Bradford College receives £10,000 boost to promote organ donation amongst Black and Asian communities

Ruth Peterson | April 13, 2021

Bradford College has received a share of £600,000 funding as part of the Government’s commitment to tackle health inequalities in Black and Asian communities.

The college has secured £10,000 for a campaign encouraging students to talk about organ donation with friends and family.

The project aims to tackle myths and enable students to talk openly about what some see as a taboo subject.

Let’s talk about organ donation

The project’s theme is “Bradford College – Let’s Talk About Organ Donation”. Managing the project at Bradford College is project officer Karen Piotr. Karen is also Chair of the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Organ Donation Committee. She said: “We will be looking to get students involved in activities and tasks and talk to their families about their organ donation decisions.”

Eight lives saved thanks to organ donation

When Karen’s husband Mark died in May 2017, their previous conversations about organ donation empowered Karen to make the decision for Mark to be a donor.

In total, eight people received life-saving organ transplants after Mark’s death. Karen said this was possible because of that important talk with Mark. She said: “I’m very grateful for where this has taken me, that I’m able to raise awareness.”

College’s plans for raising awareness

The college is planning in-class and online workshops this year, tackling myths around organ donation and offering important information. It will encourage students to take part in a Family Conversation Competition where they will talk to their family. Afterwards, they will take a picture with their family using the hashtag #gettalking. Students will then share how the conversation went. They will then share the message in other ways such as through Tik Tok, videos and posters.

Leon Khan, part of the college’s projects team, successfully applied for the funding. He said: “Hopefully by having these conversations we can change common stigmas and attitudes that are associated with organ donation, resulting in positive change within Bradford’s communities. While we are trying to raise awareness and ultimately increase support for organ donation, it is up to each individual to decide for themselves. Our aim is to give them the facts and address the myths so they can make an informed decision.”

Using creativity to share message

Media students from BAME backgrounds will record video interviews with faith leaders on the subject. For Freshers Week, staff and students will also create an organ donation stand.

In a content creation competition, students will create their own videos raising awareness around organ donation.

Two BAME student ambassadors will help deliver the project. They will try to gain a greater insight into the common difficulties young people face when talking to their families. Ambassadors will become “experts by experience” by sharing their own personal experiences with their peers.

Breaking down myths

It follows the awareness scheme Bradford College launched in February 2020 to break down myths and increase support for people who want to be a donor. At the launch event, staff and students heard from Karen about her experiences. Also speaking at the event were an organ donation recipient, the parents of a child whose life was saved by an organ donor and a transplant surgeon who carries out the vital operations.

Due to the success of last year’s event, the college will host a similar event online. Its speakers will include a transplant recipient, a donor family and a variety of religious organisations. The college will record the event and share it with NHSBT and the wider public.

The NHS Organ Donor Register is a secure database that keeps a record of your organ donation decision. It describes all the choices that are available to you. You can view it on the webpage: Register your decision – NHS Organ Donation

Notes to editors

About the Community Investment Scheme

The Community Investment Scheme, led by NHS Blood and Transplant, will fund local organisations to drive awareness, understanding and behaviour change. Having previously only focussed on promoting organ donation, the scheme has now been opened to include projects which also highlight the importance of blood donation.

For many patients in need of a transplant the best match will come from a donor from the same ethnic background. In the UK there are currently estimated to be at least 2,569 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant and 580 of those are from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds. Kidney donors and recipients are matched by blood group and tissue type, and people from the same ethnic background are more likely to have matching blood groups and tissue types.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic patients often have to wait significantly longer for a successful match than white patients, due to a shortage of suitably matched donors.

Max and Keira’s Law

Since its launch in 2018, the Community Investment Scheme has supported 43 organisations to deliver 50 community-led projects. With around 4,000 people engaging in conversation or taking away a leaflet or information on the importance of organ donation and 8,000 attended a talk or workshop.

There is hope that the introduction of Max and Keira’s Law – the new law relating to organ and tissue donation in England – which came into effect on 20th May 2020 – will lead to an increase in the number of donors of all ethnicities. However, families will still be consulted before donation goes ahead so it remains essential to raise awareness, challenge misinformation and encourage those supportive of organ donation to talk with their families.

Altaf Kazi, Head of Faith and Belief Engagement at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Through the Community Investment Scheme we have seen first-hand the abilities of trusted individuals and community groups to prompt conversation, tackle misinformation, educate and offer reassurance around organ donation and now blood donation. Often a person’s best donor match will share their ethnicity, but too many donation opportunities are missed because families haven’t discussed organ donation, and Black and Asian people are seriously underrepresented when it comes to donating blood. 

Find out more about organ and blood donation

“We are asking more people from Black and Asian communities to find out about both blood and organ donation and help us to address the inequalities that many members of these communities may face. By giving your support you can help save lives.”

For more information about the Community Investment Scheme please visit https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/cis/ or contact: community.funding@nhsbt.nhs.uk

The Community Investment Scheme is part of a Government-funded campaign led by NHS Blood and Transplant with support from the National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA) to address the urgent need for Black, Asian and minority ethnic donors.

For additional information please contact Sabrina Kumari in the NHS Blood and Transplant press office on 01923 367600 or email pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk

NHS Blood and Transplant

NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We provide the blood donation service for England and the organ donation service for the UK. We also provide donated tissues, stem cells and cord blood. We are an essential part of the NHS, saving and improving lives through public donation.

Organ donation

It is quick and easy to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. Call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk 

Families are always involved in organ donation discussions. You can make things easier for your family by telling them you want to donate.

Every day across the UK around three people who could have benefited from a transplant die because there aren’t enough organ donors.

Anyone can join the NHS Organ Donor Register, age and medical conditions are not necessarily a barrier to donation.

One donor can save or transform up to nine lives through organ donation and save and transforms even more by donating tissue.

Blood donation

Become a blood donor. Register today and book and appointment by calling 0300 123 23 23, downloading the GiveBloodNHS app, or visiting blood.co.uk 

Giving blood is quick, easy and safe. Extra safety measures are in place at our sessions.

Priority slots are offered to donors who have a blood group deemed as priority. However, people from BAME backgrounds are more likely to have the blood types we deem a priority. If you don’t know your type you will find out after you make your first donation.

If you can’t find an appointment for the next few days, don’t worry. Please book to donate in a few weeks’ or months’ time and you will still be saving lives.

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