British Red Cross branches out into campaigning

Charity follows the example of Oxfam and Save the Children by establishing its own advocacy team

The British Red Cross will run formal campaigns for the first time in its 136-year history.

The humanitarian organisation has traditionally focused on providing practical, on-the-ground help in crises. 

But it has decided to follow the likes of Oxfam and Save the Children by setting up a two-person advocacy team to lobby politicians.

A Red Cross spokesman said it had "become increasingly clear that we can and should broaden our help by influencing decision makers and policy makers to change the environment in which people become vulnerable to crisis".

"Our advocacy will be rooted in our experience and knowledge gained from our operations," he said.

"Advocacy at the British Red Cross is focused on humanitarian need. As such, the calls for change that will be made will transcend political boundaries and thus will not threaten our principle of neutrality."

The NGO will initially campaign on asylum issues and getting more people to learn first aid.

The spokesman said: "The public know that the Red Cross exists to help people in crisis and we are confident that people will support a broader way of achieving this.

"What we are doing is an extension of our overall operational offer and entirely within Charity Commission guidelines."

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British Red Cross

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