Category: Health

The British Red Cross supports health and social care projects around the UK. From helping people home from hospital to supporting people to feel less lonely, we can help.

Make your wheelchair the reason you’re fit – not the excuse

By
Jordan Jarrett-Bryan plays wheelchair basketball.

Jordan Jarrett-Bryan in action

Jordan Jarrett-Bryan is a former Paralympic GB wheelchair basketball player and sports reporter, Channel 4 News

I struggle to remember a time when I wasn’t active. I’ve always been into sport or at least physical activity, mainly because I’ve always been a hyperactive and competitive person.

Running, jumping, playing football, basketball, rounders: all were things I did daily when I was a boy. It was a huge cause of being an active and healthy young boy, but more importantly a happy boy.

I was nowhere near the fastest in my class at primary school – I remember running made me the happiest, though. As someone with a disability, I can also remember not ever being too conscious about the fact I had an artificial leg.

There may have been times, it may have been uncomfortable, but I refused to not take part in sports.

I don’t use a wheelchair for everyday use, but getting used to one when I first started playing wheelchair basketball was weirdly liberating.

Playing a sport without running and jumping was different, but I was still fast, powerful, moving. Active. It joined two of three most important elements of sports – winning, health and enjoyment.

More

How tackling loneliness at its core could reduce the burden on public services

By
A man sits alone at an empty table in his kitchen with a hot drink. He has been helped by the British Red Cross loneliness service.

© Simon Rawles/British Red Cross

Zoë Abrams is Executive Director of Communications at British Red Cross and Co-chair of the Loneliness Action Group

At the Red Cross, we believe that connected communities are most resilient and able to withstand crisis. In these times of political uncertainty, it is positive to see the new civil society minister prioritising building more resilient communities.

With an astonishing one in five people in the UK saying they feel often or always lonely, this is a huge issue. The negative impacts are not only felt by individuals who are lacking meaningful connections, but it also influences the wider health and wellbeing of communities.

Through our leadership of the Loneliness Action Group  – a network of over 50 civil society organisations and businesses  – we’ve worked in partnership with the UK government and held them to account for the commitments they’ve made to tackle this modern epidemic.

It’s in that spirit that we have today published a report on progress made against the government’s loneliness strategy.

More

10 things you might not know about the Red Cross

By
A child displaced by a tsunami in Indonesia receives a Red Cross blanket.

Photo credit: Hariandi Hafid / British Red Cross

1. A gruesome battle sparked the idea for the Red Cross

On his journey to meet Napoleon III in 1859, the businessman Henry Dunant witnessed a bloody battle in present-day Italy. What he saw horrified him – men were left to die in agony without medical aid.

This sparked his vision for impartial medical volunteers, who helped the wounded no matter what side of the war they were on.

More

Loneliness: how helping others helped Shuchi feel less lonely herself

By

Imagine leaving your friends, family and career, and moving to a new continent. It’s a big adventure, but also scary.

Will you fit in, find friends, make a new life for yourself?

Shuchi, 34, faced all this when she moved from India to London with her husband.

“I suddenly felt very lonely as I moved here,” Shuchi said. “Even though London is very welcoming and I was able to settle down in this new environment very quickly.

“Back in Delhi I had a family group of around 30 people who I would interact with quite frequently. And I also had a large network of friends.

“I didn’t expect moving away… to impact me like this.”

Realising she felt lonely, Shuchi took steps to meet more people, including joining a salsa class, which gave her a lift.

“I would go… to my salsa class, where I would be surrounded by people and I might talk to everyone in the class during those two hours.

But then when it was over, “I would come home and still feel that I was not fulfilled.”

More

Here comes the bride: how a Red Cross wheelchair helped cancer survivor Madeleine on her wedding day

By
Madeleine and Roy sit on chairs and kiss wearing their wedding clothes. A British Red Cross wheelchair helped Madeleine get around at the ceremony.

Madeleine and Ray, © Emily Snoding/EJ Photography

Survived cancer. Got a wheelchair from the British Red Cross. Made it down the aisle. This is Madeleine’s real-life checklist.

One of the things you can do for your #OneKindThing is help us with our mobility aids service. Our wonderful staff and volunteers get thousands of people moving up and down the UK every day. Last year, we loaned out almost 60,000 wheelchairs.

More than just a practical thing, a wheelchair loan can truly change someone’s life. It represents independence. Hope. Recovery. One person who can vouch for that is Madeleine Wickett.

More

The therapy dog bringing people together

By

Up in the Shetland Islands lives a furry friend who’s helping people feel less lonely.

For #OneKindThing, we’ve been asking you to do just one kind act for someone – to surprise them, to help them or to put a smile on their face.

A dog called George already has that box ticked.

Meet George’s owner, Gillian

Gillian Ramsay works as a Community Connector for the British Red Cross through our partnership with the Co-op. She supports people who feel cut off from their community. And she’s got first-hand experience of that.

Her family moved from Yorkshire to the Shetland Islands 28 years ago. Gillian was a successful businesswoman. Her life was turned upside down when her husband died in a house fire.

Losing her home to a fire was devastating, and her husband’s death was an even greater loss. Gillian shut herself off from friends and family.

Living in a very rural area meant that she barely had any human contact during this time of self-inflicted isolation. She felt totally alone.

More

Beyond Panorama: a volunteer’s view of helping people home from hospital

By
British Red Cross volunteer John Cooper helps a woman shop for food in a supermarket after she come home from hospital.

British Red Cross volunteer John Cooper helps a woman go shopping after a hospital stay

British Red Cross volunteer John Cooper tonight features in the second part of BBC Panorama’s Crisis in Care programme. 

Here, John explains how and why he supports people to live independently at home after a hospital stay.

I wouldn’t describe myself as particularly remarkable and, before volunteering for the British Red Cross, I had very little experience of working with vulnerable or older people.

I am a retired engineer and project manager who decided to volunteer because I have always been an active person.

I’m nearly 70 myself now and, though I am retired, it’s always been part of my nature to be doing something so I’ve been a volunteer for the last four years.

I’ve learned a lot in that time but it is certainly a challenge because, when people come out of hospital after an illness or injury, they can sometimes be starting from the beginning.

More

Welcome back to life: Andy’s story

By

We’ve been asking you to do #OneKindThing to change someone’s world.

And we know, changing someone’s world can seem like a huge, sometimes impossible, task. But we know it can be done, because of stories from people like Andy and Ian.

Coming home after a tough time in hospital can be quite an isolating experience. Only you know what you’ve been through, and you can feel quite different within yourself. This is exactly what happened to Andy.

Andy’s from Bristol, and he’s living with bowel cancer. After his diagnosis, he had to undergo surgery at the hospital before returning home – which is when he began to feel lonely, and as if he had no one to turn to.

More