Category: UK

The British Red Cross is there for people in the UK. We can help with a wide range of things, from hiring a wheelchair to getting home from hospital. This mixture of useful information and true stories about our work shares information about our impact on individuals and communities.

Clear out, drop off: why sustainable shopping should be at the top of your 2020 list

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A woman in Bangladesh, who has been helped to start her own tailoring business by the British Red Cross, sits at her sewing maching with clothes she has sown behind her.

© Farzana Hossen/British Red Cross

Fact: almost half of women in the UK admit to owning too many clothes.

We’re calling on everyone to clear out for a good cause, and donate to and buy from our charity shops instead – especially with the exciting launch of our It starts with her appeal this month.

Read on for reasons to shake up your shopping habits and opt for a more sustainable route with us.

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It’s time to listen to young people, like me, on loneliness

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Rhianydd Crawshaw, a university student who felt lonely and felt better after volunteering at a British Red Cross book shop, smiles at the camera.

© Rhianydd Crawshaw

 

When Rhianydd, a 22-year-old student, experienced loneliness, she turned to volunteering for the British Red Cross to find friends and feel more connected. Now, she wants people in power to take this issue seriously.

I’ve always been an introverted person, and I really like my own space. But I also do really like talking and hanging out with people, I guess you could call me an “ambivert”.

During my first year at university, I couldn’t drink alcohol due to medication I was taking at the time, so I didn’t go out and I tended to avoid situations where heavy alcohol consumption would be present. And, during freshers week – that’s a lot!

I’m not saying that was the only reason I was lonely or struggled to make many friends at university, but it was definitely a contributing factor. This led to me spending most of my time alone locked up in my room not talking to anyone. I was miserable.

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Decluttering your wardrobe made easy with these three tips

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Having a wardrobe clear-out for charity makes it onto a lot of New Year’s resolutions list, and this year we have an amazing cause to spur you on.

We’re kicking off 2020 with our It starts with her appeal, where through UK Aid Match, every pound spent in our charity shops on women’s clothes and accessories will be doubled by the UK government until 31 March. Together, we can help thousands of strong women to build stronger communities in Bangladesh.

So what are you waiting for? Find your nearest British Red Cross shop and spring your January resolution into action.

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Small acts of kindness become powerful when tackling loneliness

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A British Red Cross loneliness volunteer and an older man stand in a doorway, smiling.

@Simon Rawles/British Red Cross

As we head into the New Year, and with a new government, it feels like the right time to reflect on how far we have come with tackling loneliness in the UK. We know it continues to be one of the biggest public health crises of our times and its effect is especially important during the festive season.

At the British Red Cross, we see through our services up and down the country how Christmas can be an especially difficult time for people who are living with loneliness. Nonetheless, the good news is that together with our partners, we are making big steps towards a less lonely year in 2020.

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How the Red Cross brought Mada’s refugee family back together

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Mada stands hugging her daughter Hala with the UK Parliament in the background. They were helped to join Mada's husband in the UK through the British Red Cross family reunion programme.

Mada and Hala in London

We always hear stories and see emotional refugee family reunion videos but what are the events that lead to this moment of joy? Today I want to share the full story with you.

In 2012 my beautiful country, Syria, was engulfed in war, wages were plummeting and living costs were sky high. My husband lost his job and we could no longer provide for our family or guarantee their safety.

We were terrified our kids would go to school and not make it back home. Living in such uncertainty and danger is devastating for a parent.

The conflict was suffocating us. We had to leave.

The pain of three years of separation

We made it to Egypt, which was also embroiled in conflict, and political and economic instability. My husband decided to seek safety in the UK and left us there temporarily as he feared the whole family would not make the journey.

My husband made the treacherous and, at times, life-threatening journey to the UK. When we said goodbye to him, I could have never imagined that we would not see his face again for three years.

For those three unbearable years I worked two jobs to provide the basics for my two young children who ached for their dad. We felt so alone.

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I knew how to help my daughter when she was choking

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When Gemma’s two-year-old daughter was choking on a plastic brick, she knew what to do and acted quickly. Here, Gemma recalls what happened, and how a video she’d seen on Facebook helped her save her daughter.

Choking is very common with young children and is a frightening thing for any parent to have to face. But if it should happen, knowing the simple skills to help can make all the difference.

When my two-year-old daughter, Seven, started choking, I remembered a British Red Cross first aid video that I’d recently watched on Facebook and immediately knew what to do.

It was a normal morning and I was at home with my five children.

Suddenly, my eldest daughter, Boo, shouted upstairs that her little sister, Seven, was choking.

I rushed downstairs and when I got halfway down, I saw Seven and could see that she wasn’t breathing.

Her eyes were out like dinner plates, her chest wasn’t moving and she wasn’t making any noise at all.

I suppose I always thought that when someone was choking it would be noisy, but she was just silent.

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Memories of a Red Cross volunteer at Aberfan

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British Red Cross volunteers and others unload supplies from a truck at the time of the Aberfan disaster.

© Media Wales

Episode 3 of the new series of the Crown, which just launched on Netflix, focuses on the disaster in the small Welsh village of Aberfan. In this tragedy, an 800-foot, water-logged coal-tip slipped and fell 500 yards down a mountainside. It engulfed a local school, killing 116 children and 28 adults.

John Cole was one of hundreds of British Red Cross volunteers who helped the local community in Aberfan. Now, his daughter Anna shares his story.

My Mum would say how Dad changed after Aberfan. I recall her saying how he came home after his time there and just sat, staring, dazed and haunted by what he had experienced.

John's Red Cross uniform, now many years old.

John’s Red Cross uniform

Dad was on the scene following the Aberfan disaster in 1966. He was a long standing and proud British Red Cross volunteer, and at just 21, he was one of the youngest to attend. To see the events of that day and the aftermath depicted in The Crown was harrowing and it gave me a sense of what my Dad would have seen and experienced, at such a young age.

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Make your wheelchair the reason you’re fit – not the excuse

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Jordan Jarrett-Bryan plays wheelchair basketball.

Jordan Jarrett-Bryan in action

Jordan Jarrett-Bryan is a former Paralympic GB wheelchair basketball player and sports reporter, Channel 4 News

I struggle to remember a time when I wasn’t active. I’ve always been into sport or at least physical activity, mainly because I’ve always been a hyperactive and competitive person.

Running, jumping, playing football, basketball, rounders: all were things I did daily when I was a boy. It was a huge cause of being an active and healthy young boy, but more importantly a happy boy.

I was nowhere near the fastest in my class at primary school – I remember running made me the happiest, though. As someone with a disability, I can also remember not ever being too conscious about the fact I had an artificial leg.

There may have been times, it may have been uncomfortable, but I refused to not take part in sports.

I don’t use a wheelchair for everyday use, but getting used to one when I first started playing wheelchair basketball was weirdly liberating.

Playing a sport without running and jumping was different, but I was still fast, powerful, moving. Active. It joined two of three most important elements of sports – winning, health and enjoyment.

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