Oban fund drives blood bikes charity forward

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A charity which transports vital medical supplies and samples free for the NHS is to receive a £1,000 donation from Oban Common Good Fund.

The donation to Highland and Islands Blood Bikes (HAIBB) will be used to buy a gazebo and accessories to help the charity with its fundraising efforts in the Oban area.

HAIBB has been working in this area since March and has successfully completed a pilot service which means the partnership between it and NHS Highland is set to continue permanently with plans to expand even more when the charity has the capacity to deliver.

In June, 14 motorcyclists from across Oban had signed up to help but more volunteers are still needed to be riders, raise funds and be controllers to organise the courier runs as needed.

Now that the pilot project has moved on, the charity is keen to build up its bank of volunteers as demand from the NHS increases.

Ross Sharp, HAIBB President, said: ‘Every donation we get is precious. We are very keen to increase our operations in the Oban area, with some very dedicated riders and volunteers already on board. This donation, once COVID restrictions ease, will allow us to have an easily identifiable presence in the area, so we can engage with the general public and local businesses to tell everyone what we do and hopefully attract much- needed donations.’

He added: ‘We are really keen to engage with the community as we really need volunteers to help us and in doing so help the NHS improve their patient experience by ensuring samples and other important items are processed more quickly.

‘To do this we need riders, who will be expected to commit to an advanced rider qualification; controllers, who have the task of receiving the runs from the NHS and allocating the work to the riders, usually from their own home, and fundraisers, to be our face at events and receive donations. I would really urge anyone who has some time to spare and wants to help a worthy cause to get in touch with us.’

HAIBB is part of a UK-wide network of blood bikes supporting the NHS, operated entirely on a voluntary basis, 100 per cent free to the NHS. It operates from 6am to 8pm, seven days a week.

The Blood Bikes are liveried in the same way as emergency response vehicles and its riders will always be identified by their distinctive BLOOD vests. The bikes will also carry distinctive UN3373 BLOOD boxes on them.

‘If you see our riders out doing their bit please give them a wave and give them some space. They are doing it for free, free to our NHS,’ said Mr Sharp.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer, making a donation or becoming a sponsor go to www.haibloodbikes.co.uk or call 07793 975916.