You’re not alone in feeling alone

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John Ball knows what it’s like to feel lonely.

His second wife, Marie, died last year. John spent Christmas without his family or friends.

John, aged 71 from Plympton in Devon, knew that Christmas without her would be a difficult and emotional milestone.

“I knew what was coming because I’d already been through it once,” John said. His first wife, Janet, had died when she was just 44 years old.

“I knew how lonely I would feel without Marie. I didn’t want anyone to feel obliged to invite me to Christmas dinner, so I took myself away on a coach holiday to Nottingham.

“Yet simple things like watching people get off the coach in couples as I followed along by myself really brought it home how lonely I was.” More

Three real-life first aid stories where ordinary items saved the day

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Sam Hilton, who gave first aid to a neighbour who was bleeding heavily

Sam Hilton © Chris Bull/UNP

Did you know that you don’t need specialist equipment in order to help someone who is injured or hurt? No, really.

When doing first aid, there are lots of day-to-day items you can use to help someone instead.

Read three real-life first aid stories where ordinary items saved the day and you’ll soon be able to spot items around you should you ever need to help.

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“In the UK there is humanity”: how a young man is building hope for the future

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Three teenage boys play Jenga, a game in which they build a tabletop tower out of wooden blocks, at a group for refugees

A Surviving to thriving project group for young refugees © Dan Burwood/British Red Cross

Seventeen-year-old Hama* prefers not to talk about being forced to flee his home country of Iraq.

Instead, his focus is on his new life in the UK.

“Arriving in the UK, I was born again,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier. There is a lot of badness in my country but in the UK there is humanity.”

Hama came to the UK from Calais last year. He was one of the unaccompanied children transferred here when the “Jungle” camp closed.

Arriving in a new and unfamiliar country was a strange and exciting experience for him.

“I saw the cars drive on the opposite side of the road from my country. It was different and a bit strange for me. That was the sign that I knew I’m in England now. I will never forget that moment.”

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“How a wrong number changed my life”: a disabled volunteer’s story

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Mark Belton, a disabled volunteer, wears a British Red Cross t-shirt and smiles

Mark Belton, Red Cross volunteer © British Red Cross

“I think back on how I felt six or seven years ago and so much has changed,” Mark Belton said.

Mark first noticed that his sight was getting worse in his teens. His mum, nan and sister all had an inherited eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa.

“By the age of 18 or 19 I knew I had it too.

“My eyesight was deteriorating,” Mark said.

“It was a real blow, it was half expected but it sort of knocks you back. I had just got my new job then as an upholsterer.”

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Yemen: five days inside the world’s largest humanitarian crisis

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Yemen Red Crescent volunteer Majed arrives home in the evening. He hugs his children Amjad, 9, Shahd, 5 as hisYemen Red Crescent volunter Majed stands outside his home hugging son Amjad, 9, and daughter Shahd, 5

© Yahya Arhab/Yemen Red Crescent Society

A staggering 70 per cent of people in war-torn Yemen depend on humanitarian aid. Yet a blockade recently stopped the flow of emergency supplies into the country.

In this series of vlogs, Tre from the British Red Cross reflects on what life is like for Yemen’s people and what we are doing to help.

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100 years since Passchendaele – through the eyes of Red Cross ambulance drivers

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The Battle of Passchendaele has become synonymous with the horrors of World War One and human sacrifice.

The incessant bombardment and heavy rain turned the Belgian battlefield into a quagmire. Tanks became immobilised, while soldiers and horses drowned in the mud.

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Living with loneliness as a refugee

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With all the stigma and stress refugees and asylum seekers face, loneliness is not seen as an obvious problem. It is.

There are many reasons refugees and asylum seekers experience loneliness. They have to contend with language barriers and cultural differences and are often separated from family and friends. They also often lack the income to be socially involved.

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