Volunteering

‘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

Meet Jess: the humble life-saver

Jess-Bradley-HCA-winner-BLOGJess Bradley has won a major award after saving the life of a man with a horrific injury – but she doesn’t see anything remarkable about her actions.

Today, Shetland Islander Jess Bradley was given a young heroes’ award by the British Red Cross.

And no wonder. Even a mere mention of the disturbing scene she had to deal with (helping a man with a deep gash in his neck) would be enough to make most people feel queasy.

But the trained first aider is surprisingly blasé about the whole incident. As she puts it: “I didn’t think it was anything remarkable – it was what I’d been trained to do, an instinct.” More

The curious tale of the ‘black doctor of Paddington’

Dr-John-Alcindor-BLOGA determined doctor who overcame bigotry and prejudice to help others during the First World War has finally won recognition. As Britain celebrates Black History Month, we trace his story.

John Alcindor was a gifted doctor, respected and trusted by his many patients.

Originally from Trinidad, John graduated with a medical degree from Edinburgh University in 1899. He then worked in London hospitals for several years before going into practice on his own.

When the First World War broke out in 1914, he naturally wanted to use his skills to help with the war effort.

But despite his qualifications and experience, he was rejected outright by the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1914 because of his ‘colonial origin’.

More

Commonwealth games are go!

The ‘friendly’ Games are underway, and we’ve got hundreds of volunteers on hand to make sure everyone has a safe stay in Glasgow. Here’s a quick snapshot of what we’re up to.

1. First aiders, first aiders, everywhere…
Commonwealth Games two first aidersYou can barely turn a corner in Glasgow this week without bumping into a British Red Cross first aider. We’ve already been treating quite a few cuts and scrapes, and our teams are providing cover for 16 hours a day at the big BBC riverside festival in the city. More