Could you be a volunteer responding to fires, floods and terror attacks?
In major emergencies, our community reserve volunteers are there filling sandbags, handing out food and supporting victims. If you sign up too, you can help us make a huge difference to people's lives.
Our community reserve volunteers work together during major emergencies such as flooding, terror attacks and major fires. They are on hand to support the emergency services when extra help is needed.
The volunteer role requires no long-term commitment or extensive training - people are called out by text message in the event of an emergency in their local area.
“Small acts of kindness, and coming together as a team, can make a huge difference,” said Simon Lewis, head of crisis response for the British Red Cross.
Sign up today as a community reserve volunteer
One of our community reserve volunteers is Taran Vernon, from Farnham.
The 45-year-old was caught up in the 2015 Nepal earthquake while taking part in a charity hike on Everest. Since returning to the UK, Taran has taken part in fundraising activities for Nepal and said that her experiences there motivated her decision to sign-up as a community reserve volunteer.
“You could actually see the bit of mountain right in front of us shaking – left, right, left, right. Within a few seconds of the earthquake starting we heard a rumble to our left as an avalanche of rubble came through,” she recalled.
“That’s why I connected with this so much - it’s something that definitely hit a nerve. If something like this happened in my community, I’d want to be able to do something to help.”
Babs and George Biddle, from Southampton, have also registered as community reserve volunteers after taking part in a pilot project last year.
“We’ve been very lucky with our lives and we want to give back to other people. We made a good living, paid the mortgage and we’re both in good health,” explained Babs, 65.
George, a retired PE teacher, added that he found the registration process simple and thinks the general public will back the scheme. “Sometimes these online processes can take ages and you think – I’m going to be forever here – but this was all fine,” said the 77-year-old.
“I expect you’ll be surprised and overwhelmed by the response, when you invite the general public to give their support. We have a reputation in the 21st century for being mean and self-centred, but when you actually ask people to help you get the opposite.”
Michael Asante, a student from Winchester, signed-up as a community reserve volunteer to improve his CV.
I liked the idea of helping people and this is something that’s very relevant to what I want to do eventually, as I want to go into policing,” said the 20-year-old.
I think there’s a real satisfaction that comes from helping others, too.
Emergencies in the UK
We respond to an emergency in the UK every four hours. People are at the heart of what we do. If you’re inspired by what you’re reading on Stories, please consider donating to make sure we’re ready to spring into action.Donate