We have joined forces with the National Lottery Awards to help reward a worthy project in the health sector that has recieved a grant from The National Lottery Charity. We asked YOU to vote on who you thought most deserved the top prize. The results are now in and we can exclusively reveal that The Blood Bikers have come out on top and will receive their reward at an exclusive ceremony in London next month. Crimewatch Roadshow presenter Rav Wilding went up to North West Blood Bikes Lancs & Lakes to hand deliver their award.
Here is everything you need to know about The Blood Bikers and why they deserve this much coveted prize
North West Blood Bikes Lancashire Lakes
in April, an urgent call went out to Blood Bike groups across the UK. A
medical sample in Dumfries and Galloway needed to get to Coventry
Hospital 250 miles away. North West group volunteers took part in a
‘relay run’, picking up the package in Lancaster, delivering it to Keele
services in Staffordshire, where it was passed to another rider. The
final leg was completed by Shropshire and Staffordshire Blood Bikes.
This marathon delivery is just one of the call-outs attended by the
North West group’s band of volunteers. The service is often faster than
car or air – and it’s free. The North West group has the largest
membership base of any such service in the UK – around 200 riders and
150 volunteers in other roles. Volunteers distribute items between 16
hospitals across five trusts, including platelets, donor breast milk,
patient notes and theatre equipment -anything that fits on a motorcycle.
The Lottery grant funded one of the group’s 14 liveried bikes, though
volunteers also use their own.
Now in its 13th year, the awards aim to find the UK’s favourite lottery funded projects and reward them for their hard-work. Honouring specific projects and individuals and the real unsung heroes who make a difference to other peoples lives.
Awards are given across seven categories, art, education, environment, health, heritage, sport and charity/volunteer and this year we joined forces to help find the winner of the health category of which 7 great causes were nominated.
Since 1994 the national lottery have awarded 490,000 grants and these seven nominees are testament to some of the amazing work that can be achieved with their help.
Here are the six other projects and worthy causes that were nominated in the category.
Life Matters (New Life Councelling)
Life Matters (New Life Counselling) delivered counselling and group-based support to 16-18 year olds in North and West Belfast between 2006-2009 with an aim of reducing self-harm and helping to prevent suicide and risk-taking behaviour such as drug abuse. Norther Ireland has the highest suicide rate in the UK and research suggests the main reasons for this trend are social deprivation and the violent legacy of the troubles. Whilst many people at first thought “It’s not for me. I’m not mad” their attitude changed as part because of the group nature of it and it enabled these vunerable teenagers to support each other and feel understood.
Sailing as therapy. Molly Gorman, 39, has suffered from mental health problems since she was a child and when she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2014, a community nurse referred her to Sea Sanctuary. This marine-based service in Cornwall offers therapy in a large wooden yacht. Molly’s health means she is unable to work but she has a renewed sense of wellbeing after taking up a Sail Into Life programme – a four-day placement onboard a yacht – last summer. “The sail was a life-changing experience for me. As well as being an opportunity to try something new it provided me with a safe place, a change of routine and a space to relax,” s. Molly has also been introduced to mindfulness through the programme, as well as learning qigong healing exercises and fishing.Around 150-200 people suffering from poor mental health receive support from Sea Sanctuary each year. Those to benefit include veterans, members of the emergency services, young people and those suffering from drug addictions.
If: Volunteering For Wellbeing
Ten Greater Manchester museums are involved in this volunteer placement and training programme, including People’s History Museum, Manchester Jewish Museum, and Whitworth Art Gallery. The programme uses museum resources to deliver bespoke training packages for individuals to learn about the museums and prepare them for their volunteer roles. Also included are art classes, mindfulness, photography sessions, theatre visits, and the project has recently set up a volunteer choir. Anyone wanting to gain confidence, work experience and new skills to improve health and wellbeing can apply, but Volunteering for Wellbeing is currently targeting young people aged 16-25, the over 50s and ex-service personnel.
Spectrum provides specialist support in central London for people who identify as trans – an umbrella term for the gender identity spectrum. In an age where people are becoming more aware of different gender identities, the project provides a space for its members to be their true selves – of 300,000 people in the UK affected by gender variance, 48 per cent have attempted suicide at some point in their lives. The emphasis is on addressing mental health, physical wellbeing and social needs with group meetings, and activities such as short film screenings, discussions, speech therapy workshops and multi-generational community arts projects. Outreach workers also meet clients on a one-to-one basis where they can discuss difficult issues they are facing. And with HIV rates higher in the trans community, the project runs a prevention service and offers confidential free rapid testing.
Foyle First Responders
Run by the North West Taxi Proprietors in Derry, taxi drivers are trained and equipped to deliver first aid or medical assistance in emergency situations. The scheme launched in September 2013, with 12 drivers trained for free by the local hospital and ambulance service to deliver first aid in incidents where people have collapsed. Though ambulances are always informed first, the drivers are often parked in the city centre or residential areas with their location tracked on a computerised booking system and can respond more quickly. Volunteers carry a defibrillator, mobile phone, kit bag and they also distribute British Heart Foundation material among colleagues and customers. When paramedics arrive the drivers stand down – though on many occasions, crews ask them to continue with CPR as they set up. Volunteer drivers are often first on the scene of emergencies and they can save lives by beginning CPR or defibrillation before an ambulance arrives.
Solace Women’s Aid Silver Project
Solace Women’s Aid’s Silver Project supports women in London aged 55 years and over affected by domestic and sexual violence. The project provides women with one-to-one support to help improve their safety, health and confidence, as well as training for doctors and police officers to help them spot signs of abuse amongst older people. Lottery funding has paid for a full time Advice Worker for three years. Women in this age range suffering from domestic and sexual violence are often afraid of seeking help and they are less likely to report crimes – yet the likelihood of abuse increases significantly in older age. So far the project has provided support to more than 170 women. The average age of the women supported was 67 – the eldest 101. Almost half of older service users have a disability, and the Silver Project targets the issues behind this, such as their dependence on their abusers for daily care.
All of these are fantastic causes but somebody had to win. Find out more about The National Lottery Awards at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards