accessibility & help

You’re hired! Try your volunteering skills at the Big Red Cross Bus – the world’s first mobile chari

26 May 2010
Penny Sims 

Contact number: +44(0)20 7877 7044 / email: / out of hours 07659 145 095

• The Big Red Cross Bus is a Red Cross initiative - an all-in-one mobile charity shop and volunteering centre on a double decker bus

• The Big Red Cross Bus will be travelling around UK from 31st May – 12th June as part of Volunteers’ Week

• Bring a bag of clothes, books or DVDs to the Bus and have a go being a shop volunteer

The British Red Cross will be touring their Big Red Cross Bus around the UK from 31st May – 12th June, to get more people volunteering. The double decker bus is a joint travelling charity shop and volunteering advice centre, to help match people up to local opportunities.

The lower deck of the bus is a fully functioning charity shop, where people can browse, buy, or even have a go at volunteering in the shop.

Maryanne Burton, head of British Red Cross volunteering, said:

“Lots of people think about volunteering, but maybe don’t get round to doing it. This is a fun way for people to find out more and give it a go. Come along and shop, or you can try your hand at sorting, steaming and pricing the stock. This is a hands-on way to see where your skills lie; we need window dressers, sales people, book experts, all sorts of roles. There are many other ways to volunteer with the Red Cross too, and we’ll have an advisor on hand to match people to their ideal role.”

The Big Red Cross Bus is part of a targeted initiative to increase volunteering in the charity’s shops, which have seen increased business as a result of the recession. The Red Cross is also appealing for stock for their shop on the bus, which starts its tour in Stirling on 31st May, finishing in Birmingham on 12th June.

The Big Red Cross Bus is also a part of Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June 2010), which promotes volunteering in local communities.

Maryanne continued:

“Even a little time can make a big impact, for example even 2 hours a week helping in a Red Cross shop could help us raise enough money to train 50 people in first aid, or provide emergency relief overseas.

We also offer retail qualifications for young people to help them get into work. But there are other ways to get involved, including first aid, patient transport, or fire and emergency support services. We even have online volunteers, so there really is something for everyone.”

Anyone who interested in volunteering will be in good company – famous past Red Cross volunteers include Agatha Christie and the writer P.D. James.

The Big Red Cross Bus will be calling at 12 locations over the two weeks.
The dates and locations are:
Stirling 31 May
Newcastle 1 June
Bishop Auckland 2 June
Manchester 3 June
Birkenhead 4 June
Wrexham 5 June
Swansea 7 June
Plymouth 8 June
Salisbury 9 June
Hove 10 June
Northampton 11 June
Birmingham 12 June
For more information about volunteering or internships with the British Red Cross, go to: or call 0844 871 11 11

To follow the bus online from Wed 26th May go to:

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Notes to editors
For interviews, pictures or further information please contact: Penny Sims 020 7877 7044

• The British Red Cross has over 30,000 volunteers and 3,000 staff. That’s 10 times more volunteers than staff.

• Worldwide the Red Cross is estimated to have around 97million volunteers.

• Video diaries of British Red Cross volunteers are available via

• Famous British Red Cross volunteers include Agatha Christie and Hattie Jacques. Agatha Christie was a Red Cross nurse during the First World War, and Hattie Jacques volunteered as a nurse from 1940 – 43.

• Other famous volunteers for the British Red Cross include E.M. Forster (writer), Rudyard Kipling (author and poet), P.D. James (writer), Ruby Wax (comedian), Keith Chegwin (TV presenter) and Konnie Huq (TV presenter) who all volunteered either at home or overseas.

• The Red Cross was founded in 1863 by Henri Dunant, who proposed the creation of national relief societies, made up of volunteers. The British Red Cross was established in 1870.

• The longest serving British Red Cross volunteer in the UK gave 82 years of service.

• Roles for volunteers with the British Red Cross include: skin camouflage experts; supporting the fire and emergency services; first aiders; drivers; retail assistants and window dressers; school and youth workers; supporting refugees; helping people recently home from hospital; therapeutic massage; humanitarian education trainers; emotional care after major incidents; fundraisers and even office workers.

• You can even become a virtual volunteer online. Facebook and Bebo users can become Red Recruits, promoting Red Cross appeals and campaigns, and taking part in online debates. Sign up at

• To find out more about volunteering opportunities, go to: or call 0844 871 11 11

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on
with their lives.