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The British Red Cross are, more often than not, brought to our attention when there is an emergency situation abroad. Hurricanes, floods and earthquakes are on the increase throughout the world. The overseas volunteers put themselves at risk to help the victims of disaster, but our own "home-grown" volunteers are very much available to anyone who needs their help. These are some extracts from the BRC web-site and may inspire you to obtain help for yourself, or pass on the information to someone you know who needs some support. Independent living is important to all of us and a short term need can be met with dignity with the right help.

Care in the home - twice!

Pensioner Frances was singing the praises of the Red Cross' care in the home volunteers - after being helped by the service twice within a few months.
Frances initially used the service following an operation on a badly fractured right wrist. Nurses were concerned about how she would manage back home until they contacted the Red Cross. Frances was discharged without delay and a Red Cross volunteer helped her, taking her shopping and offering extra support around the house for several weeks until her wrist was out of plaster.
So when, several months later, Frances was admitted to hospital for a second time after suffering a suspected mini-stroke, she knew exactly what to do. On her suggestion, the hospital contacted the Red Cross when she was due to leave to arrange more home support. Frances said: "The same volunteer came back to help me and was such a tremendous boost, not only in a practical way but also because I knew there was someone there if I needed them."
"There must be lots of people in my situation whom hospitals would be reluctant to discharge - and who would possibly have to be re-admitted - if it weren't for the marvellous support of organisations like the British Red Cross."

A "wheely" good service

Following a leg operation, Margaret* was finding it difficult to get around, so she got in touch with the medical loan service in Peterborough. They provided a wheelchair with a raised leg extension, to help keep her injured leg straight.
However, that still left Margaret with the tricky problem of getting up the high step that stood before her front door at home. When she told her volunteer about this, he knew immediately he could help. It so happened that he personally had a couple of aluminium ramps stored at his home, so he quickly drove there and picked them up for her. By the end of that afternoon, she was getting in and out of her house with no problems.
Margaret had been grateful enough that the Red Cross had supplied the wheelchair and leg support in the first place, but when the volunteer went the extra mile to make sure that everything would work out, she was delighted. The wheelchair (and the ramps) gave Margaret the freedom to move around and be independent whilst she was recovering. (*Not her real name)

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