Give Blood, Spread Love, England

Give Blood, Spread Love, England

Give Blood, Spread Love, England is the Sickle Cell Society’s blood donation project. We work with black-heritage communities to: raise awareness of the need for ethnically matched blood to treat people with sickle cell; increase levels of confidence in giving blood and recruit new donors to the blood donation register.

Why is Our Project Needed?

Treating people with sickle cell

Donated blood forms a key part of the current treatments for sickle cell disorder. Regular blood transfusions are used to treat anaemia and can help prevent other symptoms associated with sickle cell, including strokes and Acute Chest Syndrome (when blood flow to the lungs becomes blocked.) For many, receiving donated blood regularly saves their life. Ethnically match blood is required as it is less likely to be rejected by people having frequent blood transfusions, and some blood types, such as the Ro subtype, are more commonly found in people of African and Caribbean heritage than people with white heritage.

Find out more about sickle cell and the power of blood donation by watching Bola’s Story

More Black-heritage blood donors need to come forward

We understand that some people from Black-heritage backgrounds may be particularly reluctant to give blood, for cultural or personal reasons, or may simply need more information about why it is needed and how and where they can donate. Our staff and volunteer team can:

  • Share blood donation facts: For example, the whole process of going to donate takes around 1 hour from beginning to end. Taking your blood only takes around 10 minutes, the rest of the time is spent checking that you are well enough to donate on the day and spending a short time resting after you have given. (This is when you get the biscuits!) People with sickle cell trait can donate blood.
  • Explain the positive impact blood donation has on peoples’ quality of life. For example, one single blood transfusion can save or improve the lives of up to 3 adults or 6 children.
  • Share personal experiences of receiving life-saving blood transfusions, being a first-time blood donor, and having a family member with sickle cell. Take a look at our Instagram page to see real life stories of those giving and receiving blood.
  • Explain what happens when you register to be a blood donor. Once you register through us, you will be contacted by the blood donation service by phone or email within 2 weeks. They will give you the opportunity to book an appointment to donate at a location and time that suits you.

NHSBT estimate that 40,000 new Black-heritage donors are required this year to meet the needs of sickle cell patients across England.

NHSBT estimate that 40,000 new Black-heritage donors are required this year to meet the needs of sickle cell patients across England.

Blood Donation and Covid 19

Ethnically matched blood has been in need during the height of the pandemic, and continues to be so. It is still vitally important that people continue to sign up to be donors and start donating blood. It’s useful to know that:

  • The blood donation service has introduced extra safety measures due to Covid 19, including social distancing at all donation centres, temperature checks and increased cleaning of surfaces. All donors are asked to attend alone to aid social distancing and, unless exempt, to wear a fabric face covering.
  • Donors need to wait 7 full days from having a Covid-19 vaccine before donating blood on the 8th day. If you had side effects from the vaccine such as headache, temperature, aches and chills, please wait 28 days from your recovery. Find out more about donating after a vaccine.
  • Travelling to donate blood is and always has been permitted, even during strict government travel restrictions. During the height of the virus the numbers of Black donors dropped considerably. You can help us reach the numbers of new Black donors needed by registering with us today.

How ‘Give Blood, Spread Love, England’ Works

We engage with our target communities through:

  • A high social media presence where we build awareness, share facts about blood donation and direct people to not only sign up to the blood donation register at, but to go a step further by asking their peers to do the same. By building a community of social media users, the ‘Give Blood Squad’, to represent and share our message, our online campaigns primarily aim to address young and socially engaged audiences who are keen to eradicate negative perceptions around giving blood and join us in making giving blood a ‘movement’ which challenges cultural, behavioural and societal norms. We actively engage with social media influencers and celebrities to share our messaging.
  • A team of trained community-based Advocates who use their networks of family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, churches and leisure interests to highlight the importance of blood donation and encourage others to share the message too, gradually sparking more and more people to get involved and advocate for change.

Support us to Turn up the Volume on Blood Donation

We are grateful to our funders

NHS Blood and Transplant, Terumo BCT and Peter Sowerby Foundation

Sign up to the blood donation register here:

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