This time last year I reported on an innovative new venture between churches and the NHS. Given the name fleshandblood, the campaign, which is backed by most of the largest church denominations, aims to raise the profile of blood and organ donation in churches and encourage blood and organ donation as a personal gift. It seeks to equip individual Christians and churches to be advocates for donation, helping them to engage with their family, friends and community.
Fleshandblood is now halfway through its two-year program. In the last year thousands of donors have signed up as a result. At Greenbelt alone over 800 festival goers flooded to sign up at a rate of one registration every two minutes. Rowan Williams also wrote a poem on behalf of the campaign for the occasion.
According to research carried out for fleshandblood involving over 3000 people, almost one in ten Christians have given blood in the last year compared to 4%
of the eligible population over the last two years. 28 per cent consider blood and organ donation to be part of their giving. A further 42 per cent had not considered it, but were open to the idea. Despite this considerably supportive attitude, such donation is rarely mentioned in churches according to those surveyed.
In response the campaign last week launched a new challenge to churches across the UK to become “Donor Churches”. The fab Church Challenge is the first of its kind and seeks to encourage churches to talk about blood and organ donation as part of their giving.
“We have seen an amazing response in the UK Church over the past 12 months and are encouraged by the number of local churches raising the profile of blood and organ donation”, says Juls Hollidge, ﬂeshandblood’s Campaign Director. “What we need now is a long-term commitment that continues to support the ongoing demand for blood and organs that the NHS faces every year.”
In response to the introduction of the Church Challenge Lynda Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant said, “On behalf of NHS Blood and Transplant I’d like to thank churches for their support, for making donation important in their community and for the hope this will bring to all those who depend on our lifesaving work.”
Around three people die per day due to the shortage of organs in the UK. Fleshandblood intends to inspire Christians to see giving as more than just money and meet a real and practical need in a simple and effective way. Some churches have offered their buildings to the NHS as blood donation venues. This too is a chance for churches to be focal points within their communities and share their resources with those around them.
If this is something you wish to consider further either as an individual or as a church, there is all the information needed at the fleshandblood website.
There is also a very informative report on last week’s Radio 4 Sunday programme on the subject. Article starts at 18.05 minutes.