Category: Volunteering

Imagining the unimaginable: coping with a disaster

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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

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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

Stop food waste and help hungry families

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Red Cross volunteer holding a Fareshare hopping list for Tesco shoppersFrustrated by food waste? Now you can do something simple to help hungry families.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has reduced the nation to tears over a pile of parsnips.

Why? Because these veggies, along with thousands of wonky carrots and misshapen courgettes, were all going to waste.

A staggering 3.9 million tonnes of food are wasted every year by the food and drink industry. Fareshare estimate 10 per cent of this hasn’t gone off – it is still good to eat.

That means enough food to make 800 million meals goes straight in the bin.

That seems mad, doesn’t it? More

It’s not just the man on the moon who needs a friend this Christmas

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Artwork showing two children trying to reach the moon with a ladder

Image by Philip Edmondson

Have you seen the John Lewis Christmas advert? It’s the heartwarming story of a little girl befriending the lonely man on the moon. It’s a reminder that this is the perfect time of year to bring some comfort and joy to people’s lives. But the good news is, you don’t have to go the moon (or even buy a gift) to help lonely people. There’s something you can do in your own community – and it’s totally free…

Barbara knows what it’s like to feel lonely. She spent time in hospital after a nasty fall. When she was finally allowed home, her joy at leaving hospital was mixed with sadness that she had to return to an empty house.

“I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or what. When you come to be on your own, it is awful. You think, well, nobody’s coming.” More

When a huge earthquake hit Nepal, our planning paid off

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Nepal-Red-Cross-helps-older-woman-BLOGIn 2012 the Red Cross began a programme to get people in and around Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, ready for disasters.

It’s part of a country-wide initiative bringing together the Red Cross, the UN, the country’s government, and other organisations.

The wisdom of planning for the worst became horribly clear six months ago, when a huge earthquake struck Nepal. More

Prefer typing to running a marathon? Take part in a mapathon

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©MissingMaps/HarryWood

The streets of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo are a world away from Facebook’s spacious UK headquarters.

But for one night, a connection was made between the two, thanks to a group of enthusiastic volunteers.

Facebook London was the latest venue to host a Missing Maps ‘mapathon’ for around 50 people who were there to quite literally put Lubumbashi on the map.

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Shoreham air disaster seen through the eyes of our volunteers

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The British Red Cross is a familiar sight at the scene of emergencies and major incidents in the UK, and in the case of the Shoreham Airshow disaster we were there right from the start.

One month after the worst UK airshow accident in 63 years, the Red Cross is continuing to support those affected through its dedicated support line.

Immediate reaction

When the accident took place on the first day of the Shoreham Airshow in August, volunteers and staff from our Kent and Sussex teams were already there providing first aid cover for the event.

So as the incident unfolded, 10 event first aiders, four ambulances and two specially designed first aid vehicles were ready to respond.

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