The Sickle Cell Society are delighted to announce that NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) have awarded us a tender to deliver an initial 1 year pilot project, ‘South London Gives’, which aims at increasing black African and black Caribbean blood donors.
The project will start running in four south London boroughs: Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark, using a Community Organising model to reach into these populations. We aim to break down some of the myths, preconceptions and fears around blood donation and encourage people to sign up to become regular blood donors in their communities.
Community Organising is an approach that involves bringing people with joint interests together to take action and overcome areas of social injustice or inequality. The project will recruit and train Community Advocate volunteers who will connect with people and communities in their area to build a sustainable and resilient network of black blood donors who are committed to giving blood and positively impacting upon the lives of others. Each blood donation helps save or improve the lives of up to 3 people.
Although there is not a shortage of blood generally, NHSBT need to recruit a significant number of new blood donors from black African and black Caribbean communities due to an increase in demand for specific types of blood to treat sickle cell patients. Sickle cell patients needing regular blood transfusions benefit from more precisely matched blood, which is most likely to come from someone with the same ethnicity. More than 40,000 black African and black Caribbean donors are needed to meet this growing demand.
John James OBE, Sickle Cell Society Chief Executive said, ‘We are thrilled to have the opportunity to make such a significant impact on the lives of people with sickle cell through this project. We already have an extensive network of committed community members in south London and look forward to involving many new Community Advocate volunteers through this work.’
For information about volunteering or how your workplace, educational institution, faith group or community organisation can promote blood donation, please contact Tracy Williams, Project Manager, Community Organising via the form below.
You can find out how you can give blood near to where you live here.