Cross cash grant after Hurricanes Irma and Maria damaged her mother’s home, ©British Red Cross

“My mum is 83 and has Alzheimer’s. And she’s not mobile. When the hurricane came she hid behind the fridge and we didn’t get to her until morning.”

Claire and her mum live in the beautiful British Virgin Islands.

Normally a Caribbean tourist destination, the islands were hit by three crises in 2017.

First there was major flooding in August.

Then Hurricane Irma, one of the strong hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, hit in September.

Hurricane Maria followed just 12 days later.

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