Blood donation scheme rolled out to more schools in Wales

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The Welsh Blood Service needs about 100,000 donations a year

A project to allow sixth formers to give blood while at school is being expanded by the Welsh Blood Service.

It is hoped the scheme will encourage teenagers to become life long donors.

Clinics have been happening at Penarth’s Stanwell High School, Cowbridge Comprehensive School, Bridgend’s Bryntiron Comprehensive and Porthcawl Comprehensive since 2015.

Now five more schools have agreed to hold sessions and others are expected to sign up next year.

More than 1,100 pints of blood have been collected so far.

The latest schools to sign up are Y Pant in Pontyclun, Cardiff’s Whitchurch High School, Monmouth School for Girls, Swansea’s Olchfa Comprehensive School and Newport’s Bassaleg School.

Mark Powell, head teacher at Whitchurch High School which held its first donation session this week, said pupils had “signed up in their dozens”.

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Maddie said she was nervous before the process began

“There were 96 slots available and they were nearly all full and they were expecting walk-ins as well,” he said.

“It’s such an important service that we’ll probably all need at some point during our lives.”

Pupil Maddie, 17, was one of the first to give blood.

“I was so nervous,” she said. “I was sitting all through my French class thinking ‘I’m scared’, but now I’m here it’s absolutely fine.”

A-level student Michael said: “I think it’s important that if I can give that I should give, because it’s not going out of my way much, and it’s really vital for anyone else who needs it.”

Mr Powell also gave blood.

“The Welsh Blood Service was brilliant,” he said. “They made you feel so relaxed and they really looked after us.”

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Michael was giving blood for the first time

The service needs about 100,000 donations a year to supply 19 hospitals in Wales.

It holds about 1,600 donation sessions across the country every year.

Welsh Blood Service clinical operations manager, Phillipa Blackford, said it hoped to encourage 300 new donors who must be at least 17 years old.

“Young people are very engaged with the process,” she said.

Article source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-50508549