A British Red Cross volunteer sits inside a van and speaks to another volunteer through the window. They are planning their activities for the day.

 

We admit: here at the British Red Cross, we’re always talking about kindness.

It’s because we believe it has the power to change someone’s world – and we see it happening, day in day out, through our incredibly selfless volunteers.

So, to kick off OneKindThing, we wanted to dig a little deeper and see what you thought about kindness. We sent a survey out to over 2,000 people in the UK, and we’ve decoded its results.*

The world needs it

Three in four people admitted they could do more to be kinder to others. A massive 97 per cent agreed that if we all did just one kind thing a day, the UK would be a better place.

If that’s not enough to make you want to do OneKindThing today, we’re not sure what is…

Fighting loneliness

A young woman British Red Cross volunteer walks with an older man holding her arm for balance while they talk to each other.

‘Making a difference’ can sometimes sound vague – what specific difference would you most like to make with an act of kindness? The top answer was to prevent people from feeling lonely.

Loneliness can have a really dangerous effect on someone’s physical and mental health.

It can touch anyone – no age, gender or race is off-limits, so it’s not surprising that people feel a pull towards wanting to help lonely people.

Back in 2016, we found out that a massive nine million people in the UK – almost one-fifth of the population – felt they were always or often lonely.

Find out what the British Red Cross is doing to tackle loneliness.

Putting kindness into practice

Volunteer helping a refugee to fill in forms at the British Red Cross Centre, London.

We loved hearing about the kind things that someone’s done for you that really had a big impact. Let’s take a look at some of our favourite stories.

We’ve all been there – you’ve nipped out to shops and you’ve got no cash on you to pay for the car park ticket. Plenty of you told us that, in an act of kindness, a stranger either gave you some spare change or handed over their own parking ticket that still had time left on it.

Lots of your kind things took place in the home. You told us about a neighbour popping next door to re-plant a rose bush that had died, as a surprise.

There was also a story where someone went home to a houseful of happy sticky-note messages from a flatmate.

Lots of experiences you shared with us, though, were really simple.

You told us that someone had made you a cup of tea, comforted you when you were upset, helped you fill in a form, cooked you dinner or carried a heavy bag for you.

Even simpler – someone asked you how you were and listened to you.

As you can see, these aren’t particularly grand or extravagant acts of kindness. They’re small, achievable and guaranteed to put a smile on someone’s face.

The kindness formula

After reading about all your kindness stories, we’ve noticed a few patterns:

  1. Time – someone who had taken the time to do something for you made a big impact, because you felt valued.
  2. Surprise – you appreciated the gestures that were unexpected.
  3. Situation – when you were having a bad day at work or going through a really tough time, like caring or grieving for a loved one, those small acts of kindness meant so much to you.
Two women in Chad in central Africa wearing Red Cross badges and vests sit smiling with their arms around each other.

© George Osodi

So, what’s your #OneKindThing?

Our survey shows that there are so many opportunities to be kinder, and by doing so, we can make the UK a better place.

That’s why we want everyone to do just #OneKindThing today for the British Red Cross, so we can continue to help people who desperately need it.

Your kindness can help us to be there for families, communities and individuals who have lost everything in a crisis.

And we’ll be there in the aftermath of the crisis too; when the dust settles, when pure human kindness matters most.

Choose your #OneKindThing today.

*Online survey of 2,005 UK adults carried out by Opinium for the British Red Cross between 3 – 7 May 2019