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.

For Mother’s Day, a mum-of-four opens up about how she overcame loneliness

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Sarah, a mother who was helped by the British Red Cross loneliness service and Home-Start, sits and looks into the distance

Sarah, © Percy Dean/British Red Cross

Sarah was 24 when she had her first child. Now, she is 32 and a mother to four.

Looking back, Sarah says she realises she had been feeling lonely since the birth of her first baby. Things came to a head two years ago when she moved to a new area and didn’t know anybody.

Research by the British Red Cross and Co-op has shown that many young parents find themselves in the same position as Sarah. Despite its joys, becoming a parent is one of the big life transitions that can lead to loneliness.

“How do you make new friends when you don’t know anyone?”

“It was very scary to move somewhere where I didn’t know anybody, I’ve never been alone like that before,” Sarah said.

“At first it was very difficult. I didn’t have anyone to talk to or anyone who could come to visit me. I was just spending most of my time at home, I didn’t have anyone to see or anywhere to go.

“It sounds weird but I didn’t know how to socialise, how do you make friends when you don’t know anyone in this city? I didn’t even have any way of meeting people.”

Luckily, joining a support group for young mums run by family support charity Home-Start helped Sarah make new connections.

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International Women’s Day: an ‘ordinary’ woman speaks up for refugees

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Shamila Dhana wears a British Red Cross jacket with the refugee women's group sitting at a table in the background

Shamila Dhana, an ‘ordinary’ woman doing extraordinary things

“I believe in … making ordinary people extraordinary.”

Every day, Shamila Dhana does this as a volunteer at a women’s group for refugees and asylum seekers run by the British Red Cross and our partners Stop Domestic Abuse.

Together, they tackle some of the most difficult issues these vulnerable women face.

Hate crime, honour, domestic and gender-based violence, social isolation, mental health and education are all on the agenda.

“To me, ordinary women are unsung heroes,” Shamila said.

“They are the woman that must get up and take the kids to school despite her period pains.

“The woman struggling to put food on the table because she is unable to work.

“The woman who is trying to navigate a complicated asylum process when she speaks little English. These women inspire me every day”.

As someone who considers herself to be an ‘ordinary woman’, Shamila felt shocked and honoured when she won the Pamodzi Creative ‘Inspirational Women’ award.

Many people had nominated the 36-year-old for Portsmouth’s first Inspirational Women Award to mark International Women’s Day 2019. 

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Letting the breaks off: why wheelchairs matter

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A British Red Cross volunteer kneels and speaks to a woman sitting in wheelchair that she borrowed from the Red Cross

Imagine you have just had surgery on your hip after a bad fall.

You’ve been in hospital recovering and you’ve been told you mustn’t put any weight on your leg. You are ready to go home and you can’t wait to get back, make your own dinner, see your friends, go to the shops.

With your crutches in hand and longing for home, you’re on your way. But it’s much harder than you expect and you realise crutches aren’t a suitable aid for you.

You try to explain this, but are simply told that is all that’s on offer. Gradually you realise you are going to struggle.

Many people just accept that they are stuck at home. They may be unable to get out or go to work, and have to depend on others. Some face days or months of isolation, loneliness and even depression.

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Reuse, recycle and volunteer: three resolutions that will help you, the Red Cross and the planet

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Three British Red Cross volunteers (a man and two women) make a toast with their teacups in a Red Cross charity shop stock room

Volunteers at a British Red Cross charity shop © Anna Gordon/British Red Cross

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?

Many of us have already given up on the resolutions we made only a month ago.

Maybe you are not going to run that marathon after all. Or even walk the dog for five more minutes each morning. Not today, anyway.

It’s easy for good intentions to get lost in everyday life.

But here are three ethical resolutions you can make at any time. And they will help you, the earth, and people who need British Red Cross support.

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Homeless people in Nottingham helped by the sit-up service

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Ruth Salter, a volunteer in the sit-up service for homeless people in Nottingham, holds a rucksack

Ruth Salter, sit-up service volunteer, © British Red Cross

As snow and cold weather blow in across the UK, everyone’s feeling the bite. But people sleeping rough have to face the cold in a way most of us can’t even imagine.

The British Red Cross helps in Nottingham by running a ‘sit-up service’ in partnership with Nottingham City Council, the community protection team and Framework Housing Association.

Sit-up gives homeless men and women a safe and warm place to go when temperatures are forecast to fall below zero.

I’ve been volunteering for the sit-up service since it started last year.

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Teachers and children feel the power of kindness in school

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“When you are kind to someone it feels really good because you are passing on how you feel to someone else. So, they then pass it around and then everyone has a really happy feeling.”

These words, from a pupil at Sudbourne Primary School in London, show how kindness can transform our experience of everyday life.

The children at Sudbourne are among tens of thousands of children learning about kindness through a free British Red Cross teaching resource.

Sharing the power of kindness is at the root of our work. Many schools also see kindness as an important value for children to learn so they are excited to be part of this new initiative.

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First aid for burns

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Friends and family gather for a bonfire, fireworks and sparklers

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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“We want to learn about refugees”: opening students’ minds and hearts

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“It is important to learn about refugees because people don’t really know about it and they start making assumptions,” said Alesia, a student Park High School in Stanmore.

Alesia and her class recently took part in a lesson using the British Red Cross Refugee Week teaching resource.

When young people hear news reports about refugees, they can sometimes be hard to understand. People may find it hard to empathise with what refugees are going through.

But teaching young people about refugees in the safe environment of school can really open their minds and emotions.

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