(Top Image) Jessica Higgs, Sales Assistant at The Co-operative at Long Lawford (second from left), Clive Miles, Society President (centre), and Mark Borrill, Long Lawford Store Manager (second from right) with representatives from the Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Heart of England Co-operative Society has handed £3,000 to the Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes (WSBB).

The windfall comes after months of votes among thousands of Society shoppers who were asked to choose one of three worthy causes in their respective areas within Coventry, Warwickshire, south Leicestershire and Northamptonshire to receive a share of £30,000, raised through the sales of 5p carrier bags over the past six months.

Society shoppers were handed a token during every visit to the checkouts. They were then asked to vote in-store for one of three causes.

With the most votes in Rugby, the WSBB received £3,000, while homeless charity Hope 4 received £2,000, and the Carers Trust received £1,000.

In almost six years since the WSBB was first launched the blood bikes have attended almost 7,000 incidents across the Warwickshire and Solihull communities.

Volunteer membership continues to grow and today the group includes more than 35 riders, six drivers, 40 other volunteers and five owner riders.

It is estimated that the WSBB helps save the NHS more than £35,000 a year in fuel and taxi expenses, transporting blood, tissue, urine and other samples from local hospitals – including George Eliot in Nuneaton and St Cross in Rugby – to pathology labs at University Hospital in Coventry.

Already this year the group has invested £30,000 in two new motorcycles and with more bikes in need of replacement costs by the end of the year are expected to reach in excess of £70,000.

Don O’Brien, Treasurer of the Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes, said: “Without these donations Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes would not exist. We would not be in a position to offer this free out of hours service to the NHS and therefore the local community.

“This donation alone is almost 50 per cent of our annual motor insurance premium, or it would enable us to purchase almost 2343 litres, or 518 gallons, of petrol for our three motorcycles and car.

“To date in this last six month period we have spent £2,938 on fuel.”

Don added: “I would also like to say, on behalf of Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes, a very, very big thank you to all of the Heart of England Co-operative Society’s wonderful customers who voted for us through the token scheme. Again without them our service to the community and the NHS would not exist.”

The donation has been made in line with a government levy introduced in 2015 to reduce the use of carrier bags which are harmful to the environment. As part of the levy, every penny raised through the sales of 5p carrier bags goes to charity.

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