Post relating to the British Red Cross in the United Kingdom

When first aid is an extreme sport

Ten-Tors-helicopter-volunteer-BLOGLong hours? Check. Remote locations? Check. Sleeping outdoors during a howling gale? No problem. Meet the hardcore first aiders who just can’t say no.

Mention the words ‘Ten Tors’ to a Devon teenager and they’ll most likely shudder with dread.

No wonder. The annual Ten Tors challenge – a gruelling, two-day event – has become a rite of passage for thousands of young people living across the south west of England. And it’s brutal.

Ten-Tors-girls-jumping-Saturday-BLOGEach May, 2,400 hardy souls spend a weekend trekking up to 55 miles across the desolate slopes of Dartmoor and over several ‘tors’ [small hills]. The ground’s uneven. The terrain’s hard to navigate. Weather conditions can be treacherous.

Even worse, the teenagers carry heavy backpacks. They sleep out in tents, whatever the weather. Oh, and they’re trekking against the clock. More

The secret to surviving a severed hand

Photograph: BBC Wales News

When Edryd Jones accidentally power-sawed off his own hand, he thought it was curtains. But he had a secret weapon: quick-thinking neighbours.

It sounds like something from a shlock-horror movie.

Late last year, retired teacher Edryd Jones was cutting through wooden planks in his bedroom as part of a DIY project, when the unthinkable happened.

He told The Guardian: “I didn’t realise my hand had gone until I went to pick up a piece of wood and it wasn’t there. It was on the floor. I thought I was going to bleed to death.” More

Art from the past: time to play in the open air

Play in the open air cropped

Every month, we dust off a piece of art from the British Red Cross collection to give it the attention it deserves. This poster was aimed at children in 1945 – in a bid to get them healthy after years of war and hardship.

How often do days go by when you barely spend five minutes outside? Just a quick jump into the car, some gulps of air-conditioned air, and then maybe a pause by that window view of high-rises and concrete?

Well, if you were part of the Junior Red Cross, you’d actually be breaking one of the ‘health laws’.

After war and sickness ravaged Europe in the early 20th century, there was a shift to a more holistic mind-set.

Suddenly, being healthy was part of your civic duty – and getting outside shot to the top of the list.


Top spring tips for your garden

Garden alfresco blog

There’s still plenty of time to get your garden looking glorious this summer, even if you’ve not mown your lawn yet. We spoke to expert Tamsin Westhorpe about where to start first.

Gardener Tamsin Westhorpe knows her stuff. She started her career working in parks, more than 20 years ago. Today, she spends half the week as editor-at-large on The English Garden magazine. The rest of the time, she’s busy creating the kind of outdoor idyll that’s a mere dream for most of us.

But don’t be intimidated. Tamsin’s also championing our Open Gardens programme and wants everyone to be proud of their outside space. No matter how big or small, you can bring a little colour to your home – even if it’s just a few window boxes.

Follow these tips below, and your balcony or backyard will look picture-perfect in no time. More

Why prevention really is better than cure

Homeless-BLOGThey sound worlds apart, but a homeless programme in the USA and our social care work here in England share one big idea – tackling problems early makes sense.

A few years ago, the state of Utah launched a novel strategy to combat its chronic homeless problem. It just gave everybody a home.

On the surface, this sounded like a crazy move. Most of the state’s 2,000 chronically homeless population had significant mental health issues and substance addictions.

Frankly, they didn’t seem like ideal candidates to be trusted with the keys to a house. (The traditional approach had always been to place the homeless into shelters until they were deemed ‘housing ready’.)

And yet, the idea worked like a dream. More

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