Third Sector Awards: Small Charity, Big Achiever – The Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes

Awarded to an organisation with an income of less than £500,000 a year that has made a big impact with an innovative project or projects.

Small Charity, Big Achiever – The Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes

What did it do?

The Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes (NABB) set out to inspire bikers across the country to provide the NHS with a robust and professional rapid-response courier service, delivered to professional standards, free of charge.

How did it do this?

The association targeted established advanced riders groups, such as members of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and police organisations. Regional meetings inspired attendees to create charity groups that were mentored by NABB until they launched a professional service to the local NHS. The association successfully lobbied for legal recognition for members as frontline emergency services, able to benefit from VAT refunds and zero road tax.

Why did it win?

Since 2008, the number of blood bike groups has risen from five to more than 40, providing a coast-to-coast service across the UK. NABB has also inspired the creation of six groups in the Republic of Ireland and is involved in start-up conversations in Australia, Canada and US, with further enquiries from Cameroon, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Blood Bike responses to NHS hospital requests have increased from about 8,000 in 2008 to more than 100,000 in 2019. Members now also supply most of the Air Ambulance charities with their blood products and are exploring additional opportunities such as the transport of placenta stem cell products. Always ready to adapt, the groups are looking at moving time-sensitive cancer drugs to the patient, rather than have the patient exposed to public transport in order to get to hospital.

What did the judges say?

“A really impressive programme on a small and tight budget. The National Association of Blood Bikes has shown that dogged determination, resourcefulness and planning pays off.”

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