The therapy dog bringing people together

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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.

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

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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.

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D-Day: How the Red Cross helped in World War II

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A truck with the words American Red Cross clubmobile painted on its side drives down a ramp from a boat onto a beach in Normandy just after D-Day.

A Red Cross clubmobile lands in Normandy, July 1944

My first impression of the beach is that there were very few people there.

Then, on landing, I could see hundreds of soldiers scattered out and lying flat.

Every now and then a few would get up, run forward and fall flat again. My first shell came whistling in and I hit the sand too…

– Field director, American Red Cross

 

D-Day. Even 75 years later, it brings up strong feelings and, for some, strong memories.

D-Day was the largest seaborne invasion in history. On 6 June 1944, over 150,000 British, American, Canadian and Free French troops landed on the beaches of Normandy in France.

Combined with major Soviet military action on the eastern front, it helped end the war in Europe.

The Red Cross was there, too, and we were involved at every stage, from planning supply chains to caring for wounded soldiers.

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Welcome back to life: Andy’s story

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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.

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Periods, hygiene and brave young women volunteers in Bangladesh

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Azida, Nur Kayeda, and Hamida, three volunteers at the Red Cross camp for people who fled their homes after violence in Myanmar.

Azida, Nur Kayeda, and Hamida, hygiene volunteers

For World Menstrual Hygiene Day (Tuesday 28 May 2019), we’re shining a light on three 18-year-olds living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Together, they are dedicated to helping women and girls in their community.

Keeping things hygienic in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, is a difficult task.

It’s the biggest refugee camp in the world, and people live in small, cramped conditions. That’s why the British Red Cross has built latrines and wash facilities here to promote best hygiene practices.

But for a woman in Cox’s Bazar, it isn’t as straightforward.

After these latrines were built, we found that some women and girls weren’t always using them.

There are reports of gender-based violence in the camps.

Many women are terrified to travel to wherever their nearest toilet is located. Some worry that their dignity and privacy will be compromised.

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Kindness: decoded

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A British Red Cross volunteer sits inside a van and speaks to another volunteer through the window. They are planning their activities for the day.

 

We admit: here at the British Red Cross, we’re always talking about kindness.

It’s because we believe it has the power to change someone’s world – and we see it happening, day in day out, through our incredibly selfless volunteers.

So, to kick off OneKindThing, we wanted to dig a little deeper and see what you thought about kindness. We sent a survey out to over 2,000 people in the UK, and we’ve decoded its results.*

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Help change someone’s world with OneKindThing

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A young woman British Red Cross volunteer walks with an older man holding her arm for balance while they talk to each other.

We’re grabbing our aprons, clearing out our wardrobes and starting conversations. We’re getting on our bikes, we’re walking for miles and we’re training for events. We’re donating, supporting, helping.

All to do OneKindThing that makes a difference.

When someone’s going through an incredibly difficult time – maybe the worst situation of their life – even the simplest things can change their world for the better. We all have the power to help a person in crisis.

And when we work together, we are powerful. If we all chose to do one kind thing today, imagine the impact it could have.

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Record-breaking two cyclones hit Mozambique: urgent aid needed after Cyclone Kenneth

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A picture from the air shows flooding and destruction of homes and roads by Cyclone Kenneth in Mozambique

Cyclone Kenneth is one of the strongest storms ever to hit Mozambique

A second huge cyclone – Cyclone Kenneth – has slammed into Mozambique. This comes just six weeks after Cyclone Idai killed hundreds of people and damaged 35,000 homes.

Cyclone Kenneth also caused devastation on the island nation of Comoros and the neighbouring country of Tanzania.

Never, since records began, have two such enormous cyclones struck Mozambique in the same year. It is unusual even for one storm of this size to hit the country.

And a cyclone has never been known to hit Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado, where Cyclone Kenneth landed.

Yet Cyclone Kenneth was a huge category 4 storm, with winds of 140 miles per hour and 8-metre waves. This is taller than the average two-story house.

“Rains from the storm have already caused flooding of over 2 metres (6.5 feet) in Pemba, the regional capital of Cabo,” said Luke Tredget, British Red Cross disaster management coordinator for southern Africa.

“To put this in perspective, average rainfall in a whole year in the UK is 885 millimetres (33.7 inches).”

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