Become a volunteer to help your community in an emergency

Stockport Council is joining the British Red Cross and Aviva in calling on people across the borough to sign up to a new scheme called community reserve volunteers.

Become a volunteer to help your community in an emergency

Image caption: Community reserve volunteers at a response exercise – ©BritishRedCross-Andrew Hasson

The British Red Cross community reserve volunteer scheme wants local people to work together as a team during major emergencies, such as flooding, fires and power failures.

The volunteers don’t need any specialist skills and will be called in if crisis strikes in their area. It’s quick and easy to sign up online and community reserve volunteers 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. They’ll work in small teams led by an experienced Red Cross volunteer who will ensure that the teams are well supported and directed.

The call for people to sign up comes after the British Red Cross experienced one of the busiest years since WWII, assisting 9,300 people in more than 1,500 emergencies across the UK in 2017, including terror attacks in London and Manchester, and the Grenfell Tower fire.

Residents can find out more and sign up to be a British Red Cross community reserve volunteer scheme at www.redcross.org.uk/reserves

Pam Smith, Chief Executive of Stockport Council, said: “Major incidents don’t happen often, but we want to make sure that when they do happen, our residents can come together to help others and do small things that make a big difference.

“No specialist skills are required to be a volunteer and you can decide whether to respond to an incident on a case-by-case basis. I’d encourage everyone in Stockport to learn more about this great initiative and sign up to be a community reserve volunteer.”

Simon Lewis, Head of Crisis Response at the British Red Cross, said: “The British Red Cross responds to a UK emergency every four hours.

“Last year we faced a huge number of major emergencies like those in London and Manchester. They brought tragedy to so many people, but we witnessed remarkable acts of kindness and saw that people really want to give practical help when crisis hits.

“By creating a national taskforce of community reserve volunteers we want to put local people 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.”

Find out more at www.redcross.org.uk/reserves