Loneliness in the UK: “If you’ve got the spare time, what better way is there of using it?”

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Volunteering, loneliness, UK

Gareth Spencer volunteers with the Red Cross in Wales – ©TimMossford/UNP

Whether he’s repairing shoes or volunteering, Gareth Spencer is certainly finding different ways to help people put their best foot forward. 

The part-time cobbler from Pontypridd, Wales, is a volunteer for the British Red Cross. Over the past year, he’s helped many people overcome issues like loneliness. You could too.

“If you’ve got the spare time, what better way is there of using it?” said Gareth. More

Baking bread and colouring hair – Syrian women take charge

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In Syria, Amani and Rouda stand next to each other next to a shelf of beauty products and a mirror

Amani and Rouda in their salon in Damascus, Syria ©IFRC

Syria remains the world’s largest and most complicated humanitarian crisis. As governments and international organisations gather to discuss the coming year’s aid to Syria, the Red Cross is helping people to return to a more normal life.

You wouldn’t usually find a fully-fitted beauty salon inside a small rented apartment in a suburb of Damascus, Syria’s capital.

But Amani and her friend Rouda set up just such a salon six months ago after attending a hairdressing course run by our partner, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

For Amani, becoming a hairdresser was a chance to pursue a dream and to support her family after losing her husband and home.

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Why runners should learn first aid

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Red Cross staff and volunteers pose for a photo. They provide first aid during the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon

If you’re taking part in a sporting event this year, you might meet someone like Andy Owen. He’s an event first aid volunteer for the British Red Cross.

Every year, Red Cross staff and volunteers like Andy help out at lots of different events, including sporting ones. So, they know a thing or two about sports injuries.

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Escaping Mosul: the youngest and oldest speak out

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A child looks over his mother's shoulder in Mosul, Iraq, as people arrive at a camp

©Tommy Trenchar/ Panos Pictures

“Planes were shelling, bombs were exploding: we fled from death.”

Stark words from a stark place: western Mosul in Iraq, where fighting has forced thousands of families out of their homes.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent are providing essential food, water and medical care to tens of thousands of people in camps and host communities.

This includes 30,000 hot meals and 40,000 pieces of fresh bread in one day.

But who are these people? What have they suffered? What do they want next?

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‘The big fear is cholera’ – South Sudan’s refugees stalked by threat of famine and disease

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South Sudan refugees

600,000 people have fled South Sudan to Uganda due to violence – ©IFRC/TommyTrenchard

Think of famine in East Africa and you’ll likely picture desperate people queuing in arid and dusty lands.

Yet behind the drought that has taken hold in the region is an often forgotten and equally pernicious driver of hunger: conflict.

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‘What happened to me makes me grateful for my family this Mother’s Day’

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Claire Burke and holds almost one-year-old Tori up for the camera

It’s almost a year since Claire Burke went into labour while in traffic during the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon. She feared she’d give birth in the car – until a Red Cross ambulance appeared.

As Mother’s Day approaches, she reflects on that day and how the actions of two Red Cross volunteers mean that this year, she and her family can celebrate it together.   

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Older people and loneliness: five things you need to know

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A Red Cross volunteer provides support to an older personThe hidden epidemic of loneliness is often associated with older people. And while a survey released today showed that over half of Gransnet users who feel lonely have never talked about it, there’s more to understand.

Here are five things you need to know about loneliness and older people in the UK.

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