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78% in South East admit they could do more to be kinder, says British Red Cross survey

South East residents believe doing just one kind thing can make the UK a better place.

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The majority of people believe we can all be kinder to each other, according to a survey of the UK public for the British Red Cross.

The survey of 2,005 UK adults, 275 in the South East was carried out by Opinium for the British Red Cross between 3 – 7 May 2019.

Nearly four in five people surveyed admitted they themselves could do more to be kinder to others, with a staggering 99% agreeing that if we all did one kind thing a day, the UK would be a better place.

Preventing people from feeling lonely ranked top for the difference people would most like to make. Among the small acts of kindness people shared that had a big impact were:

  • A stranger at a petrol pump lending them 2p when they had no cash and were just over the £30 limit to use contactless
  • Friends who’d only ever met on Twitter sending another Twitter friend a box of goodies to cheer them up when they were ill
  • A neighbour nipping next door to re-plant a rose bush that had died, as a surprise
  • Coming home to a houseful of happy post-it note messages from a flatmate
  • Being met at the door with a… cheesecake after a particularly bad day at work

Alongside the survey, the British Red Cross is launching its One Kind Thing campaign, encouraging everyone in the UK to do something kind to support its vital work.

From donating money, time or unwanted clothes, to taking part in an event, the charity is inviting us all to choose ‘one kind thing’ to ensure its volunteers can keep connecting people in crisis with people’s kindness, across the UK and the world.

Executive Director for Communications and Advocacy at the British Red Cross, Zoë Abrams said:

“The British Red Cross connects people in crisis with people who want to help. We reach out when people need us most so they know they don’t have to face their challenges alone. These survey results show the UK public believe we can all manage to do one kind thing, and it doesn’t have to be grand scale to make a real difference.

“Even the simplest acts of kindness can start to remove some of the fear and anxiety we all feel when faced with adversity, however big or small. That’s as true in refugee camps thousands of miles away as it is on a street here in the UK.  It’s heartening to see how strongly people recognise that; now we must mobilise and empower one other to create a kinder nation.”

Clinical psychologist, Dr Sarah Davidson, heads up a team of British Red Cross staff and volunteers trained to support people wherever they are in the world when crisis hits.

“Increasingly we’re seeing how emotional support is as vital as water, food, shelter and cash, to help people start to recover. And kindness is at the heart of that because it connects us to each other. Whether you’ve lost your home, your relative or your livelihood, having another human being notice your pain and be kind to you helps break through feelings of pain, loneliness and isolation.

“It may not change your situation immediately but it can reduce feelings of anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. It’s a two-way process. Whether you’re experiencing kindness or being kind, both of you feel valued and better able to cope.”

The British Red Cross offers practical and emotional support to people in crisis in the UK on average every four hours. From major disasters to looking after people who’ve lost their homes in a fire or flood, it sees every day how small acts of kindness can make a vast difference to how people cope.

Internationally, its volunteers support people in the face of natural disasters and epidemics, as well as those forced from their homes through hunger, poverty, and conflict. Very often those volunteers are victims of the same extreme circumstances themselves.

Find out more about the One Kind Thing campaign by searching online for ‘Red Cross One Kind Thing’. You can also get involved on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Linked In, using the hashtag #OneKindThing.

Coronavirus

West Sussex refuses to support Crawley schools decision of NOT fining parents for keeping children absent

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September seems to creeping ever closer and with it comes the supposed return to school for children across the town.

But with the news that parents ‘must’ send their children back to school come the start of the new school year, also came the news that one head in paticular had gone on record to say he would not fine any parent who kept their child at home.

Head of St Wilfrid’s Michael Ferry was interviewed on breakfast television where he stated that he would not fine a parent. This then led to a whole debate about who was right and what the right decision should be.

Now West Sussex County Council has added to this furore by refusing to support a decision to not fine a parent made by any head teacher or school in Crawley.

In a statement a West Sussex County Council Spokesperson said:

“We welcome the plan for all children to return to the classroom in September after, what has been for many, a lengthy absence.

“We recognise that some children may be anxious about returning to school and will work closely with our schools to help them prepare children and build the confidence of parents  and carers in the plans for a safe and managed return.

“We will continue to work with schools to engage with and support parents and carers in getting their children back into school before considering issuing penalties for poor attendance. Issuing fines for non-attendance is always a last resort.”

The lack of apparent support from the county council shows an ever growing divide on decisions being made around the ongoing problems with the coronavirus.

Responding to the comments from West Sussex, Michael Ferry said:

“The guidance allows head teachers as far as they can to make local decisions to meet the needs of their school communities.  If one of those decisions happens to be that we are not going to fine people for something that isn’t their fault then I would expect the local authority to support the headteachers in doing so.

If only 10% turn up when we reopen then I would say I have failed because I have not got across the message about what measures we are taking to protect our students.”

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