In the last few years, the UK has witnessed various large-scale emergencies, from severe flooding in Somerset to the devastating Grenfell Tower fire.
When crises like these hit, local communities naturally want to help. But it’s not always clear how to.
The British Red Cross knows that little acts of kindness can add up to make a real difference to people in times of need. We’ve seen it time and time again when responding to emergencies.
And so we’ve come up with a new, innovative way in which people like you can be there for your community in the event of a large-scale crisis – as a community reserve volunteer.
There have been increasing calls to utilise the time and talents of the general public in times of disaster. This is our way of doing that.
Community reserve volunteers form a national network of people that the Red Cross can contact to help in the event of a local, large-scale crisis like widespread flooding or a large fire.
We already have a strong team of specially trained emergency response volunteers who will continue to provide face-to-face support in the event of a crisis. Community reserve volunteers will provide a different kind of support.
They will focus on carrying out practical, behind-the-scenes tasks, specific to each emergency – like preparing kit and equipment or filling sandbags.
By signing up to become a community reserve volunteer, the Red Cross can harness people’s goodwill in advance of a crisis. So if the worst does happen, those registered in that area can have an active role in helping others promptly.
They will get a text asking if they can help – and if they can they simply text back ‘yes’ to receive further information detailing their shift, where to go and what to bring.
It’s also really easy to become a community reserve volunteer. Those over 18 and living in the UK can sign-up online after watching a short training video. The whole process takes less than ten minutes.
As a community reserve volunteer with the Red Cross you will be part of the official multi-agency response and perform key, useful tasks under our direction.
You may not be a firefighter or a first aider, but you’ve still got something to give to people in crisis. Kindness comes in many forms. Put yours to use as a community reserve volunteer.
Simon Lewis, Head of Crisis Response