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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From Kent to Zimbabwe: JB Gill on helping farmers deal with climate change

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JB Gill sits on the ground in Zimbabwe surrounded by children

JB Gill with children from Mwenezi, Zimbabwe ©BritishRedCross/Jordi Matas

Former JLS band member turned farmer and TV presenter JB Gill writes about his visit to Zimbabwe with the British Red Cross.

Last month, I was gripping the wooden handles of a traditional farm plough in a dry, dusty field, struggling to control the restless cattle pulling it along.

But this was not an item for Down on the Farm, the CBeebies show which I present to teach children about the skills and work that go into farming.

I was in Zimbabwe to see first-hand how extreme weather, drought and climate change have made life hard for farmers there.

But I also saw how a Red Cross project, with support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, is empowering people to change their lives.

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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

When snow and cold weather blow in across the UK, most of us can hibernate indoors and turn up the heating. But people sleeping rough have to face the cold in a way we 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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How I became homeless and hungry: Tallabah’s story from Yemen

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Tallabah, a woman who had to flee her home in Yemen, stares straight ahead

Tallabah in Yemen © Azzam al-Zubairi

Two years ago, Tallabah and her family lived in their own house.

Now, they camp in a tent pitched in a graveyard.

To feed them, she must beg for food.

Tallabah is one of a staggering 20 million people in Yemen who don’t have enough to eat.

We’re sharing her story to put a face to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

We hope it will help us all understand why Yemen’s people desperately need our help.

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After the storm: how the Red Cross is helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon

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Red Cross workers carry someone on a stretcher through the snow in Lebanon

Winter, Aarsal in Lebanon © Lebanese Red Cross

I have just come back from Lebanon and have seen first-hand how Syrian refugees there are struggling.

More than a million Syrians refugees now live in Lebanon. You may have seen in the news that harsh winter weather has hit them hard.

Vulnerable families are picking up the pieces after a storm drenched the tents in which many Syrians now live. Heavy snow and floodwaters and have damaged hundreds of makeshift camps.

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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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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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