As thousands of people head to pubs this month as they reopen, NCS (National Citizen Service) is encouraging teens aged 16 or over to register to donate their ‘first pint’ – a pint of blood once they turn 17.
Launched in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant, ‘My First Pint’ is part of the NCS ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’ initiative aiming to boost blood donations from young people across the country to help get the right mix of people giving blood. Teenagers will be encouraged to make a donation, safe in the knowledge that their contribution will make a real impact to ensure the long-term supply of blood. With young people currently make up the highest proportion of blood donors, NHS Blood and Transplant wants them to continue leading the way and keep saving lives to help ensure the right mix of blood types and donors for the future.
With the NHS relying on around 135,000 new donors a year, the initiative highlights the need for new donors to come forward to match patient needs in the future.
More black donors are also urgently needed because they are more likely to have the blood types needed by black patients in need. While a new generation of young black Britons are regularly donating, more black blood donors are still needed. An additional 40,000 black donors are needed over the next three years. Black people are ten times more likely than white people to have the vitally important Ro blood subtype, which is vital for treating sickle cell disease, yet only around 1.5% of current blood donors are black. ‘My First Pint’ aims to show teens aged 16 or over how they can become part of the solution.
Mark Gifford, NCS Chief Executive, said:
“During the lockdown, we’ve seen the nation really come together and collectively show their support for the NHS. We want to maintain this momentum and ask less vulnerable teenagers across the country to keep doing good by donating their first pint of blood while potentially saving a life in the process. Teenagers are ready to play a part in rebuilding their local communities and want to help reshape the future post-COVID – this is just one of the many ways they can show their commitment to our ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’ initiative and demonstrate a ‘No We Can’ attitude.”
Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said:
“We need 400 people to register as new donors every day to maintain the blood supply, for the best chance of keeping hearts pumping. For many reasons, it’s vital that young people continue to register and donate – particularly young men and black people – not least because older people become less likely to be able to donate blood.
“Please do something amazing and register to give blood now to start saving lives, especially if you live or work near one of our donor centres.”
As part of the NCS, ‘My First Pint’ initiative teens can register on the NHS ‘Give Blood’ website where they can make an appointment to donate. Registration is open to teens as soon as they turn 16, with the opportunity to donate from their 17th birthday. Donation slots are available five months following registration, and there is advice on how to give blood during COVID-19: Extra safety measures are in place on session to keep donors and staff safe at this time.
‘My First Pint’ is part of NCS’s ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good,’ a wider pledge to enable up to one million hours for teens to take an active role in helping the country recover post-COVID-19.
For more information on how to get involved visit www.wearencs.com or follow @ncs. To register for a blood donation appointment visit the NHS Give blood website www.blood.co.uk