Blood Bikes are an essential charity that provide a free courier service to the Scottish NHS.
Watermans charity partner Blood Bikes transport urgent samples, medicines, and other medical necessities between hospitals and their patients. The charity is run by over one hundred volunteers who generously give up their time to deliver in all weathers throughout the year. #itswhatwedo.
Watermans caught up with the Chairman of Blood Bikes Scotland, John Baxter, to see how they were getting on.
The History of Blood Bikes:
Blood Bikes Scotland became a recognised charity in 2012. The team started with one donated Honda 1100 Pan European motorcycle. They then added a second bike (Katie) a 1300ST Pan European who is now based in Edinburgh.
They first began working with NHS borders in 2014 and within three years, Blood Bikes partnered with NHS Lothian. Their service was so successful that the charity is now also working for NHS Fife and NHS Forth Valley. Within six years of operation, their efforts were recognised. They won Scottish Charity of The Year and were People’s Choice Winners in 2018!
Now, after operating for almost a decade, the charity currently has a fleet of 14 bikes and 3 cars, each one is named. The transport hub service is now essential to the NHS. Funding that would otherwise have to be spent on taxis and other couriers can now be spent on urgent care.
During the Lockdown:
The pandemic wasn’t about to halt the fleet. Volunteers were active throughout. As, even during the lockdown, the charity saw an increase in their workload. Despite there being less hospital admissions during this time, the team picked up samples from Covid Testing sites and delivered medications to patients’ homes. Additionally, the pandemic only increased their volunteer members, with so many willing to help during the crisis.
Of course, their fundraising tactics had to change during the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, Blood Bikes were usually present at bike shows and at local supermarkets. Covid may have affected their income, but they still had work to do! Now the staff host online events which bring in regular donations. The team also took advantage of the Government relief funds such as the Keep Scotland Beautiful Fund and the Community Climate Asset Fund.
Notably, Blood Bikes have a new addition to the fleet. Thanks to local business, Sadie’s Shed who donates a percentage of each upcycled piece sold, they managed to raise over £2,000 in just one year. This funding enabled the volunteer group to buy the Zero SR/S electric bike and a charging station which they have named ‘Sadie’. Sadie is the beginning of eco-friendly NHS assistance!
Further deserved recognition came with their interviews with the BBC and ITV; awareness spread of the charity. Even motorbike enthusiasts/Hollywood actors Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman gave them a shout out!
In 2019 as part of a partnership with Blood Bikes, Watermans Solicitors donated the charity a car. ‘RonnieRio’ is now driving around the Borders. As a Personal Injury firm, we appreciate the huge impact that Blood Bikes have on the NHS, allowing staff to focus on caring for road accident victims. Now in 2021, Blood Bikes have three cars. These cars keep the charity running through weather conditions unsafe for the bikes but also allow them to courier more essential supplies across Scotland. John Baxter says that these cars are an asset, allowing the charity to save essential funding which can now be spent on further growing the fleet and widening their reach.
The Future of Blood Bikes:
They will soon be offering services to Tayside NHS, the only NHS region that currently doesn’t have a Blood Bike’s service. Excitingly, there are even discussions of taking to the sky! They looking to add a piolet to the scheme.
During the pandemic, the team have been busy recruiting and training and are looking forward to having more volunteers and bikes on the ground.
Watermans wish Blood Bikes every success and are pleased to see them expanding their much-needed efforts across Scotland. To find out more and to donate to Blood Bikes, click here.