The times they are a bein’ developed through a period of consultation

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(Apologies: colossalism.)

It’s a time of change in our patch. Having resolved the volunteer crisis in medical loan and regrouted the Great Wall of China I can turn my attention to another minor task: developing a new service. Glasgow & Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire branches have been waiting patiently while our neighbours launch care in the home pilots but now the wait is over and the work begins. More

Roll up, roll up.. ask your first aid questions here

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Woman, blindfoldedAre you in the dark when it comes to first aid?

What’s the best brand of plaster to use? How do I put on a sling? What’s CPR?

Have you got a first aid question, like one of those above? If so, now’s your opportunity to get it answered. As well as offering you some insight into the world of event first aid, first aid training and first aid in general, I’m keen to answer all your questions related to first aid.

So go on – ask away!

Knee deep in the …

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temporary latrines - Zimbabwe cholera response… mire! Various other phrases jump to mind to describe the work our sanitation emergency response unit (ERU) do when called to a disaster somewhere in the world, but none seems to, er, stick like this one. The British Red Cross keeps on permanent standby several teams ready to apply their technical skills and this particular team of four have the crucial role of ensuring that disease, one of the potential killers following a large natural disaster, is kept under control through the provision of toilet facilities and education messages on personal hygiene practices.

I was outraged recently when one of my Aussie friends joked about the down under perception of Brits struggling to find the right end of the soap bar when it comes to personal hygiene! More

Happy Christmas!

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SantaOK, before you start writing letters of outrage to the papers or your closest Red Cross, I’m not being entirely serious about my festive greeting. I’m well aware that it is still August and most people are still thinking about their summer holiday and not Christmas.

Unfortunately over in Uttoxeter a British Red Cross shop managed to accidentally anger several residents when they decided to display a count down to Christmas – in the middle of July. More

Guest blogging from St. Vincent Youth Camp – Part 3

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Did you know that the British Red Cross has several overseas branches in the Caribbean? As part of the work going on there, the Red Cross is hosting a youth camp for young Red Cross workers in the Caribbean to have an opportunity to interact. The whole idea is to create international friendships, learn from eachother, and work together for the greater good.

Below, are some blog posts sent to me by one of the participants– Jiva Niles of the Anguilla Red Cross. I know this post is quite long, but I hope that it is the most user-friendly way to share his story with you:

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My special days of the week – Part 3

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Thursdays

When asylum seekers and refugees first arrive in Glasgow, they are given temporary accommodation at the YMCA. The British Red Cross Refugee Unit runs an outreach surgery at the YMCA. This is part of my role.

Every Thursday from 1pm – 3pm, I go to YMCA, at 33 Petershill Drive, on 28th floor for the surgery drop-in. I always look forward to going there. I usually take two volunteers with me who speak different languages: Somali, Arabic, Bajuni, Swahili, Kurdish- sorani etc. Some volunteers are blessed to be able to speak two or more languages, which is very helpful.YMCA building where newly asylum seekers and refugees are temprary housed

The Scottish Induction Service, which is situated in the same building on the 29th floor, refers newly arrived asylum seekers and refugees to our drop-in surgery. This allows us to help people as soon as they arrive in Glasgow.

The Scottish Induction Service always gives information about Red Cross services to people. However, people receive a lot of information when they arrive and it can be confusing. They can be very upset about their situation and may receive a Red Cross leaflet amongst many other things and forget about it. Or it may be that they can’t read.

Some asylum seekers have never gone to school and they cannot read or write. Some of them just manage to use a pen to make a line to sign forms. Some people want to sign with their fingerprints. That is why it is important that we are there to make sure they access our service.

Every 2 weeks, I do door-to-door outreach at the YMCA with another volunteer. We have to let YMCA staff know in advance that we will be going door to door for health and safety reasons (YMCA is a huge building) and also, so that they can reassure people who ask: “who are these people knocking at my door!”. We always carry Red Cross identification.

We knock on people’s doors, introduce ourselves and explain in details about the Red Cross. We also ask them if we can help them in any way.

Most of them are very traumatised, do not trust any one and are scared of getting out and about. They stay hidden in their homes. With door to door, we do reach the most vulnerable. We talk to them and ask some questions, and from there we know if they also want to use The International Tracing and Messaging Service. Some people don’t have mobile phones so we give them an appointment either at the office for assessment or offer to pick them up from reception YMCA if they don’t know yet how to take the bus on their own to the city centre. Otherwise we give people a leaflet with a map to our office and tell them to wait for our call for an appointment.

When I am back at the office, I start matching them with volunteers to start the support.
Image © Nico Hogg

Happy birthday, British Red Cross!

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Dear British Red Cross,

Today you turn 139 years old. Trust me, you don’t look a day over 120.

Women run toward their ambulances in First World War Over the years you’ve seen a lot. From your infancy helping wounded soldiers in the Franco-Prussian war, to your adolescence in the trenches, no one could accuse you of having an easy childhood.

Between the wars, there was no rest for you. You nursed thousands of people suffering from Spanish flu pandemic, set up the blood transfusion service, and organised first aid posts where trained volunteers treated people who crashed those new-fangled automobiles.

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