Young people urged to give

ENCOURAGEMENT: John Waite looks on as Andrew Tighe gives blood
ENCOURAGEMENT: John Waite looks on as Andrew Tighe gives blood

A BLOOD service supervisor who has give blood more than 80 times says he is concerned about the fall in young donors.

John Waite says he thinks young people often need to witness a blood transfusion or see relatives in hospital before they realise the importance of giving blood.

But rather than blame the young people, John says work-places could do more to encourage them to join the donor register.

“We are getting less young donors, you can see that,” said John, who supervisors blood donor sessions in Hartlepool.

“But maybe the young people just need some more encouragement to come along.

“When you look back over the years, a lot of young people started giving blood through work.

“It was part of their apprenticeship to become donors if they worked at the steel works or at the ship building yards.

“But workplaces don’t seem to do that anymore so it’s down to the person to sign up.”

The number of young donors aged 17-24 has dropped every year in the last five years.

That triggered the Mail into launching the Mine’s a Pint campaign, in partnership with NHS Blood and Transport, aiming to boost the number of young donors on the register.

John, who was supervising at a session at Hartlepool Town Hall, in Raby Road, this week, said: “Young donors tend to give blood when they realise the value of what they are doing.

“When they have been to hospital and they have seen relatives or loved ones or when they have seen someone get a blood transfusion.

“I think that’s when it hits home as to just how important giving blood really is.”

Last year just 172 people aged 17-24 signed up to give blood and NHSBT bosses are aiming to stop the worrying decline.

But it isn’t just young people who are needed to give blood.

Every year 225,000 new recruits are needed to replace the existing donors who drop out of the system.

The next donor session in Hartlepool will be held at Owton Manor Community Centre, in Wynyard Road, on Monday, February 11, from 2.30pm-3.45pm and 4.30pm-7pm.

Another session will be held at the Town Hall on Tuesday, February 26 at the same times.

To sign up to become a donor visit www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 1232323.