“We are a family again”: Syrian refugees start a new life in Glasgow

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Syrian refugees now living in Glasgow, Mohamed, Amina and their five children stand togather and smile at the camera

Mohamed, Amina and their children © Emma Levy/British Red Cross

“We are a family again.”

Amina smiled as she described how it felt to be reunited with her husband Mohamed after years of being apart.

“The children were always asking about their dad.

“I sometimes didn’t know how to explain our situation to them. It was very difficult. I felt I wasn’t living – I was just existing.”

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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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When volunteers become friends: why helping at a Red Cross shop can be more than just a job

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Deborah Simpson-Boston stands with a wooden fence and blue sky behind her

Deborah Simpson-Boston, manager of the Red Cross shop in Shoreham-on-sea © British Red Cross

From mothers and sons to fashionistas – volunteering in a British Red Cross shop is something anyone can do.

Whether you have several afternoons a week to spare, or just a few hours at the weekend, we can use your help.

But for a volunteer and shop manager, working at one of our shops meant even more than just giving their time to a valuable cause.

Deborah Simpson-Boston is 44 and originally from Durham. She became a volunteer at the Red Cross shop in Shoreham-by-Sea in 2015 as a way of helping her manage stress and anxiety.

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You’re not alone in feeling alone

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John Ball knows what it’s like to feel lonely.

His second wife, Marie, died last year. John spent Christmas without his family or friends.

John, aged 71 from Plympton in Devon, knew that Christmas without her would be a difficult and emotional milestone.

“I knew what was coming because I’d already been through it once,” John said. His first wife, Janet, had died when she was just 44 years old.

“I knew how lonely I would feel without Marie. I didn’t want anyone to feel obliged to invite me to Christmas dinner, so I took myself away on a coach holiday to Nottingham.

“Yet simple things like watching people get off the coach in couples as I followed along by myself really brought it home how lonely I was.” More

Three real-life first aid stories where ordinary items saved the day

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Sam Hilton, who gave first aid to a neighbour who was bleeding heavily

Sam Hilton © Chris Bull/UNP

Did you know that you don’t need specialist equipment in order to help someone who is injured or hurt? No, really.

When doing first aid, there are lots of day-to-day items you can use to help someone instead.

Read three real-life first aid stories where ordinary items saved the day and you’ll soon be able to spot items around you should you ever need to help.

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“In the UK there is humanity”: how a young man is building hope for the future

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Three teenage boys play Jenga, a game in which they build a tabletop tower out of wooden blocks, at a group for refugees

A Surviving to thriving project group for young refugees © Dan Burwood/British Red Cross

Seventeen-year-old Hama* prefers not to talk about being forced to flee his home country of Iraq.

Instead, his focus is on his new life in the UK.

“Arriving in the UK, I was born again,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier. There is a lot of badness in my country but in the UK there is humanity.”

Hama came to the UK from Calais last year. He was one of the unaccompanied children transferred here when the “Jungle” camp closed.

Arriving in a new and unfamiliar country was a strange and exciting experience for him.

“I saw the cars drive on the opposite side of the road from my country. It was different and a bit strange for me. That was the sign that I knew I’m in England now. I will never forget that moment.”

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