Laura Oakley

Laura brings you all the latest stories from the British Red Cross' work across the UK – from emergency response to health and social care – as well as West and Central Africa.

Posts by Laura Oakley:

Festival ready? Don’t forget these five festival essentials

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Group of people at a music festival

It’s time to dig out your wellies, dust off your tent and hunt for that hard-earned ticket you spent ages queuing online for. The festival season is upon us.

Whether you’re off to one of the smaller, more intimate festivals, or descending upon the pop-up sensation that is Glastonbury – the festival checklist is always the same.

Wellies: check. Trendy (or outrageous) hat: check. A waterproof tent: well, fingers crossed.

Even if you do forget something, you can usually improvise – ask anyone who’s ever rocked the bin-bag poncho look.

But even so, there are a few small things well-worth taking. Don’t forget these five festival essentials.

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First aid for burns

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A family of adults and children gather round a bonfire burning in a large metal fire pit.

© Graham Oliver

Enjoying some fireworks?

It’s a lot of fun when friends and family gather to ‘Ooo’ and ‘Ahh’ at the night sky. Firework after firework can light up the darkness with an almighty bang.

Whether you’re having your own party, attending a friend’s or off to a display, there’s a common risk that comes from celebrating with fireworks – burns.

But have no fear. We’ve got some top advice for helping someone with a burn.

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‘Knowing first aid helped me save a motorcyclist’s life’

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Helen Cowen used her first aid skills to save the life of a motorcyclist who crashed outside her home.

Not everyone could handle the sight of a bloodied motorcyclist with a badly severed leg. Helen Cowan could, and her first aid knowledge saved a man’s life.

“I had decided to sit in the garden one evening when I heard a loud crash,” Helen said.

“At first I thought something had fallen from our recently renovated house. But as I walked to the front of the house, I could see a small crowd gathered on the pavement outside.”

The scene outside her house was upsetting.

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Four things to know about care

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A Red Cross volunteer provides social care by helping an older woman walk down a path

At the British Red Cross, we want everyone to get the support they need to live as independently as possible.

But a new report by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation found that this odoes not always happen.

Instead, a growing number of people who have recently left hospital are being admitted again – sometimes just a few days later.

Our In and out of hosptial report confirms this, showing that a lack of social care support leads to people having to go into hospital again and again. Sadly, opportunities to change this are often missed.

Every year the Red Cross supports thousands of people coming home from hospital.

Here are four key things we know about care based on the stories we have heard from the people who use our services.

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Learning baby first aid with The Last Leg’s Alex Brooker

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Alex Brooker learning first aid

As a co-host on Channel 4’s The Last Leg, Alex Brooker has no fear of live TV. But he felt less confident about being able to help his six-month-old daughter in a first aid emergency.

“Our baby’s weaning now and I’m a massive worrier. Every little thing I worry about,” he said.

To ease those concerns, Alex took part in a British Red Cross group first aid course so that he could learn with his friends and family – and he’s really pleased he did.

To mark World First Aid Day, come and learn first aid with Alex.

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Hurricane Irma: pictures from the devastation

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British Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma

Credit: British Red Cross

By Kevin Studds, British Red Cross country manager for our overseas branches

Hurricane Irma is the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. As it continues its path across the Caribbean, the extent of the devastation is starting to become clear.

So far, the islands of St Martin and Barbuda have borne the brunt of the storm. But also affected are the British Overseas Territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands where the British Red Cross has branches.

With Hurricane Jose following close behind in Irma’s path, the concern for those caught up in the north-east Caribbean heightens.

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