03 February 2020

Coronavirus: British Red Cross support for the families and friends of those in quarantine

British Red Cross volunteer Rukia Shepherd offers help at the family and friends support hub on the Wirral.

British Red Cross volunteer Rukia Shepherd offers help at the family and friends support hub on the Wirral.

British Red Cross volunteers and staff are supporting the families of people who have flown back to the UK from China following the coronavirus outbreak.

A friends and family support hub has been set up on the Wirral after two flights bringing people back to the UK from Wuhan in China touched down over the weekend.

The British Red Cross – alongside Wirral Council and other partners including Citizens Advice and Salvation Army – are offering help at a drop-in centre where people concerned or wanting to be near their loved ones can keep up to date about developments.

Nearly 100 people are now staying at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral, Merseyside, and they will remain in quarantine for 14 days from their arrival.

British Red Cross research shows that regular communication and contact with family and friends can play a considerable part in reducing stress and anxiety for those caught up in emergency or crisis situations.

The Wirral hub has opened about a 10-minute drive from Arrowe Park and will enable relatives and other loved ones to call in and receive help, support and advice on a range of issues.

There are a number of professionals and partner agencies on standby to give expert help or people can simply use it as a place to go for an informal chat or to be with others who are going through the same experience.

Robert Colburn, British Red Cross Emergency Response Operations Manager North England, said: “The big focus of course is on the people in isolation but it’s the ripple effect that we’re helping with. 

“For every person in quarantine, there are family and friends who may be worried and anxious.  What we’re doing in a small way is trying to support the individuals not immediately affected, but still just as in need of some emotional support. 

“And because the Red Cross works all over the UK, as well as internationally, we can network out. 

“If anyone in the centre is worried about a family member who they can’t reach, we can bridge that gap because we’ve got volunteers around the country who can help. 

“It’s that safe feeling for those in quarantine that while they may be in isolation, they’re not isolated from the world, they’re not isolated from their families and communities. 

“We can help maintain that connection for them.” 

Cllr Pat Hackett, leader of Wirral Council, said:

“This is somewhere where friends and family can come, relax, get updates and information and speak to other friends and family so they can share experiences.

“We’ve got a range of support organisations here – including the British Red Cross and Salvation Army – and lots of expertise from the council, including staff from children’s services, and adult services from our community health and care trust. 

“It’s a fantastic partnership and really encouraging to see how quickly all those different people organise and mobilise themselves to get here to help. It’s fantastic to see.”


For more information contact Paul Scott on 0207 877 7618 / 07834 525650. 

Supporting families of people in quarantine at Wirral unit after their return to UK from China