Category: Volunteering

Disabled and lonely? The Red Cross can help

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Sue Seers received support from the British Red Cross

Isabella is a life-line to Sue Seers. She’s not her carer, support worker, or even a family member – but a wheelchair.

For two years Sue was unable to leave her house due to deteriorating health. But then the British Red Cross helped her get a wheelchair and start a journey away from loneliness and social isolation.

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Connecting communities: meet two women on a mission

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Nazia providing support to an older woman

Back in December 2016, the British Red Cross in partnership with the Co-op, revealed epidemic levels of loneliness and social isolation in the UK.

Now we’ve started to roll out connecting communities: the name of our brand new services designed to help tackle these issues head on.

At the heart of these are an inspirational team of individuals, people like Vicky Day and Nazia Rehman.

Both these women know what it is like to be lonely and are on a mission to ensure others in a similar position get the help they need and deserve.

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Health and social care: small things that make a big difference

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Mrs Bennet and Red Cross volunteer Janet

Breaking a bone can make everyday activities particularly tricky. Especially when it’s your dominant arm and you live alone. Just ask Mrs Bennet who badly broke her right arm last year.

But thanks to a close group of good friends and a little help from British Red Cross volunteer Janet Shaw, Mrs Bennet got the person-centred support at home she needed.

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Disabled people are a diverse group – but loneliness is a common experience

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loneliness-blog

Loneliness and social isolation can affect anyone, but some people are more vulnerable to it than others – like disabled people.

Anyone can experience the life transitions that our research has shown can trigger loneliness, like retirement or bereavement. But disabled people often face barriers in daily life that can make them more likely to be chronically lonely than non-disabled people.

A new report by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness explores why loneliness affects so many people with disabilities, from the perspective of disabled people. It claims over half of disabled people report feeling lonely.

While each disabled person is unique in terms of the impairments and personal circumstances they face, loneliness is an experience that many disabled people will have in common. Getting the right support is so important.

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Pride: how promoting diversity helps people in crisis

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A sticker reading 'All Different British Red Cross' is affixed to the palm of a hand

Being inclusive is a Red Cross value © British Red Cross/Diana Shaw

If you’re going to Pride this weekend, look out for the British Red Cross and say hello! Evy Bauwens and Olivia Cummins, who will be at Pride in London, explain why they are going.

“One of the Red Cross’ core values is to be inclusive,” Evy said.

“I think Pride is a key way to show our staff, volunteers, service users and donors – and the world – that inclusion is really important to us.”

Pride is an annual celebration for every part of the LGBT+ community and everyone who supports them.

Pride events throughout the UK give people the chance to celebrate what the LGBT+ community has achieved and what is yet to be done. Events include people of every race and faith, and disabled and non-disabled people.

Around 30 British Red Cross staff and volunteers from across the UK are coming together at the London Pride parade. More

‘We all have to work together’ – teaming up with local volunteers after Grenfell Tower fire

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Photo credit: Matt Carter / British Red Cross

Tanya Hedges sorting through donations at the Westway Centre. Photo credit: Matt Carter / British Red Cross

In the shadow of the Grenfell Tower is Westway Sports Centre, where people affected by the fire have been receiving support.

Two weeks after the fire, families are still coming to the centre to get the emotional and practical help they need.

Standing side-by-side with them are community volunteers like Abraham Chowdhury, who have helped collect donations and distribute to help the victims and their families.

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Meet the former heroin addict helping Grenfell Tower fire victims

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Carl volunteers for the Red Cross

Photo credit: Lexi Finnigan / British Red Cross

“If you saw me walking towards you at night you would be scared. The tattoos, the shaved head, the missing teeth. I get that, I understand that. People judge me by the way I look but once they speak to me I can explain. I’ve done a lot of taking in my life and now it’s time to give something back.”

Carl Chant is a 43-year-old ex-heroin addict from Llanelli, near Swansea. After being abused at the age of 12, he ran away from home and after living on the streets spent 13 years on and off in prison for robbery, drug dealing and burglary.

Today he sits at a British Red Cross table outside the Westway Sports Centre in west London – registering and supporting those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

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