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Red Cross work is a sign of the times
IT IS a symbol recognised all over the world.
The Red Cross is an international emblem, instantly recognisable as a sign of help and assistance.
But while the charity’s work across the globe is well known, not everyone in Dorset will know just how much goes on locally at its base in Poundbury.
From providing mobility aids to people who live independently, to running first aid courses, to reuniting people with relatives across the globe, the charity’s work is far more varied than many might think.
Like any charity, the Red Cross is dependent on fundraising and donations to survive as well as the sterling efforts of around 300 dedicated volunteers.
Senior service manager for humanitarian action Jamie Piriou said raising awareness of the charity’s work at a local level was an issue.
He said: “A lot of people don’t know what we do in the UK let alone in Dorset.
“Emergency service support work is the core of what we do.
“The fastest growing service is our independent living service, which includes a contract with Poole hospital for an assisted discharge service.
“We have also got first aid courses and do first aid at events and we are involved in the international side so we do work around refugee support in this country and international family tracing.”
There is also a strong educational element to the Red Cross’s work that sees the charity look at four core themes with young people from the age of nine to 25 – conflict, disaster, health including first aid and humanitarianism.
Jamie said: “We do a lot of work in schools trying to help young people to understand crises and to feel they can do something about it.”
Fundraising is key to the Red Cross’s efforts with upcoming events including a fashion show at Weymouth College on Wednesday, November 20.
Dorset community fundraiser Beth Collins said: “We are always looking for people to get involved in fundraising.
“Something as simple as organising a coffee morning with friends or giving an hour to help with a collection can make such a difference to our work supporting those who are facing a crisis.”
Jamie said the charity is always looking for volunteers to help it continue its much valued work and is particularly on the lookout for drivers.
For more details on the work of the Red Cross in Dorset or to volunteer call Jayne Peters on 01202 656145 or visit redcross.org.uk
Charity spreads the word on first aid
A NEW area of the Red Cross’s work is seeing the charity reach out to bring first aid to new sections of society.
Community-based first aid co-ordinator Sara Hodges said the charity was reaching out to those who may not have thought about learning first aid before.
She said: “It’s quite a new thing for the Red Cross.
“We have the usual first aid courses people do for work or private purposes but this is working with the community and in particular vulnerable groups.”
The initiative involves
taking first aid to people with disabilities or special needs as well as homeless people,
substance users and other groups.
Sara said: “We are reaching out to them and adapting
programmes to suit their needs.
“A lot of people are not aware it can be done, they think there’s a set way of doing first aid.
“Once they are aware of the programme they are learning an awful lot from it.”
Another way the Red Cross is increasing its reach into the community is the
‘multiplier’ approach, taking people from an organisation such as HMP and YOI Portland and training them so they in turn can teach
New facility opens
THE NEW facility at Parkway Farm Business Park, which was officially opened in November 2011, enables the charity to bring all its staff and vehicles together at one site.
Those vehicles include the fire and emergency support vehicle, which heads out to fires, floods and other
emergencies to look after those affected.
Volunteers who man the
vehicle are able to offer a warm place of comfort as well as
counselling, spare clothes, food, drink and other items to offer comfort.
The service runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with one vehicle covering the whole of the county.
Volunteer Jenny Peck said: “We work in close liaison with the fire brigade and get called out to fires, floods and anything that the emergency services are dealing with and they need a place of safety for people.”
The volunteers do not have specific target times to reach an emergency, but try and get there within 90 minutes
whenever possible and often arrive much quicker.
Volunteer Peter Robinson,
pictured right, said: “We are not emergency response but we try to get there as quick as we can.”
The demand for the service is obviously growing, with 76 call-outs so far this year compared to 60 in the whole of 2012.
Rick’s often on the run to help people
A GROWING and vital area of the work run from the Poundbury base is the independent living services.
Driver Rick Squibb delivers around 400 mobility aids a year to people across the county.
They can be for people who have just come out of hospital and need a short-term loan of a wheelchair, or disabled or elderly people coming down to the area on holiday who are unable to take their own wheelchair or mobility aid with them.
Rick said: “It gives them independence so they can go home or get out and about.”
Keen runner Rick, 67, has been tireless in his efforts to raise funds for the charity.
He recently completed his 25th marathon in Bournemouth to raise money for new children’s wheelchairs.
Rick had been hoping to raise enough to buy three wheelchairs but the £450 he raised will now help the charity to buy five.
He can still be sponsored online at virginmoneygiving.com/RickSquibb1
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