Laura Oakley

Laura Oakley

Laura brings you all the latest stories from the British Red Cross' work across the UK – from emergency response to health and social care – as well as West and Central Africa.

Posts by Laura Oakley:

Learning baby first aid with The Last Leg’s Alex Brooker

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Alex Brooker learning first aid

As a co-host on Channel 4’s The Last Leg, Alex Brooker has no fear of live TV. But he felt less confident about being able to help his six-month-old daughter in a first aid emergency.

“Our baby’s weaning now and I’m a massive worrier. Every little thing I worry about,” he said.

To ease those concerns, Alex took part in a British Red Cross group first aid course so that he could learn with his friends and family – and he’s really pleased he did.

To mark World First Aid Day, come and learn first aid with Alex.

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Hurricane Irma: pictures from the devastation

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British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma

Credit: British Red Cross

By Kevin Studds, British Red Cross country manager for our overseas branches

Hurricane Irma is the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. As it continues its path across the Caribbean, the extent of the devastation is starting to become clear.

So far, the islands of St Martin and Barbuda have borne the brunt of the storm. But also affected are the British Overseas Territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands where the British Red Cross has branches.

With Hurricane Jose following close behind in Irma’s path, the concern for those caught up in the north-east Caribbean heightens.

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World First Aid Day: learn how to help a choking baby or child in minutes

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First aid for a choking baby

New research from the British Red Cross has revealed that three out of four parents in the UK would not be able to save their baby from choking.*

But helping a baby or child who is choking is much simpler than you might think. In fact, you can learn how in just a few minutes.

To mark World First Aid Day on 9 September, we’re calling on anyone who looks after little ones to learn this life-saving skill, and encourage others to by wrapping your social media profile picture with our “I can save a life” pledge.

Keep reading and you’ll be ready to save a life in no time.

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Day of the disappeared: see the moment loved ones are reunited

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Mohammdau waits to board a flight

Mohammadu waits to board a flight to be reunited with his stepfather, who he hasn’t seen in two years. Photo credit: Rahima Gambo / British Red Cross.

In the chaos of an armed attack, you might only have seconds to escape with your life. Yet surviving can feel bittersweet if you become separated from loved ones in the process.

This may sound surreal but it is a real experience shared by many living in Africa’s Lake Chad region. Years of armed conflict originating in Nigeria have torn families apart.

Today marks International Day of the Disappeared – a day where we recognise the thousands of people still missing.

But we also have a positive story to share which shows the moment loved ones are finally reunited.

Over two years ago, 15-year-old Mohammadu fled alone from the conflict in Nigeria to Chad. He left behind his mother, stepfather and other siblings. He hadn’t seen any of them since then – until recently.

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Disabled and lonely? The Red Cross can help

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Sue Seers received support from the British Red Cross

Isabella is a life-line to Sue Seers. She’s not her carer, support worker, or even a family member – but a wheelchair.

For two years Sue was unable to leave her house due to deteriorating health. But then the British Red Cross helped her get a wheelchair and start a journey away from loneliness and social isolation.

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Four things to know about care

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An older lady is helped down a path

Blog updated 31 August

At the British Red Cross, we want everyone to get the support they need to live as independently as possible. This is why we’ve been asking people to share their care stories with us.

Your good, bad and mixed experiences help us to understand how the health and social care system is working – or isn’t. The more we know, the more we may be able to help make it better.

A survey released today by Independent Age found that only 1 in 10 MPs in England believe the social care system is fit for purpose for the UK’s ageing population. This aligns with what you’ve told us about your experiences of care.

Here are four key things we know about care based on the stories shared so far.

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Five things you should know about drowning

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swimmers in open water

From toddlers to grandparents, lots of us love to jump in the water for a spot of swimming. And at some point in our lives, we may have learnt something about how to help someone who’s drowning. But do you remember it?

While there are lots of beautiful, open water swimming locations where you can go for a dip safely, drowning still accounts for more accidental deaths in the UK than road cycling accidents.

So what’s going on? Here are five things you should know about drowning.

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Connecting communities: meet two women on a mission

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Nazia providing support to an older woman

Back in December 2016, the British Red Cross in partnership with the Co-op, revealed epidemic levels of loneliness and social isolation in the UK.

Now we’ve started to roll out connecting communities: the name of our brand new services designed to help tackle these issues head on.

At the heart of these are an inspirational team of individuals, people like Vicky Day and Nazia Rehman.

Both these women know what it is like to be lonely and are on a mission to ensure others in a similar position get the help they need and deserve.

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