Call for more Millennials and Gen Zs in London to give blood

London is the only place in Britain where younger blood donors outnumber older ones, but that shouldn’t stop anyone signing up to save lives

Steph Ransome, 32, started donating as soon as she turned 17, inspired by her dad who was a lifelong donor.

The NHS is calling on more under 35s in London to give blood as national figures released today show that for the first time in five years, most donors are aged over 45. The capital is the only region where younger donors are in the majority.

NHS Blood and Transplant has revealed that older people now make up 51 percent of regular donors in England, overtaking 17-44-year-olds who had been in the majority since 2018.

In London however, two in three donors are aged between 17 and 44, making it the one region where younger donors outnumber their older counterparts.

Despite it bucking the national trend, the NHS needs more under-35s in London to become lifesavers in 2024. Younger people in the capital have the power to make a difference because blood is collected and distributed on a national basis.

Steph Ransome, 32, started donating as soon as she turned 17, inspired by her dad who was a lifelong donor. The charity worker from London has notched up 45 donations and is hoping to reach 50 by the age of 35.

“I give blood because I can and because it’s needed. Knowing you’ve saved or improved a life is so rewarding,” she said.

“It’s so much less scary than you might think. The actual donation takes only 5-10 minutes while you sit back and relax in a comfy chair. It’s a small commitment that could literally save a life.”

Steph donates both at community sessions, which are held in places such as church halls, and at permanent donor centres. There are five donor centres in London – West End, Tooting, Stratford, Shepherd’s Bush and Edgware.

“Every session is full of lovely people, both staff and donors, and I definitely overstay my welcome at the food table afterwards!” she said.

“It’s easy to fit giving blood into my life. I book using the app and never have a problem finding a slot. Donor centres are really convenient as there’s plenty of appointments and they’re open in the evenings and at weekends.”

Steph added: “I often notice I’m one of the younger ones in the room when I’m giving blood. I would encourage more people to donate, especially younger people.

NHS Blood and Transplant has also revealed that the national proportion of the youngest donors has shrunk, with only half as many 17-24-year-olds in England giving blood now compared with five years ago.

It is launching a campaign urging 17 to 35-year-olds to make a ‘no sweat, feel good’ start to the year – giving blood – that will easily slot into their lives alongside even the most committed exercise regime.

Dr Jo Farrar, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Because lifesaving blood only has a short shelf life, we need to constantly collect it and need a steady stream of new donors.

“For the first time in five years, we have more donors who are aged over 45 than under, so it has never been more important for younger people to become lifesavers by giving blood.

“Giving blood feels great. In just one hour you can save up to three lives. Please register and book your first appointment today.”

NHS Blood and Transplant’s Giving Types campaign has encouraged people who give in big and little ways – such as giving up a seat on a train or raising money for charity – to consider becoming a blood donor.

The campaign particularly aims to recruit more donors of Black heritage as they are more likely to have the blood type urgently needed to treat people with sickle cell, the fastest growing genetic blood disorder in the UK.

Readers can register as a blood donor and book their first appointment via the GiveBloodNHS app or at NHS Blood and Transplant advise that If you can’t find an appointment straight away please book for further in the future, your blood will still help to save lives then.

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