How a former patient became a volunteer

Carol-Looby-kettle-BLOGWhen she broke her hip, Carol Looby wasn’t just impressed by how the British Red Cross helped her – she vowed to become a volunteer once she was better.

“I love my uniform. I always say to people: ‘Don’t you think it looks friendly?’”

Carol beams with pride as she shows off the kit she wears while volunteering for the British Red Cross’ support at home service in Leeds.

Over the past 18 months, she’s helped more than 40 people at home, often visiting them many times over the course of several weeks.

Her visits enable vulnerable people to leave hospital earlier – and sometimes mean they don’t need to be admitted in the first place. More

Attack of the choking Chinese chicken

Choking-man-BLOGIt sounds like an old joke: what do you get when you cross a Chinese restaurant, a choking diner and a first aid trainer? But luckily, this tale had a happy punchline.

Timing, they say, is everything.

And certainly, if you start choking in public, there are few better times to be sitting opposite a first aid trainer.

Over the years, Sara Hodges has taught literally hundreds of people life-saving skills – including how to help someone who’s choking.

So when her friend, who was facing her in a crowded Chinese restaurant, suddenly took on a surprised look and stopped speaking, she knew exactly what was wrong. More

Queuing for a miracle – thanks to solar power

Kenya-solar-energy-blog.5In one of the driest parts of Kenya, a community is enjoying clean water for the first time with the help of renewable energy.

The scenery shifts dramatically on the road north from Nairobi. The rolling green fields and spectacular views of Mount Kenya quickly give way to the parched earth of Samburu County.

The climate in Samburu County is harsh and the arid landscape gives an indication of the paucity of rainfall in these parts. It is one of the driest counties in Kenya and is plagued by cycles of drought. More

The hottest fashion ticket in town

Dior fashion catwalk show 1954

Sixty years ago, it was the talk of the country: a catwalk so lavish and starry, it would give today’s London Fashion Week a run for its money. And the British Red Cross had a front-row seat.

It’s 1954.

Sixteen models strut through the corridors of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire – past the marble statues, tapestries and keen faces of British royalty.

Move over Harry Styles and Alexa Chung – sitting on the front row of this fashion show were the lofty likes of Princess Margaret and socialite Lady Astor.

In fact, it was a moment that prompted The Telegraph to gush: “Paris came to Blenheim by air and rail…in a cloud of Dior perfume.”

So why did it cause such a stir? More

‘Volunteering landed me a job’

Sarah-Coull-BLOG2Young mother Sarah Coull was fed up with being unemployed, so tried her hand at volunteering – and hey presto, it soon landed her a job. Here’s her story.

After leaving education, I spent a while struggling to find work. Like lots of people my age, I kept trying but the jobs just weren’t out there.

While I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do for a career, the prospect of care work had always interested me. I think older people are often marginalised, which isn’t fair. More

Ebola outbreak – after the quarantine

Ebola-Anna-blogJinna Amara had been ill for several days. No one knew what was wrong with her.

Upon hearing that his cousin was sick, Mustapha Mambu did what anyone else would do – he cared for her and tried to get her treatment.

Mustapha went to fetch his cousin from her home in Kailahun, eastern Sierra Leone, in late September.

He wasn’t to know that she had Ebola. Sadly, three days after bringing her home, she died. But worse was to come.


On the road with bread and blankets: how we helped thousands fleeing crisis in Syria

A boy holds a cardboard box

©Ibrahim Malla/IFRC

Last month, aid workers rushed to help a flood of people forced from their homes by Syria’s crisis. Photographer Ibrahim Malla reveals what happened next.

Thousands of people, most of them women or children, have just arrived in a temporary shelter near Damascus in search of safety. They travelled from nearby towns which were cut off by Syria’s crisis for almost two years. Their escape was only made possible by an agreement between different sides.

People have come with few belongings and need urgent help: food, water, healthcare and warm clothes. I’ve joined a team from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent heading to the shelter to meet these essential needs. More