The charity, alongside Aviva, is calling for 10,000 volunteers to support in local emergencies
- Maggie joined MPs from across the political spectrum in backing the new scheme which uses the power of community to tackle emergencies
- British Red Cross responds to an emergency every four hours in the UK - from fires, to extreme weather conditions and flooding, to national emergencies including acts of terror
- The drive to sign up 10,000 volunteers comes after the British Red Cross experienced one of its busiest years since WWII in 2017, assisting 9,265 people in more than 1,500 emergencies across the UK in 2017
Erewash MP Maggie Throup is supporting a new British Red Cross scheme called community reserve volunteers which will create a national network of people ready to help in a local emergency.
Maggie attended a Parliamentary drop-in yesterday at the House of Commons, run by the British Red Cross and Aviva, to meet with volunteers alongside almost 40 other MPs from all parties.
MPs met with British Red Cross volunteers to hear about the initiative, as well as their experiences of being deployed to incidents such as floods and fires, and their reasons for signing up.
The MPs’ support for the project came after a report published by the British Red Cross and Aviva showed that the majority of people in the East Midlands would want to help if disaster struck in their community but 59% would not know what to do.
The report, ‘When Crisis Hits: mobilising kindness in our communities’, also revealed that 53% of people in the East Midlands think their community would be unprepared to cope with a large scale emergency such as a fire or flooding.
The scheme hopes to recruit 10,000 community reserve volunteers across the UK by the end of 2019 and it takes just ten minutes to sign up at redcross.org.uk/reserves
Speaking about the new scheme, Maggie said:
“Volunteers play a vital role within our society, with scores of people willing to give up so much of their free time for the benefit of others.
“I am certain that this new voluntary scheme, spearheaded by the Red Cross, will be invaluable to local communities at a time of crisis, in addition to providing welcome support to our emergency services.”
Simon Lewis, Head of Crisis Response at the British Red Cross, said:
“By creating a national taskforce of community reserve volunteers we want to put people and their communities at the heart of emergency response, to help communities rebuild and recover faster.
“Everyone has a role to play when disaster strikes, even the smallest act of kindness can make a huge difference. It’s quick and easy to sign up online community reserve volunteers, you don’t need specialist skills and we need your help now more than ever.”
The volunteers don’t need any specialist skills and will be contacted by text if there is an emergency in their community they could help with. They will undertake vital jobs like packing food parcels, blowing up airbeds for rest centres and filling sandbags in times of flooding. Any necessary training will be given at the scene of the crisis and you can confirm your availability when you are contacted.
The British Red Cross will be running emergency simulation exercises across the country to effectively practise deployment of this new team of volunteers in the coming months.
To learn more about the British Red Cross’ Community Reserve Volunteer scheme with Aviva and how to sign up, visit: redcross.org.uk/reserves