Volunteering

“I will keep trying and I will break free”: One refugee artist’s long journey back to her easel

drawing of weeping eye

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” 

This famous line of Picasso’s resonates with Mays Al Ameer more than most.

Her passion for drawing, indeed her whole childhood, was cut short when her family were taken hostage in Iraq.

Now settled in Poole, she is part of a Red Cross art group designed to encourage community ties and a sense of belonging.

We meet her at an exhibition of her work at the Poole Lighthouse to hear about what brought her to the south coast, as well as her hopes for the future. More

Older couple ‘tickled pink’ by Facebook

Tom and Jean Fussell learning to use their tablet with Red Cross volunteer Jo

In this day and age you can stay connected to your nearest and dearest with the touch of button. You can Skype your cousin in Canada and WhatsApp a picture of Meera the cat to your sister. You can even share your holiday snaps with friends on Instagram.

But only if you know how.

Tom and Jean Fussell did not. The couple from Radstock, both in their eighties, felt cut off from their loved ones dotted across the globe.

They had bought a tablet in the hope they could stay in touch. But they hadn’t learnt how to use it.

“It’s all new to us. We were brought up in a different era,” Jean said.

“When we went to school we had chalk and slate and a pen you had to dip in ink.”

But with a little help from a British Red Cross volunteer, that was about to change.

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In the nick of time: ‘I feared giving birth in the car’

Red Cross volunteers Nigel and Stuart with Claire and baby Tori

As thousands of runners’ feet pounded the roads in the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon on 10 April, an expectant mum was desperately trying to find a way through the resulting traffic.

Claire Burke had gone into labour.

She had been driving to her mum’s for breakfast with her eight-year-old daughter Mia when she’d started to feel the contractions.

“At first I thought they were Braxton Hicks (false labour),” Claire said.

But as she tried to navigate through the road closures and diversions, the contractions grew stronger and stronger. Before long they were coming every minute.

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Watch: How a Red Cross volunteer helped save lives in Nepal

Sameer is one of over 8,000 Red Cross volunteers in Nepal. Here, he describes how the Red Cross helped people prepare for, cope with and recover from the 2015 earthquakes. 

Imagining the unimaginable: coping with a disaster

A fake disaster scene as part of the Exercise Unified Response training exercise.

Unfortunately disasters do happen. And when they do, you can rely on our help thanks to some gory make-up, a bunch of actors, and a pretend tube train…

You know what they say: practice makes perfect. When disaster does strike, we must be able to co-ordinate with the emergency services to reduce casualties and distress.

That’s why we travelled to Kent to put our volunteers’ skills to the test in Exercise Unified Response – Europe’s biggest emergency training exercise organised by the London Fire Brigade.

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Fireballs, burns and broken bones: why I love volunteering

Red Cross ambulance support volunteer Terry Alexander in front of her emergency vehicleAs you can imagine, Terry has seen a lot in 20 years of first aid volunteering. But last summer was a first.

Terry Alexander was an ambulance volunteer at the Shoreham air show when the plane came down.

“I don’t remember hearing much sound but there was a huge amount of smoke and flames from the explosion,” she recalled. More

Falling in love with Derby: a refugee’s story

British Red Cross volunteer Reem Ahmed and sons

When Reem Ahmed and her family fled bombs in Iraq, they had no idea they’d end up falling in love with Derby.

After eight years on the move, Reem has finally found a home – and is now making a life for herself and her children while volunteering for the British Red Cross.  More