Volunteering

How to spot a first aider at a flower show

Flower beds

The sunshine and showers of our great British summer have done their work and gardens across the country are in full bloom. If you’re off to an outdoor event soon, you may see some of our volunteers in action. But would you be able to spot a first aider at a flower show?

The event first aider, member of the primo auxilium species, is a very special breed. While no two are the same, they do share some distinctive features which make them possible to identify – for those in the know.

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Get happy – how volunteering can put a smile on your face

British Red Cross supporters enjoy a fundraising event © Joel Chant

Two British Red Cross supporters are celebrated for their smile-spreading work. Find out why they’re on this year’s Happy List and how you can catch the happiness bug yourself.

The Independent on Sunday’s Happy List celebrates 100 unsung heroes who spend their time making life better for others. In doing so, these wonderful people are making the world a happier place to live.

This year two of our volunteers appeared on the list in recognition of their incredible commitment to helping others.

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‘Volunteering landed me a job’

Sarah-Coull-BLOG2Young mother Sarah Coull was fed up with being unemployed, so tried her hand at volunteering – and hey presto, it soon landed her a job. Here’s her story.

After leaving education, I spent a while struggling to find work. Like lots of people my age, I kept trying but the jobs just weren’t out there.

While I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do for a career, the prospect of care work had always interested me. I think older people are often marginalised, which isn’t fair. More

‘Lucky’ Syrian refugee who wants to help others

Sleman at Buckingham Palace

Sleman was an ambitious young man, full of plans for his future. Then the conflict in Syria forced him to flee his country – and rebuild his life here.   

Not too long ago, Sleman was finishing his studies as an engineer in food sciences at the University of Aleppo.

He was thinking about his career and potential next steps – like any young person in the first flush of adulthood.

But then war broke out in Syria and everything changed.

No life in Syria

Now a refugee in the UK, Sleman calls himself one of the ‘lucky’ ones.

“I’m lucky that I can contact my father and mother once or twice a month,” he says.

“Where they live, there is no internet, no electricity, no phones. But I’m lucky because they are near the Turkish border, so I can sometimes call them there.

“Every time I ring them, my father says he just wants to die. There is no life in Syria, anymore.” More

Christmas during the First World War: in pictures

WW1-xmas-hospital-wardBritish Red Cross nurses had to celebrate the festive season hungry and over-worked, yet they were still determined to be cheerful. See the First World War through the eyes of the women who were actually there.

1. The busy life of a nurse

This witty cartoon triptych depicts the typical life of a Red Cross nurse (they were known as Voluntary Aid Detachments) serving abroad during the war. The sketches show how her life officially should be, how she dreams it might be, and how it actually is. Poor woman…

WW1-xmas-triptych More

‘Oh, yes they did.’ How First World War nurses put on a pantomime

Xmas-pantoOur Red Cross nurses saw untold horrors and worked themselves to exhaustion during the First World War – but many still found time to put on a Christmas pantomime.

As most of us settle in for another warm, well-fed festive season, it seems almost incredible to think of how different life was for many Britons a hundred years ago.

That’s certainly the case for the Red Cross nurses – known as Voluntary Aid Detachments – who served in military hospitals across Europe during the Great War.

These young women (and sometimes they were very young) saw and dealt with scenes that are unimaginable to us now. More

Our transport volunteers: a million miles of goodness

Volunteers Eric Beckley, Sue Hartley and Geoff Vaulter (with service user Valerie Sharp seated in car).

Volunteers Eric Beckley, Sue Hartley and Geoff Vaulter (with service user Valerie Sharp seated in car).

Meet the unsung heroes who clock up half a million miles every year taking cancer patients to hospital – and find out how you could help too.

Most people don’t even know the British Red Cross has a transport support service. But we do, and it’s a real cracker.

In Somerset, there’s an especially nice project that helps cancer patients who are either without transport or too unwell to drive.

On a daily basis, our volunteers drive people from their homes to two cancer treatment centres in Bristol and Taunton. And just check out these figures. Each year:

70 volunteer drivers help…

1,000 cancer patients, clocking up…

500,000 miles in the process. More