Thank you to Aviva for their increased support for our coronavirus response

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Over the last two weeks, all of us across the UK, and further afield, have had to make lots of changes to our everyday lives due to the spread of Coronavirus.

At the British Red Cross, our staff and volunteers respond to an emergency every four hours, on average, in the UK – and the coronavirus outbreak is no exception.

Now more than ever, we need to come together across all sectors and support our communities through this uncertain time.

We are delighted to say that, thanks to a significant additional donation of £10 million by our long-standing partner Aviva, we can accelerate our response, reaching more people – and quickly – to ensure those made most vulnerable by the coronavirus outbreak can get the right support at the right time.

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Supporting the social prescribing revolution

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A British Red Cross volunteer and a person taking part in our loneliness service sit on a park bench smiling and arm-in-arm.

On Social Prescribing Day, I’ve been reflecting on how the past few years have seen a step change in how we think about health. Meeting people’s social, emotional and practical needs is increasingly seen as just as important as treating their medical ones.

It’s hard to imagine that even five years ago, government and the NHS would promote non-clinical approaches to enduring health issues, let alone invest millions into social prescribing initiatives.

Today, they are recruiting thousands of social prescribing link workers to support GPs and other healthcare professionals. These link workers will help meet people’s emotional and practical needs by growing their confidence and connecting them into new opportunities in the community.

We know from our own services tackling loneliness and supporting tens of thousands of people home from hospital each year that connecting people back into their communities and a personalised care approach isn’t just a nice-to-have. Always asking ‘what matters to you’ is essential if we want to improve health and wellbeing outcomes.

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Coronavirus Q&A – what is it and how can you keep safe?

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A series of drawings showing how to wash your hands effectively to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

© IFRC

With coronavirus making headlines around the world, here are some useful facts to keep yourself safe and healthy.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus, now also called Covid-19, affects the respiratory system causing coughing and fever. Symptoms can be very mild, such as a minor cough, or you can have flu-like symptoms. This can progress to pneumonia with shortness of breath and breathing problems.

The outbreak started in Wuhan, China and coronavirus has not been seen in humans before.

How do you know if you have coronavirus?

Having a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath does not necessarily mean you have coronavirus.

Many other much more common illnesses, such as colds and flu, have similar symptoms.

If you think you’ve been exposed and experience symptoms, you should contact NHS online 111 and follow their advice.

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Radioactive: Marie Curie, invisible light, the Red Cross and WWI

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Marie Curie, played by Rosamund Pike in Radioactive, in her lab.

Marie Curie, played by Rosamund Pike in Radioactive, in her lab

In October 1914, Marie Curie and her daughter, Irène, were driving a rickety van near a First World War battlefield in France.

The two women were surrounded by the military – soldiers, officers, medics and the wounded. But they were meant to be there. Just two months after the war started, Marie had convinced the French government to set up the country’s first military radiology centres. She was soon named director of the Red Cross Radiology Service in France.

Their van was the world’s first specially fitted mobile x-ray unit, and marked the first time x-rays were taken for medical use outside of a hospital.

By the end of the war, each of the 20 mobile x-ray vans – known by soldiers as petites Curies (little Curies) had x-rayed up to 10,000 men. The quick information they gave the battlefield medics saved thousands of lives.

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How you can double your donations without lifting a finger

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What is UK Aid Match, and what’s our latest appeal about?  

Two women in Barishal, Bangladesh, Josna and Mahmuda, sit smiling with their arms around each other.

Our It starts with her appeal kicked off last month. The campaign, designed to empower women in Barishal, Bangladesh, allows people in the UK to help change people’s lives in one of the world’s most disaster-prone areas.

You may have seen mentions of ‘UK Aid Match’ on our Twitter feed since the launch, but what exactly is it?

Can I really double my donation?

Yes – at no extra cost to you whatsoever! Through UK Aid Match, the UK government will double your donation, giving you the chance to help people most in need in developing countries

So your £1 becomes £2. All donations (up to the total of £2 million) will be doubled – and you don’t have to do a thing besides make a one-off gift.

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Galentine’s Day: share the love while helping our It starts with her appeal

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Two women in Bangladesh lean against each other and make a heart symbol with their hands.

© Rosie Matheson/British Red Cross

When was the last time you told your girlfriends how much they mean to you?

For Galentine’s Day (that’s 13 February, the day before its old-fashioned counterpart, Valentine’s Day), we’ve launched a range of celebrity e-cards to help you do just that.

The cards are a celebration of female friendship and – best of all – are also raising money for our It starts with her campaign supporting women in Bangladesh.

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Clear out, drop off: why sustainable shopping should be at the top of your 2020 list

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A woman in Bangladesh, who has been helped to start her own tailoring business by the British Red Cross, sits at her sewing maching with clothes she has sown behind her.

© Farzana Hossen/British Red Cross

Fact: almost half of women in the UK admit to owning too many clothes.

We’re calling on everyone to clear out for a good cause, and donate to and buy from our charity shops instead – especially with the exciting launch of our It starts with her appeal this month.

Read on for reasons to shake up your shopping habits and opt for a more sustainable route with us.

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It’s time to listen to young people, like me, on loneliness

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Rhianydd Crawshaw, a university student who felt lonely and felt better after volunteering at a British Red Cross book shop, smiles at the camera.

© Rhianydd Crawshaw

 

When Rhianydd, a 22-year-old student, experienced loneliness, she turned to volunteering for the British Red Cross to find friends and feel more connected. Now, she wants people in power to take this issue seriously.

I’ve always been an introverted person, and I really like my own space. But I also do really like talking and hanging out with people, I guess you could call me an “ambivert”.

During my first year at university, I couldn’t drink alcohol due to medication I was taking at the time, so I didn’t go out and I tended to avoid situations where heavy alcohol consumption would be present. And, during freshers week – that’s a lot!

I’m not saying that was the only reason I was lonely or struggled to make many friends at university, but it was definitely a contributing factor. This led to me spending most of my time alone locked up in my room not talking to anyone. I was miserable.

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