Festival ready? Don’t forget these five festival essentials

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Group of people at a music festival

It’s time to dig out your wellies, dust off your tent and hunt for that hard-earned ticket you spent ages queuing online for. The festival season is upon us.

Whether you’re off to one of the smaller, more intimate festivals, or descending upon the pop-up sensation that is Glastonbury – the festival checklist is always the same.

Wellies: check. Trendy (or outrageous) hat: check. A waterproof tent: well, fingers crossed.

Even if you do forget something, you can usually improvise – ask anyone who’s ever rocked the bin-bag poncho look.

But even so, there are a few small things well-worth taking. Don’t forget these five festival essentials.

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Loneliness: how helping others helped Shuchi feel less lonely herself

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Imagine leaving your friends, family and career, and moving to a new continent. It’s a big adventure, but also scary.

Will you fit in, find friends, make a new life for yourself?

Shuchi, 34, faced all this when she moved from India to London with her husband.

“I suddenly felt very lonely as I moved here,” Shuchi said. “Even though London is very welcoming and I was able to settle down in this new environment very quickly.

“Back in Delhi I had a family group of around 30 people who I would interact with quite frequently. And I also had a large network of friends.

“I didn’t expect moving away… to impact me like this.”

Realising she felt lonely, Shuchi took steps to meet more people, including joining a salsa class, which gave her a lift.

“I would go… to my salsa class, where I would be surrounded by people and I might talk to everyone in the class during those two hours.

But then when it was over, “I would come home and still feel that I was not fulfilled.”

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Here comes the bride: how a Red Cross wheelchair helped cancer survivor Madeleine on her wedding day

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Madeleine and Roy sit on chairs and kiss wearing their wedding clothes. A British Red Cross wheelchair helped Madeleine get around at the ceremony.

Madeleine and Ray, © Emily Snoding/EJ Photography

Survived cancer. Got a wheelchair from the British Red Cross. Made it down the aisle. This is Madeleine’s real-life checklist.

One of the things you can do for your #OneKindThing is help us with our mobility aids service. Our wonderful staff and volunteers get thousands of people moving up and down the UK every day. Last year, we loaned out almost 60,000 wheelchairs.

More than just a practical thing, a wheelchair loan can truly change someone’s life. It represents independence. Hope. Recovery. One person who can vouch for that is Madeleine Wickett.

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Voices against immigration detention: Isabella’s story

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An LGBT+ asylum seeker who experienced immigration detention, Isabella and her friend Joyce stand with their arms around each other at Pride in Glasgow.

Isabella, right, and her friend Joyce at Pride in Glasgow

“I had to leave my family, my country and my life because of my sexuality.”

As a lesbian, Isabella faces restrictive laws and prejudices in her birth country, Namibia, not least from her own father.

“My father believes that if I sleep with a man, I will be ‘cured’ of my sexuality,” Isabella said. She is afraid that if she returns home, her father will force her into an arranged marriage.

Isabella came to the UK in October 2017 to claim asylum. Since then, she has become an active member of the LGBT+ community in Glasgow, where she lives.

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The therapy dog bringing people together

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Up in the Shetland Islands lives a furry friend who’s helping people feel less lonely.

For #OneKindThing, we’ve been asking you to do just one kind act for someone – to surprise them, to help them or to put a smile on their face.

A dog called George already has that box ticked.

Meet George’s owner, Gillian

Gillian Ramsay works as a Community Connector for the British Red Cross. She supports people who feel cut off from their community. And she’s got first-hand experience of that.

Her family moved from Yorkshire to the Shetland Islands 28 years ago. Gillian was a successful businesswoman. Her life was turned upside down when her husband set fire to their home and tragically died by suicide.

Losing her home to a fire was devastating, and her husband’s death was an even greater loss. Gillian shut herself off from friends and family.

Living in a very rural area meant that she barely had any human contact during this time of self-inflicted isolation. She felt totally alone.

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Beyond Panorama: a volunteer’s view of helping people home from hospital

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British Red Cross volunteer John Cooper helps a woman shop for food in a supermarket after she come home from hospital.

British Red Cross volunteer John Cooper helps a woman go shopping after a hospital stay

British Red Cross volunteer John Cooper tonight features in the second part of BBC Panorama’s Crisis in Care programme. 

Here, John explains how and why he supports people to live independently at home after a hospital stay.

I wouldn’t describe myself as particularly remarkable and, before volunteering for the British Red Cross, I had very little experience of working with vulnerable or older people.

I am a retired engineer and project manager who decided to volunteer because I have always been an active person.

I’m nearly 70 myself now and, though I am retired, it’s always been part of my nature to be doing something so I’ve been a volunteer for the last four years.

I’ve learned a lot in that time but it is certainly a challenge because, when people come out of hospital after an illness or injury, they can sometimes be starting from the beginning.

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D-Day: How the Red Cross helped in World War II

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A truck with the words American Red Cross clubmobile painted on its side drives down a ramp from a boat onto a beach in Normandy just after D-Day.

A Red Cross clubmobile lands in Normandy, July 1944

My first impression of the beach is that there were very few people there.

Then, on landing, I could see hundreds of soldiers scattered out and lying flat.

Every now and then a few would get up, run forward and fall flat again. My first shell came whistling in and I hit the sand too…

– Field director, American Red Cross

 

D-Day. Even 75 years later, it brings up strong feelings and, for some, strong memories.

D-Day was the largest seaborne invasion in history. On 6 June 1944, over 150,000 British, American, Canadian and Free French troops landed on the beaches of Normandy in France.

Combined with major Soviet military action on the eastern front, it helped end the war in Europe.

The Red Cross was there, too, and we were involved at every stage, from planning supply chains to caring for wounded soldiers.

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Welcome back to life: Andy’s story

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We’ve been asking you to do #OneKindThing to change someone’s world.

And we know, changing someone’s world can seem like a huge, sometimes impossible, task. But we know it can be done, because of stories from people like Andy and Ian.

Coming home after a tough time in hospital can be quite an isolating experience. Only you know what you’ve been through, and you can feel quite different within yourself. This is exactly what happened to Andy.

Andy’s from Bristol, and he’s living with bowel cancer. After his diagnosis, he had to undergo surgery at the hospital before returning home – which is when he began to feel lonely, and as if he had no one to turn to.

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