As the younger generation, what do we know, if anything, about one of the oldest and most effective charities in the world; the Red Cross.
It sometimes seems that we are inundated with flyers through the post, staff in the street and advertisements on the television, informing us of the work of various charities and how we can donate to help their valuable work continue. It’s easier just to ignore it, putting the flyers in the recycling and popping to the loo during the advert.
In an attempt to condense the values and importance of the Red Cross, I’m going to focus on a handful of stand-out points which I hope will grab your attention and perhaps alert you to the work that may play a much more pivotal part in your life than you realise…
Do you have an elderly relative who needs help in their home?
Do you have family living abroad, in areas prone to natural disasters?
Have you ever received first aid or needed help in finding a lost loved one?
These are just a handful of scenarios which the Red Cross can offer help with.
If you speak with a grandparent who was alive during World War Two, it’s likely that the words “Red Cross” will play a pivotal part of the conversation. Although founded many years previous in 1870 (interesting fact – Florence Nightingale was the inspiration behind the set up of the RC), the charities’ role in both World Wars was crucial to the survival of many. The Red Cross teamed up with St John’, providing aid to the sick and wounded, to civilians and soldiers, both in the home and in hospitals.
Although the history should be recognised and admired, the help that the RC provide nowadays may offer more interest. Following the recent terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping centre in Kenya, the British RC have sent two volunteers to offer psychological support to Britons caught in the disaster. More immediate support was provided by the Kenyan Red Cross who were among the first on the scene, evacuating hostages to safety and reuniting families. No price can be put on such humanity.
Specific to the UK, the Red Cross also recently assisted eleven potential victims of human trafficking from Eastern Europe, after houses were raided in Derbyshire. The RC provided practical support such as clothing and hygiene items, as well as emotional comfort.
On a lighter note, H&M have raised over £1 million by donating stock to be sold in RC shops . This is great for us younger generation who may think twice about buying clothes in charity shops, considering them as ‘untrendy’, but now the latest fashions are available at your fingertips for reasonable prices as well as supporting Red Cross. A win win situation!
The Red Cross is also backed by many celebrity supporters, from Hollywood actor James McAvoy to comedian Stephen Amos to Konnie Huq, which helps to spread awareness of the work the Red Cross and attracting valuable volunteers and funds.
If you feel inspired, getting involved with the Red Cross is easy – visit http://www.redcross.org.uk/ for more information, including job and volunteering opportunities.
I hope I’ve shed some light on, who I feel, are one of the most valuable charities out there, and if nothing else I hope you will remember this:
If you ever find yourself in a crisis, the Red Cross will be there.