A MASSIVE drive to encourage younger people to become blood donors has been launched.
According to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), which co-ordinates donor sessions, around half of the active blood donors in Hampshire are aged 45 or over.
Now the NHSBT hopes that releasing the figures during National Blood Week, which starts today, will encourage younger people to start donating.
The week is aimed at encouraging people to find out more about blood and blood donation – with the theme being Know Blood, Give Blood.
Geraldine Parker, NHSBT’s lead donor relations manager for Hampshire, said: ‘We value all of our existing donors, but want to build up our donor base to maintain a steady supply of blood, which has a short shelf life, to help save and improve patient lives.
‘In the past 12 months, a total of 13,105 people from Hampshire signed up to donate blood, which is fantastic.
‘We want to build on this to ensure we always have the right number of donors of the different blood groups to meet patient needs.
‘For this year’s National Blood Week, we hope the people of Hampshire will choose to sign up or come back and give blood to help save a life.’
The trust said 70 per cent of 16 to 21-year-olds want to know more about the blood donation process before deciding whether to donate.
NHSBT hopes that extra knowledge will prompt more people to become donors, ensuring a steady supply of blood for NHS patients.
As well as using blood for accident and emergency incidents, blood is used to treat a wide variety of illnesses, including many types of cancers such as leukaemia, or blood loss in pregnancy.
And potential and existing donors in Hampshire can also find out what being a platelet donor involves.
Platelets are collected in just 24 centres in the country, and one of those is in Southampton. Platelets are tiny cells in the blood which help to stem blood loss by enabling clotting and can be used to help cancer or leukaemia sufferers undergoing chemotherapy.
The News ran the Give Blood This Christmas last year with NHSBT, and aimed to encourage an extra 200 people to donate. In the end, more than twice that number came forward.
Anyone aged between 17 to 65, weighing more than 50kg (7st 12lb) and in general good health can could become a blood donor.
There is no upper age limit for donors who have donated in the past two years.
To find out more, call 0300 123 23 23, or visit blood.co.uk.
Where you can give blood
THERE are a number of sessions in the Portsmouth area where people can donate blood.
Here are the latest dates, places at times, to donate:
Thursday, June 13, Thorngate Halls, in Bury Road, Gosport, from 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
Wednesday, June, 19, Buckland Community Centre, in Malins Road, Buckland, from 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.
Thursday, June 20, Portchester Community Centre, in Westlands Grove, Portchester, from 1.30pm to 3.25pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm.