An appeal has been launched to encourage more people to become volunteers in The British Red Cross.
Marie Hayes, British Red Cross Director for Scotland, who is launching the appeal, has urged people to ask themselves if they could give “just a few hours each week” to make a big difference in people’s lives.
The Red Cross has been responding to coronavirus since the outbreak began, as its volunteers continued to support the most vulnerable communities through the crisis.
Paul had been discharged from hospital for a week when he contracted coronavirus and was re-admitted. He spent around three weeks on a coronavirus ward, where three people passed away.
He wasn’t allowed any outside visitors, but was visited by the British Red Cross independent living team, which is based in the hospital. They checked in on him and helped him take short walks up and down the corridor to rebuild strength in his legs which had been weakened by the virus.
When Paul came home, the Red Cross helped sort out a walking frame which he depended on to get about, as well as a weekly food shop delivery to keep his cupboards stocked.
Paul hadn’t been out in three months and when his GP requested that he go for a short walk with a chaperone, support worker Scott and Emergency Response volunteer, Bridget were able to step in.
Red Cross volunteers in addition to their usual activities in the community provided invaluable support during the Covid pandemic. You may have seen them helping to steward people visiting the vaccination centre in Kirkwall when it was really busy.
The Red Cross has also played a key role in the response to the pandemic in Scotland since it started, helping people get their vaccines, supporting those hardest hit by providing practical and emotional support through its dedicated Covid-19 support line, providing cash grants, food and other essential supplies to people in urgent need.
The charity is now looking for volunteers to aid their Independent Living services in Orkney.
For people leaving hospital, adjusting to life at home can be a difficult time. Helping someone get their essential shopping, pick up their prescription or get the heating turned on can make all the difference for them to feel safe at home.
Amongst other roles, the charity is looking for people who would be able to offer practical and emotional support to people discharged from hospital, whether that’s stocking the fridge, feeding the cat or a just cup of tea and chat.
Ann, a volunteer who was rewarded for her 27-years of outstanding service last year, said she found volunteering “enormously fulfilling.” She added: “I loved being able to work in the local community.”
Marie Hayes, British Red Cross Director for Scotland said:
“The last 18 months have, for all of us, been like no other. People and communities really showed the difference they can make when they responded to Covid-19. However, as we emerge from the pandemic, we expect a surge in demand for support this winter.
“This is where you come in. If you would like to make a difference for your local community this winter, we are keen to hear from you. Volunteering just a few hours each week could make a big difference to people in need. We have roles to suit everyone, no matter how much time you have to give and whatever your experience.
“It could also be great for you. From meeting other like-minded and passionate people to learning new skills that could help your career, the British Red Cross is a place where you will be supported and recognised for what you do.
“Please, if you can, visit our website and sign-up today.”
Volunteers are a crucial way for the British Red Cross to support people in crisis and the charity is encouraging people to sign up. Visit www.redcross.org.uk to find an opportunity near you.
Roles available in Orkney: Independent Living Service Volunteer (Orkney) https://volunteer.redcross.org.uk/opportunities/21247-independent-living-service-volunteer-orkney-2021-10-13
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