From helping people home from hospital to loaning wheelchairs, the British Red Cross does a lot more to promote health and wellbeing in the UK than you might think. In fact, we have been providing health and social care services for around 70 years.

Here are ten things you may not know about our health and social care work in the UK.

1. We help people home from hospital


We run 70 services to help people get home safely, often checking on their wellbeing once we’ve settled them in too.

In 2015, we helped 50,000 people get home – people like Raymond.

2. We run an ambulance and transport service

And in 2015, around 112,000 people used it. Our extensive fleet of ambulance vehicles and crews are regularly deployed to support NHS ambulance services.

We can also use our vehicles to help people return home safely from hospital, or attend important appointments.

3. We’re the largest provider of short-term wheelchair loans


 In 2015, 100,000 people borrowed a wheelchair or another mobility aid from us. The Red Cross has been lending wheelchairs since before the NHS was created.

We are the biggest national provider of short-term wheelchair loans – and often the only option for people who’d otherwise be facing months stuck on the sofa.

4. We help people regain their independence

If someone needs a little extra, short-term help in the home to maintain their independence, we can help.

In 2015, we supported 80,000 people to live independently with services that put people at the centre of their care.

For example, a Red Cross volunteer may help out with the shopping, pick up prescription, or walk the dog – whatever helps the individual regain their independence.

5. We support isolated people in rural areas

Jean holding up some of the stories she has typed on her typewriter.

Our Community Connect scheme funded by Land Rover, is designed to help people living in rural areas regain their confidence and independence. It operates across the Yorkshire Moors and Dales.

Through this service we were able to support 91-year-old Jean Farrow after a short stay in hospital – and even managed to fix her broken typewriter so she could continue her memoirs.

6. Around 2,300 volunteers support our independent living services.

Our volunteers are the driving force of our organisation. Together with Red Cross staff, they help people regain the confidence to live independently after a personal crisis.

Whether it is getting people home safely and quickly from hospital, doing the shopping or sorting out the heating, they provide a vital lifeline to many.

7. You can find us in A&E departments

A Red cross volunteer sits with a patient in hospital

We are currently present in more than 20 A&E departments across the UK.

Our volunteers work in hospitals to provide practical and emotional support to people moving through the A&E department.

Providing this listening ear means hospital staff can focus on what they do best.

8. We help people learn first aid

 In 2015 we helped 250,000 people learn life-saving first aid skills.

If people have a better understanding of where (and why) they should use public health services – and when it might be better to treat injuries at home – that can ease pressure on health services.

Our first aid resources and courses give people the confidence to carry out first aid.

9. We help those facing loneliness or social isolation

A man sits alone looking at a book

We support thousands of people each year who are experiencing loneliness or social isolation.

Through our partnership with Co-op, we are introducing new services over the next two years that will provide direct, personalised support for up to 12,500 more people.

10. Around 96 per cent of people would recommend our help

In 2015, 96 per cent of those who gave feedback said they would recommend Red Cross’ independent living services. Like 91-year-old Jean Farrow: “I’m so grateful to the Red Cross for everything they’ve done for me.”  Find a service near you.

Updated 20 January 2017