Category: UK

The British Red Cross is there for people in the UK. We can help with a wide range of things, from hiring a wheelchair to getting home from hospital. This mixture of useful information and true stories about our work shares information about our impact on individuals and communities.

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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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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Decluttering your wardrobe made easy with these three tips

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Having a wardrobe clear-out for charity makes it onto a lot of New Year’s resolutions list, and this year we have an amazing cause to spur you on.

We’re kicking off 2020 with our It starts with her appeal, where through UK Aid Match, every pound spent in our charity shops on women’s clothes and accessories will be doubled by the UK government until 31 March. Together, we can help thousands of strong women to build stronger communities in Bangladesh.

So what are you waiting for? Find your nearest British Red Cross shop and spring your January resolution into action.

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Small acts of kindness become powerful when tackling loneliness

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A British Red Cross loneliness volunteer and an older man stand in a doorway, smiling.

@Simon Rawles/British Red Cross

As we head into the New Year, and with a new government, it feels like the right time to reflect on how far we have come with tackling loneliness in the UK. We know it continues to be one of the biggest public health crises of our times and its effect is especially important during the festive season.

At the British Red Cross, we see through our services up and down the country how Christmas can be an especially difficult time for people who are living with loneliness. Nonetheless, the good news is that together with our partners, we are making big steps towards a less lonely year in 2020.

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How the Red Cross brought Mada’s refugee family back together

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Mada stands hugging her daughter Hala with the UK Parliament in the background. They were helped to join Mada's husband in the UK through the British Red Cross family reunion programme.

Mada and Hala in London

We always hear stories and see emotional refugee family reunion videos but what are the events that lead to this moment of joy? Today I want to share the full story with you.

In 2012 my beautiful country, Syria, was engulfed in war, wages were plummeting and living costs were sky high. My husband lost his job and we could no longer provide for our family or guarantee their safety.

We were terrified our kids would go to school and not make it back home. Living in such uncertainty and danger is devastating for a parent.

The conflict was suffocating us. We had to leave.

The pain of three years of separation

We made it to Egypt, which was also embroiled in conflict, and political and economic instability. My husband decided to seek safety in the UK and left us there temporarily as he feared the whole family would not make the journey.

My husband made the treacherous and, at times, life-threatening journey to the UK. When we said goodbye to him, I could have never imagined that we would not see his face again for three years.

For those three unbearable years I worked two jobs to provide the basics for my two young children who ached for their dad. We felt so alone.

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