Category: Health

Show your support during Refugee Week

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It’s Refugee Week, and I’d recommend you take a look at the very moving videos on our special Look beyond the label website, where three refugees describe their traumatic past lives – and their hopes for the future.

I often feel I had quite a traumatic childhood. For example, Richard Jones from class 4B can deny it till he’s blue in his fat face, but he really did hold my head under water for 20 seconds at Wigan baths. I’ve never been quite the same since. And my Dad’s refusal to get me an even half-decent BMX when I was 13 still has me waking up in a sweat some nights.

Having said that, there’s nothing like speaking to refugees to put my own momentous ‘issues’ into perspective.

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Volunteering during an economic downturn

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Have you felt the bite of the credit crunch? Are you looking for a way to gain new skills or keep busy while in between jobs?A man talks on a walkie talkie

You’re not alone! Here at the Red Cross, we’ve seen a huge jump in the number of people interested in becoming volunteers. At the end of 2007, we were getting around 300 volunteering enquiries a month; we’re now getting around 1,400 a month!

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The difference we make

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Here’s a short quiz for you.

A volunteer supports an elderly woman with a cane as they walk1. In 2008, how many people in the UK did Red Cross volunteers help through short-term health crises (like coping after a hospital stay or getting to and from doctor appointments when they have limited mobility)?

a. almost 70,000
b. just over 150,000
c. nearly 290,000

2. Approximately how many refugees in the UK did we give assistance to last year?

a. 5,000
b. 20,000
c. 40,000 More

How will you celebrate Refugee Week?

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Liz & Teil with Emmanual Jal, refugee week 2008

What will you do to celebrate Refugee Week this June?
Last year I met Sudanese rap singer Emmanuel Jal at the Celebrating Sanctuary Fun Day in Bristol. I’ve never listened to rap before but I was very impressed with his music as he draws on his experience of being a child soldier. I learned something that day through listening to him. What a star.
If you read my first blog (Two interns for the price of one) you will know that we have James and Lilly working with us this year to co-ordinate our refugee week activities in Bristol, Swindon and Gloucester – they are doing a fantastic job and we have a very busy and exciting week planned.

What does the British Red Cross represent to you?

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If you had asked me that same question three years ago I would have replied with something like this,,,,,,,

“The Red Cross works exclusively overseas in areas of conflict and disaster handing out food packs to hoards of starving people from little, white, beaten down Land Rovers.” I probably would have also added that I believed the Red Cross was a religious organisation – you know, with the cross as their emblem.

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All hands to the bucket

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It was “all hands to the bucket” last week during Red Cross Appeal Week. On Friday Sahra and I collected at a garden centre near Bristol – it was certainly a case of “come rain or shine” not to mention wind – we were pretty cold at the end of two hours.

But it was well worth it as a lot of people put money in our buckets and it is encouraging to know that so many want to give money to the Red Cross. Several people told us that the Red Cross is their favourite charity. More

Sanitation tests my sanity

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My ‘facilities’ have been driving me crazy lately. Firstly, my boiler packs up and I’m telling you now I’m not a cold shower person. No problem I think, I’ve been paying my monthly insurance fee for just such an occasion for years – now it’s time for some payback. Except it’s not – I’m told my boiler is so decrepit there’s nothing they can do I just need to buy a new boiler, which will cost me £1,600! Ouch. Don’t they know I’m a charity worker? I decide to cancel my insurance and the guy on the phone points out that this may be a bit risky. I don’t care, I’m too mad right now.

Then the drain that serves the apartment above me gets blocked. It’s been like that for weeks and nasty smelling stuff is spilling over to the area outside my kitchen window. Anyone for afternoon tea?

Man drinking water from tap

I’m ashamed to say I spent the whole weekend whingeing but luckily for my family and friends when I came to work on Monday morning I got a bit of a reality check. More