Everybody knows that the British Red Cross is involved in international disaster relief and first aid.
Few, however, are aware of the vast range of day-to-day services the organisation provides in communities throughout Scotland.
Whether it is supporting vulnerable people to live more independently in their own homes for longer; helping patients with no alternative means of transport get to hospital appointments; befriending people who live alone and preventing them from becoming socially isolated; or lending someone a wheelchair to make their life easier, the Red Cross is there.
As part of the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, the Red Cross refuses to ignore people in crisis. And crises can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
In Scotland, the Red Cross has an army of 6,000 volunteers helping to deliver its services – ordinary people of all ages doing extraordinary things. But there’s always room for more.
Brian Gallie has been a Red Cross Care in the Home volunteer for three years now. He had been looking for something to do with his spare time when he came across the Red Cross.
The 33-year-old from Galashiels said: “I wanted to do something that would make a difference in my community. I knew the Red Cross had a great reputation but thought they were just all about food parcels and first aid. I was really surprised to discover all the different things they are involved in.
“I volunteered to be a Care in the Home ‘buddy’. It involves visiting people at home and doing all sorts of things from just giving them some company to taking them shopping, to a football match, or a social occasions. It’s about making their lives better and helping them to do things for themselves.
“It gives me a huge amount of satisfaction. I’ve been trained in lots of new skills – skills that make you attractive to employers – and I’ve gained a lot more confidence. I’ve met people from all walks of life and in all sorts of circumstances.
“I’ve made a lot of new friends through the Red Cross – people I never thought I’d have anything in common with. But we all have at least one thing in common – we want to do something worthwhile and make a difference. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
Becoming a Red Cross volunteer is easy. And it doesn’t mean having to sacrifice all your free time. Volunteers give as much or as little time as they can spare.
Whatever service interests you, full training will be given. The only qualification needed is a desire to make a difference.
For further information on volunteering with the British Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org.uk/Get-involved/Volunteer