The British Red Cross – What we do!

The British Red Cross


Boy with boxesThe British Red Cross helps millions of people in the UK and around the world to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies, disasters and conflicts.

Our volunteers and staff help people in crisis to live independently by providing support at home, mobility aids and transport. We also teach first aid skills. We are part of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent humanitarian network.

We refuse to ignore people in crisis.



Support in emergencies:

Pascale on the hillsThe British Red Cross supports people affected by emergencies both in the UK and abroad – from natural disasters such as floods and fire to terrorist attacks.

Fire and emergency support:

The British Red Cross helps people cope after a fire or other emergency, providing practical and emotional support.

Event first aid and ambulance support:

The British Red Cross supports the NHS, public event organisers and individuals through the provision of high quality first aid and ambulance services.

Independent living:

Happy marathon finisher (permission to use)The British Red Cross provides support at home, transport and mobility aids to help people when they face a crisis in their daily lives.

Support at home:

The British Red Cross offers short-term practical and emotional support at home to help people regain their independence.

Mobility aids:

The British Red Cross lends wheelchairs and other independent living aids.

Transport support:

The British Red Cross offers support to people affected by crisis by providing transport for medical appointments and essential daily needs.

Hand, arm and shoulder massage:

The British Red Cross offers hand, arm and shoulder massage to promote wellbeing for people who need support at home and to relieve stress in emergencies.

Refugee support:

The British Red Cross helps refugees and asylum seekers access essential services and adapt to life in a new country.

International family tracing:

The British Red Cross helps to restore contact between families separated by armed conflict, disaster or migration by using the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network.



Longer, more descriptive explanations –


International emergencies


FB3 025Earthquakes, such as Nepal in 2015 and Haiti in 2010, extreme weather such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Phillippines, famine in sub-saharan Africa, the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa, and war in places like Syria and Yemen are some of the disasters that have brought communities and entire countries to their knees.


As part of the international Red Cross-Red Crescent movement we provide search and rescue, recovery, basic food, clean water, medication, and shelter. We then stay in places affected in order to help the people get their lives back on track and prepared for possible future disasters.


The Red Cross also has ongoing projects, such as the HIV-aids orphanage in Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa, providing clean water to families in rural Kenya, and disaster preparedness in Bangladesh, which has reduced the death toll due flooding there from thousands to dozens.


Emergency response


In recent years we have witnessed: London bombings, gas explosions, shootings, power cuts, floods in the South West, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Northumberland and other extreme weather incidents. These incidents have caused injury, illness and even death, and forced people to flee their homes, or be imprisoned in them. Our trained volunteers can help with: rescue and evacuation, setting up emergency rest centres, checking on vulnerable residents and getting food, water and medicine to them.


Fire and emergency support


Your house burns down. You and your family are stood on the front lawn with nothing as the fire service put out the fire and then have to leave for the next emergency. Our volunteers (on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year) arrive in a special vehicle which contains a hot shower, hot food, tea and coffee, clothes, baby food, baby milk, dog food, toiletry kits, communications, list of emergency accommodation, and trained listening ears.  They help you get on your feet again.


Home from hospital


Accident or illness often leaves people unable to continue their daily lives on leaving hospital. Our trained volunteers help those who need assistance during this difficult period. We help them to settle back into their everyday routine and most importantly give them back a sense of independence and restore normality.


Wheelchair loans


Illness and injury can leave people immobile and in need of a wheelchair – stuck at home or stuck in hospital for days on end. Without a chair people stay in hospital longer, children cannot go to school, and people are re-admitted to hospital more often. A chair massively increase the quality of life of the recipient. And also very much their family or whoever may now be looking after them. In many areas. we are the only free provider of wheelchairs, and are referred to by hospitals.


Refugee support


Imagine fleeing utterly devastating war and disaster in your home country, and then finding yourself without money, food, clothing, basic essentials and even somewhere to stay in a strange land. This is what faces many people in the UK.  Our volunteers help them to access essential services and adjust to life in a new country. We provide basic items such as food parcels and vouchers, sleeping bags, blankets, toiletries and baby clothes. We operate a vital drop-in advice centres for destitute refugees.


Tracing and messaging and family reunion


War or disaster literally tears families apart. Often separating them by thousands of miles of land and sea. When 14 year old Derek fled from conflict in Rwanda to the UK, he lost touch with his family. We helped Derek send 11 Red Cross messages and he recently received a message saying his mother is alive and well. The message was addressed to ‘Derek, Rwandan refugee in Leeds.’ We have also traced his brother in Holland and sisters in South Africa, and reunited them.


First aid


Any one of us could suffer an accident or illness during the course of the day. Simple first aid could massively increase our chances of survival. From choking to heart attack to traffic accidents. We also provide first aid cover at public events.