Volunteers are the backbone of the British Red Cross. Around 20,000 help us reach people in crisis across the UK. As today is International Volunteers Day, we’d like to introduce you to a few.
David in Cumbria
David Taylor has been a Red Cross volunteer for nearly 25 years. He volunteers as an Emergency Response volunteer in Cumbria, and helped many of those in the region affected by Storm Desmond in 2015.
Red Cross volunteers and staff helped hundreds of people during and after the storm last December. They set up rest centres across Cumbria to help those who had to leave their homes, and responded to medical emergencies alongside the ambulance service.
Today, on the first anniversary of the storm, David begins a self-designed challenge to cycle, canoe, walk, swim, kayak and sail over 100 miles, from the top to the toe of Cumbria.
He hopes to raise £5,000, which will fund essential emergency response equipment in the area.
“People across Cumbria know only too well the devastating impact Storm Desmond has had on our county,” David said.
“By carrying out this challenge, I hope that I and those who support me can make a contribution to ensuring that our service in Cumbria continues to operate effectively, and with the equipment it needs.”
Jacqui in Wales
Last year, Red Cross volunteer Jacqui Evans provided over 118 hours of support to people in Pembrokeshire as a support at home volunteer, despite previously battling with her own health.
Through our Camau Cadarn (Welsh for ‘Positive Steps’) service, Jacqui helps those facing a personal crisis regain their confidence to live independently.
As well as providing help to others, volunteering has improved Jacqui’s own wellbeing. After suffering with deep depression and illnesses such as arthritis, she was unable to work for 14 years.
But volunteering helped Jacqui’s self-esteem and she has recently taken on a part-time job too.
“I guess in a way we are helping each other. Volunteering is very fulfilling,” Jacqui said.
Terry in Sussex
Hastings-based Terry Alexander has accumulated 20 years of first aid volunteering. For the past nine years, she has been an ambulance crew volunteer with the Red Cross. She was on duty during the Shoreham airshow last year when a plane came down.
“I don’t remember hearing much sound but there was a huge amount of smoke and flames from the explosion,” Terry recalled.
Terry ended up treating 23-year-old Thomas Milburn, who was badly burnt after the crash. He’d been out on his bike that day to take pictures of the air show.
“I have learned so much as a volunteer and I love having good first aid skills,” Terry said.
“I also get immense satisfaction from seeing people having a great time at an event and knowing we are there to support them if something goes wrong, be it a small accident or a major incident.”
Interested in volunteering?
These are just some of the many Red Cross volunteers dedicating their time and skills to others.
From supporting in our charity shops to providing first aid at events, there are lots of ways you can volunteer with the Red Cross. Find the role for you.